Image: Dennis Calvert
Have you ever installed a program that you only needed for offline use, but it insisted on trying to connect to the internet? About four years ago we showed you how to allow programs through the Windows firewall. This time around we’re going to show you how to block them with it in Windows 7 and 8.
If you’re not sure which programs are accessing the internet, one easy way to find out is to open up Windows Resource Monitor. This can be done by searching for “resmon” in the start menu, or typing “resmon” into the Run Box (Windows Key + R). In this example I noticed that the Everything app had networking activity and I’m going to block it to make sure it doesn’t send any data away from my PC.
To get started we need to open up Windows Firewall. One quick way to do this is from the Control Panel. Just click the Windows Firewall icon.
From the Firewall page click Advanced settings.
Here you can choose which you would like to block first: Inbound or Outbound. When it comes down to it I think blocking Outbound is usually enough for most applications. When Outbound connects are blocked, this means that the application can’t send any of your data to a remote server somewhere on the internet. Of course, if bandwidth is what you’re worried about you should probably block both. In any case, the process for blocking both is the same, so I’ll just cover one.
Click the New Rule… button.
For the Rule Type select the “Program” bullet and click Next.
Select the “This program path:” option and then either type in the path or use the browse button to find the executable of the application.
For the Action select the “Block the connection” option and click Next.
For the Profile tab, select all of the available boxes: Domain, Private, and Public.
You can name the firewall rule whatever you like. It’s a good idea to keep it something memorable or relevant though because you may want to change or disable it later on.
Now the rule should be created and ready to go. However some applications also run as a service, so be sure to disable that as well if you can. Right click the newly created rule and select “Properties.”
From the properties window select the “Programs and Services” tab and then click the Settings button.
Here click to “Apply to this service” and then select the service that matches up with the program blocked by the rule. If you can’t find a matching service, chances are your program didn’t install a service along side it (so you can just cancel out). Click OK to save change sand exit from both this and the properties window.
That’s all there is for creating an Outbound rule. Now if you want just repeat the process for an Inbound rule and the program will be completely blocked from internet access.
If you want to temporarily give the application internet access again, you can disable the firewall rule by right-clicking on it within the Advanced Firewall Security window. If you want to permanently get rid of this blocking rule, just delete it.