newbies guide to Windows XP ICF and basic network problems
I haven't seen a whole lot of information on windows XP ICF so I thought I would write a tutorial on it. ICF stands for Internet Connection Firewall. It can cause some problems while trying to some basic tasks with your computer such as playing games online and even using your internet.
1. Finding out if ICF is enabled
Starters, to see if you even have internet connection firewall enabled on your computer, double click your internet connection located in your system tray. It looks like to monitors with side by side and the monitors flicker when ever you have the internet connection active and their is activity. If you do not see it there it can also be found by going into the start menu, then going to control panel. Before we go any farther to avoid confusion, at the top of the screen where you see file, edit etc, go to tools then folder options. In the general tab, under tasks click "show common tasks in folders". This is selected by default but it just makes it easier for you to have the same screen and procedures I am describing for you. Click apply then click "Network and Internet Connections", then click Network Connections, For the Connection that says something similar to LAN or Highspeed or Dial-up right click that connection and go to properties. Under the advanced Tab, there it is, Internet Connection Firewall.
2. Known problems if enabled
If your network uses internet connection sharing and the computer that is sharing the internet has this ICF all other computers on the network will not be able to use this internet connection. ICF typically allows all outgoing traffic and requests but limits incoming traffic and requests. Example, you are playing an online game, you can make the games but no one seems to join them, yet you are able to join other peoples games without any problems. You made the game, ICF okays that since it is outgoing. Someone tries to join your game, windows ICF will put a stop that so it looks like no one is trying to join your game.
3. Fixing and configuring windows ICF
you can either have the quick easy solution of disabling windows ICF (which you would have to do on a computer that is sharing its internet connection anyways) or you can configure it *hurrah*!
From the connection properties window under the advanced tab (the one were still in) click the Settings button on the bottom.
Under the Services Tab at the bottom click Add..
Type the name of the program or service that you want to be able to use the net, under description of Service. Next under name and IP you need the IP address. This can be found out serval ways, e-mailing the service your using, for example Warcraft III expansion, you would email blizzard requesting this additional information. Also note, that gaming bots are extremely useful for finding this information out for you, since they usually contain this information already in their settings or can be found in a log. The port number same deal as the previous situation.
4. I can connect to the internet but I can't see other computers on the network
ICF rarely has anything to do with this problem and typically can quickly be solved if both computers are windows XP on the network. Is by going into the the network connections, under the general tab click the install.. button. Select protocol then add,
then select NWLink IPX/SPX/NetBIOS compatible Transport Protocol and okay. Close the Network Connection Properties window then in the tool bar under advanced -> Advanced Settings. Note if you have Network Connection Properties open this window will not open and it will give you and error. Make sure you have your NWlink box checked and go to okay, restart you computer and this will fix the problem on most normal computers.
NEW ADDITION JUNE 10,2004
5. I have wireless but every so often my connection speed quality decreases dramatically or I do not have a connection at all. This is most likely caused by your microwave if your wireless uses 2.4 Ghz frequency. There are remedies to help protect your self against your microwave, first change the channel of your wireless below 6 and above 0, Prefereably 1. These channels are least effective by microwaves, the higher the channels of your wireless the more you are vulnerable to evil microwave frequencies. Also, if possible move your microwave to your basement or have all wireless computers above the microwave and your wireless access point above the computers it is connected to, example, upstairs, networked with accesspoint, main floor wireless computers, basement microwave. Frequencies have an easier time actually moving down your house. Keep the microwave away from and vents. Frequency waves are just like sound waves, well they are pretty much EXACTLY like sound waves, so the interference will travel through the vents throughout the entire house with ease :(. Sound travels easier and faster through metal and solids rather then air. Example, ever put your head to the desk and started knocking on it? sounds a lot louder then you just having your head up or if your underwater and you hear an explosion and you return to the surface and you hear the same explosion yet again? This is proven in physics, I will dig up the formula if someone asks me too. Remember to change the channel on the access point... and also the wireless computers if they don't utilize channel scanning. Also if your ceiling has a room with ceiling tiles in it put the microwave in there. The cheap white ceiling tiles that are kinda cardboardish are a great shield against microwave waves.