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How to Enable Outbound Traffic Blocking in Vista Firewall

written by: Thomas P. Walton•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 12/18/2008

Don’t get Microsoft wrong about Vista’s firewall. Vista firewall has outgoing protection included. You just need to turn it on.

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    Misconceptions About Vista Firewall Defense

    From XP to Vista, we’ve seen some improvements, particularly in security. The Windows Firewall executes the minute Vista starts running on your computer. This design was intended to give you a first line of defense right at the start of your operating system. This is good especially for computers that are always connected to an internet source (i.e. Cable/DSL). However, it seems at first glance that something truly necessary is missing from the improved security of Windows Vista. Most users assume that Vista does not include out-bound traffic security (A.K.A. outgoing protection settings). However, nothing could be further from the truth.

    Contradictory to popular belief, there truly is a second line of defense for Windows Firewall. The programming for your operating includes out-bound traffic blocking built in to Windows Firewall (specifically designed for Vista). The firewall can be set to block outgoing emails that could deliver spam to other computers (something that can happen when a computer is infected with malware). Setting up the outgoing protection on Windows Vista will also prevent your credit card numbers (to some degree) from being sent to out to other computers without your permission. Turning on the outgoing protection is not intuitive in Windows Vista. The outgoing protection is off by default. And it is not easily found. It is all a matter of how you configure your settings in the Windows Firewall Properties Section. The settings for outgoing protection are accessed through the Start button on your Vista operating system.

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    Enable Firewall Outgoing Traffic Protection

    To get the necessary firewall properties set up on your Vista operating system, we will begin by clicking on the Start button (If you still can’t find the Start button, shame on you!). Type firewall into the text area on the Start menu. Vista will display some options to choose from. Look for the category labeled Programs. The options you want to select from are directly beneath this category heading. Select the option for Windows Firewall with Advanced Security. Click on Windows Firewall Properties. Click on the first tab, and then click on the Outbound Connections drop-down menu. Select the option to block. Go ahead and select block again on the second tab, and on last time on the third tab.

    Your Windows Vista firewall settings are now set to block out-bound traffic. This means that if a port on your computer tries to send something that it doesn’t normally send, the system will prevent it.