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Should I allow explorer.exe to accept incoming connections?

McAfee informed me that Windows Explorer is trying to accept incoming connections from the internet. I kind of know what Windows Explorer is and almost selected "Allow always" until I noticed that next to "Recommendation" on the alert it says "Unknown program". Task manager only shows 1

explorer.exe process running. So is it safe to allow Windows Explorer internet access? I have McAfee Security Suite installed for awhile and update it daily and I have never been asked to allow  Windows Explorer to accept incoming connections. Suggestions?

5 Replies
Reliable Contributor Hayton
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Message 2 of 6

Re: Should I allow explorer.exe to accept incoming connections?

McAfee's own advice is that relatively few programs need full access to the internet to be allowed in the firewall (see the online help section here). Some do; others can get by with restricted access. You'll just get more pop-ups asking you to confirm whether to allow access (as long as you've set the Firewall's 'Enable SmartAdvice' and set it to 'Ask me to decide' rather than 'Decide Automatically'. If a program has unrestricted access then you'll never know when it's sending or receiving data : which is okay for some trusted programs but not others. Experience will help you to decide.

Explorer.exe is a safe application provided that what is running is located in the c:\windows directory and is signed by Microsoft. Task Manager won't give you that information, but Process Explorer will.

If you want to see what's been going on, to check whether you might have been probed by a hacker (or just contacted by Microsoft with an update) you can look in the various logs in the Security Center : click on Navigation/History and Logs and then just run through the various headings looking for anything untoward. 'Threats Detected' should mostly be cookies; 'Incoming Events' will have a lot of unsuccessful port access attempts (you don't see the ones which succeeded). Look there for any evidence of incoming activity from Microsoft servers.

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newjack
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Message 3 of 6

Re: Should I allow explorer.exe to accept incoming connections?

acope8425,If you come to conclusion that it is from Microsoft.You can also select allow once.It will allow access for this 1 time then will not be in the firewall list.

Reliable Contributor exbrit
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Message 4 of 6

Re: Should I allow explorer.exe to accept incoming connections?

What settings are you normally using?  I ask because in my Firewall both Windows Explorer and Internet Explorer have full permissions by default.

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Message was edited by: Ex_Brit on 09/05/11 7:44:40 EDT PM

Message was edited by: Ex_Brit on 09/05/11 7:45:12 EDT PM

Re: Should I allow explorer.exe to accept incoming connections?

Default settings, I suppose. I haven't changed any settings. On my program permissions, windows explorer is only permitted outgoing access. I left it alone, and restarted my computer after scanning. The alert for windows explorer hasn't come back up. Thank you for your help!

Re: Should I allow explorer.exe to accept incoming connections?

Thank you! Will dl Process Manager and check it out. Very helpful information. Thanks again

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