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messaging, voice , file transfer, etc. with firewalls

When many of these IM programs first came out they were easy to use.  Now that everyone is protected, many don't seem to work the same.  For simple messages they are fine.  In some cases my friends have firewalls in both the cable modem and in a software firewall too..  I have a firewall in my wireless router, and software myself, etc.  I have tried in some cases to pick out ports needed for some of the special services these programs offer and I configured to allow all that (as did my friends).  Still, there is always trouble and files don't send, voice does not work, desktops cannot be shared, etc.  Is there some particular way to allow for this to happen other than  unplugging all the firewalls?
1 Solution
The answer is very simple... if you disable the firewall and everything is working properly; some ports that are closed, should be opened. If otherwise, you may suffer an application problems...

Rich RumbleSecurity SamuraiCommented:
Most firewals "trust" the data leaving your PC... but not coming in to it- I know ZoneAlarm for example will allow Everything OUT after you've approved the exe that is trying to access the internet. This is even the case with hardware firewalls, typically the default setting is to allow all outbound traffic... your IM connects to an IM Server, as does your friends- if the connection out is allowed, then there should be no problem- you are not doing any direct connecting to your friends, your actually connecting (communicating) via proxy- for anonymity and sercurity reasons. Sound's like your FW's (you shouldn't need more than one, unless one is sort of sucky or not very configurable) are either conflicting in their settings, or both are to restrictive.
The ports needed for various chat applications are pretty well documented, give google a whack with your client + ports + firewall  and open those up for that machine on your firewall- if you don't have any luck post back.
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