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Firewall foibles, and how I survived them

It was when my wireless router told me that there was no printer on the network that I finally flipped.

“I can see the stupid printer!” I said to it through gritted teeth (no point in shouting in case it really dug its heels in). “I’ve had enough of this. We need to buy a new printer. This can’t go on.” (I should point out that I’d spent time every day in the last week adding a new printer, which was really the same old printer, because it kept going irretrievably offline.)

“Well”, said Elaine, “Have a look in the manual.”

“I’m sorry? I’m going to pretend you never said that. I didn’t get where I am today by reading manuals. This calls for dynamic action, not loafing around with a cup of hot chocolate and a manual.”

So, when I consulted the manual for the wireless router, it said, “Check your antivirus settings.” In the Firewall section I had this screen, but with the last two boxes unchecked:

Always check the settings!

As soon as I checked them, the router sprang into life, swiftly followed by the printer.

This made sense. As a result, I presume, of my antivirus program updating itself, the day before we found it no longer protected the Windows Firewall The message said “Firewall switched off.” Clicking on the “Switch it on” button resulted in the somewhat less than helpful response “Unable to switch it on”.

An email to Avast tech support resulted in the advice to use the Control Panel’s “Programs” section to repair Avast. That we did, and, of course, it returned everything to its default setting.

(The default setting seems to be based on the view that if you don’t allow anything to be connected to anything, then you’re pretty safe from everything. Sigh.)

And just before that we discovered that Avast wouldn’t allow us to connect to our newsletter site either. Fortunately that now appears to be unblocked, because we emailed Avast and asked them to do so.

I have to say, the upgrade has been a pain in the posterior, but that the Avast tech support people have been pretty good.

Anyway, I am busy working on our annual guide to BETT, and various other things. (Incidentally, the aforesaid guide will be available in the first instance to newsletter subscribers only, so sign up now if you want to receive it as soon as possible. It’s free!) So what with all that, plus dealing with firewall issues, this is the first blog update in over a week! However, there are loads of articles on the ICT in Education website, and you can find anything you like, assuming it exists, by following the advice given in the appropriately-named article Finding stuff on the ICT in Education website.


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