Disabling the Windows Firewall is typically one of the first tasks an administrator will performed on a 2003 server. Though it may seem like a good idea to enable the firewall service for additional system security, the 2003 firewall often caused more problems than it fixed.

Well, all versions of Windows Server 2008 include an improved, and more tightly integrated firewall that provides local protection from attacks that originate from an external or internal network.

The firewall can be managed from within Server Manager or the Windows Firewall with Advanced Security MMC, shown below:

At some point, it may become necessary to create additional firewall rules for services and/or applications to run properly. The following new rules can be created:

Once you achieve the optimal firewall configuration, you can export the local firewall policy (file with .WFW extension) as shown below.

The firewall settings can then be imported into other individual systems or GPOs to affect multiple servers.

Microsoft has taken great strides to make the Server 2008 integrated firewall far more powerful, configurable, and reliable than its previous versions. With its rich feature set, the new firewall will give administrators an additional means of combating those nasty network attacks!