Featured - How to Block An Application from Accessing the Internet with Windows Firewall

Windows Firewall, now known as Windows Defender Firewall, is a useful tool for a number of reasons. Though you can use it for several purposes, today we’re going to show you how to block a program from accessing the internet in Windows Firewall. We’ll also show you how to allow an app through Firewall if its connectivity isn’t working.

Allow or block internet access of programs and apps

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Knowing how to block programs in Firewall is useful for several reasons. You may want to prevent it from receiving updates, stop it from sending data back to a remote server, or simply want to know how it functions offline.

Conversely, allowing a program through Windows Firewall can help it to function better online. This is especially true if anybody is connecting to your app from the outside world (such as when you’re hosting a game or media server). If you get the “your internet access is blocked – security or firewall settings might be blocking the connection” error, this is also useful, as it lets you return a blocked app to normal functioning.

The most user-friendly way to allow block an app in Firewall is, of course, via the Windows Defender Firewall app or security alert. However, we’ll also be showing you how to achieve the same effect via the command-line for pro users or those without a GUI.

How To Allow an App through Windows Defender Firewall via Windows Security Alert

The most efficient way to allow a program through a Firewall is to simply tick the right option when you first launch it. Most apps that need firewall access will ask you whether you want to allow access via a Windows Security Alert prompt. Here’s what you need to do when you see it:

  1. Tick “Private networks” and/or “Public networks” and click “Allows access”

    That’s it. You can easily see why this is the best method to allow an app through the firewall.

    Windows 10 - Windows Security Alert - Choose Network Locations - Allow Acces

How to Allow a Program Through Windows Defender Firewall in Windows Firewall Settings

If you missed the Security Alert app shortly after you launched the app, you can stop Windows Firewall from blocking internet connectivity by adding it to your allowed list manually. This only takes a minute or so and is very simple through the Control Panel.

  1. Press the search icon and open Control Panel

    Press the search button on your taskbar, type “Control Panel”, and click the top result.

    Windows 10 - Open Control Panel

  2. Type “Windows Firewall” in the Control Panel search and choose “Windows Defender Firewall” in the main list

    Windows 10 - Control Panel - Open Windows Defender Firewall

  3. Click “Allow an app or feature through Windows Defender Firewall”

    This option will be the sidebar on the left.

    Windows 10 - Control Panel - Windows Defender Firewall - Allow App

  4. Press “Change settings” in the “Allowed apps” window

    Allowing a program in Firewall requires you to provide administrator access.

    Windows 10 - Control Panel - Windows Defender Firewall - Allow App - Change Settings

  5. Press “Allow another app…” at the bottom of the window

    Windows 10 - Control Panel - Windows Defender Firewall - Allow App - Change Settings Allow Another App

  6. Next to the “Path” box, press “Browse…”

    Windows 10 - Control Panel - Windows Defender Firewall - Allow App - Change Settings Allow Another App - Browse

  7. Browse to your applications .exe, click it, and press “Open”

    Windows 10 - Control Panel - Windows Defender Firewall - Allow App - Change Settings Allow Another App - Browse - Open App

  8. Click the “Network types…” button in the bottom-left

    Windows 10 - Control Panel - Windows Defender Firewall - Allow App - Change Settings Allow Another App - Network Types

  9. Tick “Private” and/or “Public” networks and press “OK”

    Windows 10 - Control Panel - Windows Defender Firewall - Allow App - Change Settings Allow Another App - Network Types - Choose - Accept

  10. Press “Add” to allow the app through Firewall

    Windows 10 - Control Panel - Windows Defender Firewall - Allow App - Change Settings Allow Another App - Network Types - Choose - Accept - Add

  11. Find the program in your “Allowed apps” list and make sure it’s ticked

    Press “OK” when you’re done to close the window.

    Windows 10 - Control Panel - Windows Defender Firewall - Allow App - Change Settings Allow Another App - Network Types - Add - Accept

How to Remove Allowed App in Windows Firewall Settings

If you previously allowed an app through Firewall but now regret it, you can rectify it by removing it in Windows Firewall settings. Thankfully, this is pretty easy to do:

  1. Open Control Panel

    Press the search icon and type “Control Panel”, then click the top result.

    Windows 10 - Open Control Panel

  2. Search Control Panel for Windows Firewall and select it from the list

    Windows 10 - Control Panel - Open Windows Defender Firewall

  3. Press “Allow an app or feature…” in the sidebar

    Windows 10 - Control Panel - Windows Defender Firewall - Allow App

  4. Click “Change settings” and provide admin privileges

    Windows 10 - Control Panel - Windows Defender Firewall - Allow App - Change Settings

  5. Find the program in your allowed apps list, click it, and press “Remove”

    Windows 10 - Control Panel - Windows Defender Firewall - Allow App - Change Settings - Select App - Remove

  6. Press “Yes” to the prompt

    That’s it, the app is no longer allowed through your firewall. Doing this will not automatically block internet access to a program, but will modify how it interacts with the outside world. Depending on its function, this may stop it from working properly.

    Windows 10 - Control Panel - Windows Defender Firewall - Allow App - Change Settings - Select App - Remove - Accept

  7. Press “OK” in the “Allowed apps” window

    Windows 10 - Control Panel - Windows Defender Firewall - Allow App - Change Settings - Select App - Remove - Accept

How to Allow or Block a Program from Accessing the Internet via Command Prompt

If you prefer the command-line, you can change Windows Firewall rules through Command Prompt instead. This is typically faster than jumping through the settings menu if you have the commands memorized. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Open Command Prompt as an admin

    Press the search icon on your taskbar and type “Command Prompt”, then right-click it and press “Run as administrator”

    Windows 10 - Open Elevated Command Prompt

  2. Use the netsh command to allow a program through Windows Firewall in Command Prompt

    Here’s an example of what you’d type to allow an app through the Firewall in Windows 11 or 10:

    netsh advfirewall add rule name="Firefox" dir=in action=allow program="C:/Program Files/Mozilla Firefox/firefox.exe" enable=yes

    You should change in quotation marks to fit the specific program you’re trying to allow. After performing this change, you should no longer receive the “security or firewall settings might be blocking the connection” error.

    Windows 10 - Elevated Command Prompt - Enter the Cmd to Allow App

  3. Use netsh to block a program in Windows Firewall

    If you’d rather block the program, the command is very similar to above. You just have to switch action=allow to action=block. Here’s what the full command looks like:

    netsh advfirewall firewall add rule name="Firefox" dir=in action=block program="C:/Program Files/Mozilla Firefox/firefox.exe" enable=yes

    Again, you should change everything that’s in quotation marks to suit the app you’re trying to block internet access to in Firewall.

    Windows 10 - Elevated Command Prompt - Enter the Cmd to Block App

How to Remove an Allowed App from Windows Defender Firewall with Command Prompt

You can also use Command Prompt to remove apps that you’ve previously allowed in your Firewall. Here’s how:

  1. Open Command Prompt as an administrator

    Press the search icon on your taskbar and type “Command Prompt”, then right-click the top result and choose “Run as administrator”.

    Windows 10 - Open Elevated Command Prompt

  2. Run the show rule command to export a list of your firewall entries

    To do so, simply paste the following into your Command Prompt and press Enter:

    netsh advfirewall firewall show rule name=all >"%UserProfile%/Desktop/WindowsFirewallRules.text"

     

    Windows 10 - Elevated Command Prompt - Enter the Cmd

  3. Open the “WindowsFirewallRules.txt” file on your desktop and find your application

    You’ll see the name of the rule you created next to the “Rule Name” field. If you’re struggling to find your rule, you can press Ctrl + F to search.

    Windows 10 - WindowsFirewallRules.txt - Rule Name - Firefox

  4. Use the netsh command to delete the firewall rule

    Once you know the name of your firewall rule you can delete it by running the following command:

    netsh advfirewall Delete rule name="yourfirewallrule"

    Naturally, you should replace “yourfirewallrule” with the name of your rule. After you receive the “Deleted x rule(s)” confirmation, you can close Command Prompt.

    Windows 10 - Elevated Cmd Prompt - Enter the Cmd

How to Allow or Block a Program in Windows Firewall via PowerShell

If you want to allow or block a program in Firewall using Microsoft’s more modern PowerShell tool, you can do so with the NetFirewallRule command. Here’s how:

  1. Open Windows PowerShell as an admin

    The easiest way to do this is to open the hidden Start menu by pressing “Windows + X” and then clicking “Windows PowerShell (Admin)”.

    Windows 10 - Open Elevated PowerShell

  2. Use NetFirewallRule to allow a program through the Firewall

    If you want to allow an app, your command should look something like this:

    New-NetFirewallRule -DisplayName "firewallrulename" -Direction Inbound -Program "C:/path/to/your/file.exe" -Action Allow

    Replace “firewallrulename” with whatever you’d like your rule to be called, and “C:/path/to/your/file.exe” with the path to your program’s executable. Press Enter to run the command.

    Windows 10 - Elevated PowerShell - Enter the Cmd to Allow App

  3. Use NetFirewallRule to block a program in Windows Firewall

    If you want to block an app, your command should look something like this:

    New-NetFirewallRule -DisplayName "firewallrulename" -Direction Inbound -Program "C:/path/to/your/file.exe" -Action Block

    Replace “firewallrulename” with whatever you’d like your rule to be called, and “C:/path/to/your/file.exe” with the path to your program’s executable. Press Enter to run the command.

    Windows 10 - Elevated PowerShell - Enter the Cmd to Block App

How to Remove Allowed Windows Firewall App in PowerShell

If you previously added an app to the Firewall via PowerShell but now want to remove, it the process is relatively simple:

  1. Open PowerShell as an admin

    The easiest way to do this is to open the hidden Start menu by pressing “Windows + X” and then clicking “Windows PowerShell (Admin)”.

    Windows 10 - Open Elevated PowerShell

  2. Export a list of your Firewall rules

    Before you can stop allowing a program in Firewall you need to know its rule name. You can obtain this by exporting a list of all of your Firewall rules to your desktop. Just run the following command to do so:

    Show-NetFirewallRule | Out-File "$env:userprofile/Desktop/WindowsFirewallRules.txt"

     

    Windows 10 - Elevated PowerShell - Enter the Cmd

  3. Open “WindowsFirewallRules.txt” from your desktop and find your rule name

    The rule name will be in the column next to the “DisplayName” label. Note it down ready for the next command.

    Windows 10 - WindowsFirewallRules.txt - Notepad - Display - Firefox

  4. Remove the rule with PowerShell

    Now that you know the rule name, it’s a simple process of running the following command:

    Remove-NetFirewallRule -DisplayName "YourRule"

    Naturally you need to replace “YourRule” with the name of your actual rule.

    Windows 10 - Elevated PowerShell - Enter the Cmd

How to Open or Close a Port in Windows Firewall

As well as allowing and blocking applications, Windows Defender Firewall lets you open and close specific ports. This may be useful if you’re trying to use SSH for example. You can check our how to open or close a port in Windows Firewall guide to learn how.

How to Perform a Network Reset

If you’re still experiencing connectivity issues after allowing an app through your Firewall, you can try performing a Windows Network reset. This will reset all of your settings to default and hopefully fix any strange behavior you’ve been experiencing. It will, however, keep your Firewall rules.

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