Block all outbound traffic in Windows Firewall

Martin Brinkmann
May 2, 2016

Windows Firewall is the default software firewall of the Windows operating system. It is enabled automatically after installation unless another firewall has been installed already and taken over.

The firewall is configured for convenience and not maximum protection by default.  Microsoft configured the firewall to block all incoming connections and allow all outgoing connections except for those for which rules exist by default.

Any program for which no outbound rule exists may send data from the local computer to hosts on the Internet.

Programs with phone home functionality, regardless of whether it is designed to check for updates or other purposes, is allowed to do so by default.

Windows users may also want to be aware of what is happening in the background on their system in regards to outbound connections, as it may reveal useful information about programs and their behavior.

Blocking outbound traffic in Windows Firewall

windows-firewall outbound connections

To open the Windows Firewall configuration applet, do the following:

  1. Tap on the Windows-key on your keyboard.
  2. Type Windows Firewall with Advanced Security. Note: you may not need to type the full name for the result to show up.
  3. Select the entry from the results.

If that does not work, use the following method instead:

  1. Use the keyboard shortcut Windows-Pause to open the classic Control Panel.
  2. Select All Control Panel Items when the new window opens.
  3. Select Windows Firewall on the next page.
  4. Select Advanced Settings located on the left sidebar to open the advanced firewall configuration window.

Windows Firewall Configuration

Note: While it makes sense to block outbound connections by default and create rules for processes that you want them to make, blocking outbound connections may have the effect that programs or program functionality may not work properly anymore.

Windows Firewall in addition does not notify you when processes try to establish outbound connections. This means that you will have to check logs to find out about it, or use third-party software like Windows Firewall Control for that.

Getting Started

Windows Firewall may use different rules for the three profiles it supports:

  • Domain Profile for domain joined computers.
  • Private Profile for connections to private networks.
  • Public Profile for connections to public networks.

All three profiles share the same configuration by default that blocks inbound connections and allows outbound connections for which rules do not exist.

Select Windows Firewall Properties on the window to change the default behavior.

windows firewall configure

Switch the outbound connections setting from Allow (default) to Block on all profile tabs. Additionally, click on the customize button on each tab next to Logging, and enable logging for successful connections.

firewall enable logging

The changes block all outbound connections of processes unless a rule exist that allows the process to make outbound connections.

Once you are done, you may want to check out the existing outbound rules to make sure only programs that you want outbound connections to establish are listed there.

This is done with a click on Outbound Rules on the left sidebar of the Windows Firewall with Advanced Security window.

There you find listed rules that ship with the Windows operating system but also rules that programs have added during installation or use.

outbound rules

Rules may be very broad (allow outbound connections to any remote address), very specific (only allow outbound connections to a specific address using a specific protocol and port), or something in between.

You can create new outbound rules with a click on the "new rule" link under actions. This may be necessary once you notice that programs stop working correctly.

You will find all programs with update functionality in the blocked outbound connections log as they cannot contact remote servers anymore to check for updates.

update check failed

You may also notice that file uploads to the Internet won't work anymore unless you allow programs like web browsers to make outbound connections, and that web browsers may not load sites anymore.

Core Windows services and tools will function properly as outbound rules ship with the operating system by default. Still, some Windows features or tools may not work properly as well after you start to block all outgoing connections.

That's where a program like Windows Firewall Control comes into play. The program supports several options to add rules to allow programs to make outbound connections, but only one is available to free users

windows firewall control

Click on the "select program window" button and then on the window of the program that you want to allow to make outbound connections.

The registered version, available for a one-time payment of $10, adds notifications to the app which display prompts that make this process a lot easier.

Closing Words

It is certainly inconvenient to block outbound connections by default, and that is likely the main reason why Microsoft set outbound connections to allow by default.

While it takes time to configure the firewall properly, doing so gives you better control over your system and the programs running on it.

Block all outbound traffic in Windows Firewall
Article Name
Block all outbound traffic in Windows Firewall
Find out how to block all outbound traffic on computer systems running a Microsoft Windows operating system using the built-in Windows Firewall.
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  1. Dan Donx said on January 15, 2023 at 10:29 am

    What mental age of reader are you targeting with the first sentence? 10?

    Why not write an article on how to *avoid* upgrading from W10 to W11. Analogous to those like me who avoided upgrading from 7 to 10 for as long as possible.

    If your paymaster Microsoft permits it, of course.

  2. Dexter said on January 15, 2023 at 11:14 am

    5. Rufus
    6. Ventoy

    PS. I hate reading these “SEO optimized” articles.

    1. cdr said on January 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      I used Rufus to create an installer for a 6th gen intel i5 that had MBR. It upgraded using Setup. No issues except for Win 11 always prompting me to replace my local account. Still using Win 10 Pro on all my other PCs to avoid the bullying.

  3. sv said on January 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    bit pointless to upgrade for the sake of upgrading as you never know when you’ll get locked out because ms might suddenly not provide updates to unsupported systems.

    ps…. time travelling?
    written. Jan 15, 2023
    Updated • Jan 13, 2023

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2023 at 5:49 am

      This happens when you schedule a post in WordPress and update it before setting the publication date.

  4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2023 at 8:24 am

    Anyone willing to downgrade to this awful OS must like inflicting themselves with harm.

  5. basingstoke said on January 16, 2023 at 11:18 am

    I have become convinced now that anybody who has no qualms with using Windows 11/10 must fit into one of the following brackets:

    1) Too young to remember a time before W10 and W11 (doesn’t know better)

    2) Wants to play the latest games on their PC above anything else (or deeply needs some software which already dropped W7 support)

    3) Doesn’t know too much about how computers work, worried that they’d be absolutely lost and in trouble without the “”latest security””

    4) Microsoft apologist that tries to justify that the latest “features” and “changes” are actually a good thing, that improve Windows

    5) Uses their computer to do a bare minimum of like 3 different things, browse web, check emails, etc, so really doesn’t fuss

    Obviously that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s also the category that:

    6) Actually liked W7 more than 10, and held out as long as possible before switching, begrudgingly uses 10 now

    Have I missed any group off this list?

    1. Heinz Strunk said on September 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      You have missed in this group just about any professional user that uses business software like CAD programs or ERP Programs which are 99% of all professional users from this list.

      Linux doesn’t help anyone who is not a linux kid and apple is just a fancy facebook machine.

  6. ilev said on August 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Microsoft has removed KB5029351 update

    1. EP said on August 24, 2023 at 9:21 pm

      only from windows update though
      KB5029351 is still available from the ms update catalog site

  7. Anonymous said on August 24, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    1. This update is labaled as PREVIEW if it causes issues to unintelligent people, then they shouldn’t have allowed Preview updates ot install.

    2. I have installed it in a 11 years old computer, and no problems at all.

    3. Making a big drama over a bluescreen for an updated labeled as preview is ridiculous.

    This is probably another BS internet drama where people ran programs and scripts that modified the registry until they broke Windows, just for removing stuff that they weren’t even using just for the sake of it.
    Maybe people should stop playing geeks and actually either use Windows 10 or Windows 11, but don’t try to modify things just for the sake of it.

    Sometimes removing or stopping things (like defender is a perfect example) only need intelligence, not scripts or 3rd party programs that might mess with windows.

  8. john said on August 24, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Windows 11 was a pointless release, it was just created because some of the Windows team wanted to boost sales with some sort of new and improved Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft cannot support one version well let alone two.

    1. John G. said on August 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm

      Windows 11 is the worst ugly shame by Microsoft ever. They should release with every new W11 version a complete free version of Starallback inside just to make this sh** OS functionally again.

  9. EP said on August 25, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released a statement regarding the “unsupported processor” blue screen error for their boards using Intel 600/700 series chipsets & to avoid the KB5029351 Win11 update:–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–Error-Message-of-Windows-11-Update-KB5029351-Preview-142215

  10. EP said on August 29, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    check out the following recent articles:

    Neowin – Microsoft puts little blame on its Windows update after UNSUPPORTED PROCESSOR BSOD bug:

    BleepingComputer – Microsoft blames ‘unsupported processor’ blue screens on OEM vendors:

  11. Leonard Britvolli said on August 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    While there may be changes or updates to the Windows 10 Store for Business and Education in the future, it is premature to conclude that it will be discontinued based solely on rumors.

  12. sembrador said on September 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    My advice, I left win 15 years ago. Now I’m a happy linux user (linuxmint) but there is Centos, Fedora, Ubuntu depending on your needs.

  13. EP said on September 6, 2023 at 11:55 am

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released new BIOS/firmware updates for their Intel 600 & 700 series motherboards to fix the “UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR” problem (Sept. 6):–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–caused-BSOD-on-MSI-s-Intel-700-and-600-Series-Motherboards-142277

  14. Raphael Benzo said on September 24, 2023 at 9:52 pm

    I try to disable the Diagnostics Tracking Service (Connected Devices Platform User Services) but it wont let me disable it, any help will be greatly appreciated.
    Tank you for your help

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