How To Get Started With Windows Firewall

For most users, Windows Firewall should be switched on at all times. To find out whether you have Windows Firewall switched on click on the Start button and then click on Control Panel. Next, choose System and Security and then click on Windows Firewall.

{Do you need an explanation of what a firewall is?}

This will take you to the screen seen below which will show whether the firewall is currently on or off. If it is off then you will want to click where I have indicated.

Windows Firewall 1

After clicking where I indicated above you will then need to click on a radio button as seen in the image below.

It is worth leaving the tick next to Notify me when Windows Firewall blocks a new program so that you’ll receive an alert if a program is blocked and will get the option to allow it internet access if you so choose.

Windows Firewall 2

Once you have turned the firewall on you will need to click on Allow a program or feature through Windows Firewall, as indicated in the following screenshot.

Windows Firewall 3

This will lead to a new window that displays all of the programs and features that are currently allowed access to the internet. You should carefully check this list to ensure that there is nothing suspect or untoward included.

Remember that the entries for Windows are an essential part of your operating system and should be left unchanged.

Windows Firewall 4

In the picture above you will see that the various entries have a tick box to the left of them. If you wish to deny internet access to any of these programs then simply untick the appropriate box. Alternatively, you can select an item and then click on Remove. This won’t delete the program but it will prompt the firewall to check whether you wish the program to have internet access or not each and every time you run it.

Windows Firewall 5

If you see a program or feature that you are unfamiliar with then you can select it and then click on Details… which will provide you with a small amount of additional information as seen above.

Windows Firewall 6

Once you have the above basics sorted out you may want to try out the advanced settings within Windows Firewall.

To access these you need to, unsurprisingly, click on Advanced settings which you can see highlighted above. This will lead to a new window which displays as overview as per the screenshot below:

Windows Firewall 7

Windows Firewall works with rules. As things stand, any inbound connection that doesn’t follow a rule will be blocked but outgoing connections that don’t match rules will still be allowed. This may pose a problem if your computer is infected with spyware or worse as it will be able to communicate with the outside world still.

Windows Firewall 8

You can remedy this via Windows Firewall Properties which I have marked above. Click on that link to progress to the next screen.

Windows Firewall 9

Here you can tinker with the Outbound connections via the drop down menu I have highlighted. This works on a global level, however, so if you block all outbound connections then you will get a prompt every time anything wishes to send data via the net. You could of course set rules for every single program you run but that would be tedious in the extreme. Windows Firewall is a good free option but alternative firewalls tend to be much better at dealing with this particular aspect.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.


  1. Thanks Lee, looks like i need to go back thru my firewall an do some checking.
    Of course i passed this article on to others.


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