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Unblock and Block Programs Using Windows 7 Firewall

written by: Donna Buenaventura•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 1/27/2011

Windows Firewall in Windows 7 provides two-way firewall protection to control computer programs using the Internet connection. Find out how to you can block and unblock applications using Windows 7 firewall.

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    Firewall Protection in Windows 7

    Windows Firewall Blocking Applications? 

    The built-in firewall in Windows is similar to third-party firewall program because of its ability to block or unblock ports that a computer program may need to be able to use the Internet connection. This is a common problem if the firewall has determined that a particular connection to the server by a program is not responding to request by the user and if no data is received. A firewall is doing its task in protecting the computer. For any event in which the firewall in Windows prevents the connection, the user will be notified and there are options on how Windows firewall will act on an unresponsive server request by a program. The options are to keep blocking, unblock, or to ask you later.

    In some cases, the program may keep changing the ports to use and the firewall is not configured to allow the connection on particular port because it is blocked or not open.

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    Fixing Connection Problems when the Firewall is Enabled

    You may have seen a problem of using software to connect to the Internet or to function properly. Application that requires an Internet connection may not connect to the Internet if Windows 7 firewall blocking the application. To solve Windows firewall blocking any programs, follow the method in this article:

    • Add a program exception in Windows Firewall – the first thing to do is to check if the affected program is in the firewall exception list already and that it has a checked mark. If the program is listed already but the check box does not have a check mark, simply put a check and then apply the changes. However, if the affected program is not listed, you may add it by clicking Add Program button and then browse for the executable. Windows Firewall: Allowed programs to connect 
    • Open the port number for the affected program – some programs require a port number to use. Find out from the software vendor or from the documentation of the application the required port numbers, and then use Windows Firewall to open the port number. Note that you can may also identify the required port number by using the command prompt and then type netstat –ano. Try using the affected program and note the process identifier (PID) and the port number in use after the local address. Add the said port number in Windows firewall exception to solve the issue to connect a program.
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    How to block program using Windows firewall

    If the firewall protection automatically adds an exception for a program or application, you may block it by removing the name of the program from the exception or allowed programs. There is also an option to uncheck the program from the list of allowed programs to connect to the Internet. Use this option if you want Windows firewall to keep the program name.

    Blocking an application to connect to the Internet using Windows firewall is effective but if the application has associated executable, the connection may not be blocked. An example is Google Toolbar that uses Google Updater to connect to Google.com servers. Make sure that you will block the application that installed additional software.

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    Final words

    A computer without firewall protection is vulnerable to remote and local attackers which is why it is recommended to always enable the Windows Firewall in Windows 7 or earlier operating systems. Using a third-party firewall is also recommended to enjoy better firewall controls and options. The computer that uses firewall protection is also vulnerable to attackers if the settings are not correct. Always review the firewall policy and request help from advanced users in creating firewall rules for home or work computers.

    Image credits: Screenshot taken by the author, Firewall logo from http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/10/Firewall_bw.png by DBGthekafu [GPL (www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons.



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