Configuring Norton Internet
Security and ActiveSync
Inability to sync an iPAQ with ActiveSync after installing a firewall
I have an iPAQ 3765 and run MS ActiveSync 3.6 (Editor's Note: This procedure works with all versions of ActiveSync 3.x - 3.1, 3.5, 3.6 and 3.7.1, Windows XP (including Media Center Edition) and Norton Personal Firewall). I recently installed a high-speed Internet connection, followed by Norton Internet Security (NIS) 2003 so that I could put a personal firewall into place for protection of my system.
Subsequent to setting up the firewall, I tried to sync my iPAQ and the sync failed. When I place my iPAQ in the sync cradle, it tried to connect, but then disconnected itself immediately. Meanwhile, ActiveSync picked up the signal that the iPAQ was trying to connect and the program started up. However, ActiveSync couldn’t “see” the iPAQ and proceeded to hang in the “Connecting.” mode until I physically removed the iPAQ from the sync cradle. In this scenario, I did not receive any error messages either on my iPAQ or on my desktop. As I kept trying to analyze this problem, I did encounter a few other scenarios with occasional messages, but the one I described was most prevalent.
Thanks to Chris De Herrera, his troubleshooting tips at www.pocketpcfaq.com/faqs/t-shootactivesync.htm pointed me to the firewall as the problem.
I then went to the Symantec website and found: http://service1.symantec.com/SUPPORT/nip.nsf/735050b77b1fcece88256bc7005c3bc6/b61428e347d5283388256cc6007d92d6?OpenDocument
(If you have trouble using the long link, try http://service1.symantec.com/SUPPORT/nip.nsf/pfdocs/2003020714580736 -- it’s the printable page version of the first-level display page for the tech note. Alternatively, search the Norton website for doc ID 2003020714580736.)
The tech note at the Symantec website describes a different problem as a failure to connect to the Internet, but the cause of the problem matches the problem I describe here and the solution presented in the tech note solved my problem.
Basically, the solution is to set up three firewall rules within NIS:
The hardest part of implementing this fix is that the NIS documentation doesn’t specifically address the methods for defining these rules, so I have documented the method below:
1. Launch Norton Internet Security and click on “Personal Firewall”
2. In the right pane of the screen, click on the Configure button to configure the personal firewall:
3. Do not change anything on the Personal Firewall tab:
4. To create the two program (application) rules, click the Program Control tab.
5. Scroll to the bottom of the Manual Program Control list box.
If there is an entry for WCESMgr.exe, select it and click the
Modify button under the list box, then change the settings to Permit All
Internet Access for the “General” category.
Repeat the previous step for WCESCOMM.EXE.
8. To define a general rule, click the Advanced tab:
9. Click the General Rules button.
10. When the General Rules dialog displays, click the Add button under the list box.
11. On the Action tab, click the radio button next to Permit:
12. Click the Next button of the Connections tab, then click the radio button next to “Connections to and from other computers”:
13. Click the Next button or the Computers tab, then click the radio button next to “Any computer”:
14. Click the Next button or the Communications tab, then click the radio button next to “TCP” for the question, “What protocols do you want to permit?”
15. For the question, “What types of …”, click the radio button next to “Only the types…listed below”:
16. When the Specify Ports dialog display, click the radio button next to “Individually specified ports”, then specify the port numbers 5678 and 5679 in the data entry box, separated by a single space between the numbers:
17. Click OK to return to the Communications tab of the Modify Rule dialog. It should now appear as:
18. Click the Next button or the Tracking tab and leave everything set to the default values:
19. Click the Next button or the Description tab and enter a descriptive name (such as “ActiveSync Rule”) for the new general rule that is being created.
20. In the scroll box, select “General” for the category to which the rule will belong.
21. Click OK to exit the dialog and complete the creation of the general rule.
The three rules have now been created for Norton Internet Security.
Once this was done, I was able to sync successfully.