A SpecManiac's Take on Vera
Fog Creek Copilot - The Pandora's Box of Family IT

So Long Norton, and Thanks for All The Fish

Well, another few hours wasted screwing around with my software firewall.  I've got Norton Internet Security 2005 running on my Windows XP-based laptop.  I've also got VMware which I use to run EDA tools locally on my laptop so I don't have to go through the latency of a trans-atlantic connection (even with VNC it's not the best environment for looking at waveforms).  Much to my chagrin, NIS has decided that it won't allow me to use the VMware NAT mode for my network connection but will allow me to use bridged mode.  Unfortunately, bridged mode won't work if I'm connected to a network where I can only get one IP address.  It also can be slightly annoying since the address can change when I pause a VM and then restart it in another location. 

Now, if I turn off the firewall I can use NAT mode without any issues.  Too bad that doesn't help me if I happened to be connected to a public network (i.e. not behind a hardware firewall).  I've tried several things to try to root cause the problem:

  1. I did a new program scan to try to reset Norton's settings so it would ask me if it thought VMware was doing something it shouldn't.  No luck.
  2. I made sure NIS was set to "Permit All" for VMware.
  3. I tried adding the network between the VM and the Host to the list of trusted networks.  I thought I was successful here since I could get to the web page of my hardware firewall at home. But I was never able to load any web pages from the Internet.  I have no idea why.  Perhaps my browser had cached some information about the page when I accessed it with the firewall turned off? 
  4. I browsed through the general and trojan horse firewall rules to see if any of them could potentially be causing me issues.  Nothing obvious, though I wouldn't consider myself an internet security expert so I may be missing something.

The strangest part of all of this is before I rebuilt my laptop in August I did have VMware running in NAT mode with NIS without any issues.  Something has likely just gotten misconfigured or corrupted.  The worst thing is after messing around with the firewall settings I can no longer get Firefox to load web pages (but IE works just fine) unless, you guessed it, I turn off the firewall.  I've got Trend Micro's PC-cillin running on my desktop computer.  I'm going to blow away NIS and see if TM can do the trick.