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How to Block a Program Or Exe File in a Windows Defender Firewall

Steps to Block a Program in a Firewall

This tutorial will be covering the steps to blocking a program in the firewall on the Windows 11 operating system. But, if you have other versions, the procedure is mostly the same.

1. Open the Windows Defender Firewall with Advanced Security settings

The program blocking process begins with opening the Windows Defender Firewall with Advanced Security settings. You can open the window in several ways. You can open the Run window (Windows key + R) and type WF.msc into the terminal, or you can use the search option to open Windows Defender Firewall, and select the Advanced Security option in the left sidebar.

In the Windows Defender Firewall with Advanced Security settings, you can select two types of rules: Inbound Rules and Outbound Rules.

2. Select Inbound Rules or Outbound Rules

You can access the Outbound Rules or Inbound Rules settings by clicking on the corresponding option in the left sidebar. The program-blocking process is similar for both types of rules. For this article, we will block a program in a firewall on Outbound Rules. After clicking Outbound Rules, you will see the checkboxes containing outbound rules with name, group, profile, and status.

3. Click the New Rule… option

To block a program in the firewall, click New Rule… in the right sidebar. On the Rule Type window of the New Outbound Rule Wizard, you have four options: Program, Port, Predefined, and Custom. You will also see the steps in the right sidebar, which are Rule Type, Program, Action, Profile, and Name.

4. Select the Program option

To block a program select Program, and click next. Here, you can do this rule to all programs or a specific program.

For all programs, you need just select All programs, or for a specific program, select This program path:, and click Browse. This will open the program folder on your computer, so you can locate your executable (.exe) file for the specific program. After locating your executable, click Next.

5. Select the Block the connection option

On the Action window of New Outbound Rule Wizard, you have three options: Allow the connection, Allow the connection if it is secure, and Block the connection. To block the program, select Block the connection, and click Next.

6. Specify the Profiles and Name

On the Profile window of New Outbound Rule Wizard, you have three options: Domain, Private, and Public. You can specify when the rule will apply. Select the profiles, and click next.

On the Name window of New Outbound Rule Wizard, you can specify the name and description of the rule. After specifying the name, click Finish.

Now, you have successfully blocked a program in a Windows 11 firewall.

You can see the checkboxes containing your outbound rule with name, group, profile, and status. To unblock the Program, you simply select and delete the rule.

There are also options for filter rules by profile, state, and group. To disable or enable a program you just need to open Windows Defender Firewall with Advanced Security, and then, Inbound Rules or Outbound Rules. Click on the program you want to apply the operation, then click Disable Rule or Enable Rule in the left sidebar. Here, you can also perform several operations including cut, copy, delete, or view properties.

Are the Steps the Same for Other Firewalls?

A firewall is important to control traffic in a network to ensure protection against today’s threats such as hacker and malware attacks. Computing system manufacturers include in-built firewalls, and many reputed cybersecurity vendors are offering different types of firewalls with context-aware network security features or are integrating with other services. So, the process steps of blocking a program in a firewall can vary according to the firewall and the operating system.

For example, in macOS, the blocking process steps are following:

  • Turn on the Firewall.
  • Open the Firewall Options.
  • Click Remove App (-).
  • Select the app you want to remove.
  • Change the option Allow incoming connections to Block incoming connections.
  • Click OK.

To unblock a program in the macOS firewall, just change the Block incoming connections to Allow incoming connections. To allow a program, follow the same steps, but rather than clicking Remove (-), click Add application (+). Then, select a program you want to add, and click Allow incoming connections.

Optimizing Your Firewall Settings

Firewalls are an essential part of today’s network security and they can block threatful access to protect valuable information and resources. Proper use of a firewall ensures complete protection of your business data against today’s threats.

You can follow the steps above to block a program or manage your firewall. Although, installing a proprietary firewall software may be an easier approach to blocking a program or managing a firewall, depending on scale. Many cybersecurity vendors offer firewalls with state-of-the-art technology, high functionality, and usability, which are easy to use and customize and ensure a deeper level of protection.

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