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From the author of Specialized Administrative Tools

Specialized Administrative Tools

While most of the software tools in Administrative Tools are of use to a wide range of intermediate to advanced users, the following tools have a relatively narrow focus:

  • Windows Firewall with Advanced Security
  • iSCSI Initiator
  • Windows PowerShell Modules

They are discussed in the following sections.

Windows Firewall with Advanced Security

While Windows XP includes an integrated firewall, it is designed to stop unauthorized inbound traffic only. Windows Vista's version of Windows Firewall introduced the ability to configure the firewall to block unauthorized outbound traffic, and Windows 7's Windows Firewall follows suit.

To enable Windows Firewall to run in two-way mode, you must start Windows Firewall from the Administrative Tools shortcut ("Windows Firewall with Advanced Security") and configure or create rules for outbound traffic. To create new rules, follow these steps:

  1. Click the New Rule[el]button in the Action menu.
  2. Specify the type of rule to create (Program, Port, Predefined, or Custom).
  3. Select whether the rule applies to all or selected connections.
  4. Specify whether to allow the connection, allow only secure connections, or block connections.
  5. Select when to apply the rule (Domain, Private, or Public connections).
  6. Enter a name and description.

As you can see from this brief overview, using Windows Firewall in its two-way (Advanced Security) mode is not the best choice for most individual or small-business users. These users are better served by firewalls that can set up rules for outbound programs on an as-needed basis.

However, if you work with a corporate network that uses Windows Vista and Windows 7 computers, you might prefer the standardization of rules possible with Windows Firewall with Advanced Security.

iSCSI Initiator

The iSCSI Initiator enables a Windows-based PC to access iSCSI devices on a storage area network (SAN). If your network does not have SAN capabilities or does not use iSCSI storage, you don't need to use this feature.

The iSCSI Initiator was introduced in Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008.

Windows PowerShell Modules

Windows PowerShell is a powerful .NET-based command-line environment for scripting and system administration in Windows. It was introduced in Windows Server 2008 and is also included in Windows 7. It can also be added to other recent versions of Windows via download.

PowerShell modules enable developers to create reusable, self-contained program code units. Windows 7 includes the following PowerShell modules:

  • AppLocker
  • BitsTransfer
  • PSDiagnostics
  • TroubleshootingPack
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