So I tried turning off all unnecessary services on my Windows 7 Pro machine, including the Microsoft firewall. I casually disabled the Win firewall service, IKE, IPSec, BFE, and basically a lot of other junk I didn't need for a slimmed down Windows based pen test laptop. So today I, I could not figure out why simple l services (nc listeners, lite FTP, lite WWW, etc.) I had running on this laptop could not be reached from other computers. This was through hardware firewalls, switches, the same LAN. I even changed Ethernet cables just in case Well, it turns out that the BFE (and IKE and IPSec before that) needs to be shut down and disabled BEFORE disabling the Windows firewall service, otherwise Windows 7 will be left in a perma-block state for inbound requests. What a colossal waste of my time today. Who the heck designs this crap at Microsoft? Can we resurrect Steve Jobs and have him lead the OS and apps division there? This is the kind of stuff that makes Jobs (and me) go Vader on an employee. I personally would have fired a team over this nonsense.