In Windows 10, Windows Firewall hasn’t changed much since Vista. In general, almost the same. Incoming connections to applications are blocked if they are not in the allowed list. Outbound connections are not blocked if they do not match the rule. You also have a public and private network profile for the firewall, and you can control exactly which program can communicate on the private network rather than the Internet.
In this article, I will go over the various options and settings of Windows 10 Firewall and show you how you can customize them to suit your needs. Although outbound connections are not blocked by default, you can configure your own firewall rules in Windows 10 to block outbound connections. This can be useful if you want to block a particular program from accessing the Internet, even if the program was installed without your consent.
First, let’s talk about how to bring up the firewall settings in Windows 10. You can either open Control Panel and open the firewall from there, or click the “Start” button and type the word “firewall”.
This will open a Windows Firewall dialog box where you can manage all the different firewall settings.
On the right, it divides the view into private networks and guest or public networks. Your home wireless network should show up under Private Networks, but if it doesn’t, you may have to manually tell it that this is your home network and not a public one.
Allow the program through the firewall
The main reason most people ever tinker with a firewall is to allow a program to run through a firewall. This is usually done automatically by the program itself, but in some cases you will have to do it manually. You can do this by clicking Allow an app or feature through Windows Firewall.
As you can see, for each Windows program or feature, you can allow incoming connections on private and public networks separately. This separation is handy for things like file and printer sharing and homegroups as we don’t want anyone on public Wi-Fi to be able to connect to a network share or local homegroup. To allow an application, simply find it in the list and check the box for the type of network on which you want to allow incoming connections.
If the application is not in the list, you can click the “Allow another application” button and select it from the list, or click the “Browse” button to find your own application. If the button is grayed out, first click Change Settings.
If you return to the main firewall dialog box, there is another link in the left pane called Turn Windows Firewall On or Off. If you click on this, you will receive a set of options as shown below:
You can turn off the firewall completely in Windows 10, but this will allow everything through the firewall. You can also block all incoming connections to your computer, even for permitted applications, which is useful in certain situations. For example, if you are in a public place such as a hotel or airport and you want to be safe while connected to the network. You can still browse the Internet using a web browser, but no program can create an incoming connection from another computer on the local network or from a server on the Internet.
Advanced firewall settings
The fun part, though, is if you want to tinker with advanced firewall settings. This is obviously not for the faint of heart, but it doesn’t really matter either, because you can click on the Restore Defaults link and return everything to how it was when you first installed Windows 10. To access advanced settings, click the Link to advanced settings in the left pane of the main firewall dialog box. The Windows Firewall with Advanced Security window will open:
On the home screen, it gives you a quick overview of your firewall settings for domain, private and public networks. If your computer is not joined to a domain, you do not need to worry about this profile. You can quickly see how the firewall manages inbound and outbound connections. By default, all outgoing connections are allowed. If you want to block outbound connections, click Outbound Rules in the left column.
Go ahead and click New Rule and a dialog box pops up asking what type of rule.
I chose port because I want to block all outgoing connections on port 80, the HTTP port used by every web browser. In theory, this should block all internet access in IE, Edge, Chrome and other browsers. Click Next, select TCP and enter the port number.
Click Next and select the action you want to take, in my case block the connection.
Finally, choose which profiles you want to apply the rule to. Maybe you should just select all the profiles.
Now just give it a name and that’s it! When I open Chrome to visit any web page, I get the following error:
Sweet! So, I just created a new outbound rule in Windows 10 firewall that blocks port 80 and therefore prevents anyone from browsing the Internet! You can create your own firewall rules in Windows 10 by following the steps I showed above. All in all, that’s pretty much everything about a firewall. You can do more complex things, but I wanted to give a decent overview that even non-technical people can try to follow.
If you have any questions about configuring firewall in Windows 10, leave a comment here and we’ll try to help. Enjoy!