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There are some .exe and .dll files belonging to some programs on my laptop which communicate with the internet without my permission (for self-update generally). I want to prevent those files one by one from accessing the internet. I don't want to install any external firewalls. I'm using Windows 7 Home Pro and if this can be done by Windows Firewall, it's OK. I took a look at Windows Firewall but couldn't find a setting to disable file access.

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If those are really self-updates, there should be an option to turn them off. It is better because it not only saves your bandwidth, but also memory and CPU time that is used for trying to connect. –  petersohn Apr 15 '10 at 17:21
    
@petersohn: You're right, but some programs don't have this option. I still want to know how I can do that manually. –  Mehper C. Palavuzlar Apr 15 '10 at 17:25

4 Answers 4

Don't think of it in terms of 'file access'. Think of it in terms of 'Exceptions'. Exceptions are what Windows Firewall uses to decide which processes (your exe files, specifically in this case) have the ability to bypass the Windows Firewall to access the internet.

Go to your Windows Firewall settings and you can customize which applications can communicate with your network and with the internet.

alt text

Source

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The problem is, the above list is for allowed programs. I need the list for disallowed programs. –  Mehper C. Palavuzlar Apr 15 '10 at 17:18
    
Why do you need the list of disallowed programs? I don't quite understand. If something is accessing the internet, then it should be in the 'allowed' list. From there, you can remove its rights so it can no longer access. –  th3dude Apr 15 '10 at 17:32
    
Some programs are not in the list and they have access. For example, Babylon. BTW, I found the solution and will post it as an answer in a while. Anyway, thanks for your answer. –  Mehper C. Palavuzlar Apr 15 '10 at 18:03
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19: Actually, the Windows Firewall won't do what he wants. It only blocks inbound traffic by preventing applications from exposing themselves as network services. He wants to prevent outbound connections. @Mehper: it's safer to blacklist all programs by default, and only allow the ones that you trust. –  rob Apr 15 '10 at 18:04

You're looking for a personal firewall program, most (or all) of which allow you to block outbound traffic. (Older versions of the built-in Windows Firewall only blocked inbound traffic by preventing applications from exposing themselves as network servers.)

Update: Mehper found out that Windows Firewall with Advanced Security included with Windows 7 does, indeed, allow you to define outbound firewall rules.

Years ago, I used to use ZoneAlarm for this, but I stopped using it when it corrupted my network stack and made me unable to connect to the network at all. There are also several others to choose from, such as Comodo Personal Firewall (which has a free version) and Norton Internet Security.

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There is still a free version of ZoneAlarm. They call it "ZoneAlarm Basic". You can download it from zonealarm.com/security/en-us/… –  Beaner Apr 15 '10 at 19:03
    
Hey, you're right...thanks for the correction. I tried finding ZoneAlarm Basic earlier, and when I got to that Trialware page, I didn't even notice the Download.com link and assumed they were being extra evil by making the "Free ZoneAlarm Basic" free via trialware. –  rob Apr 15 '10 at 19:15
    
While Zone Alarm works fine on XP machines, it can cause problems with Vista and I assume 7's automatic updating feature. –  Chris Apr 15 '10 at 21:00
    
Comodo is a personal firewall that I've used for a long time with Vista and 7. Can block outgoing connections by application and alert when such tries to make a connection. Careful to not sign up for their extra services, though, when installing. –  ultrasawblade Dec 4 '11 at 22:45
up vote 7 down vote accepted

"Windows Firewall with Advanced Security" seems to have what I need. I was typing "Windows Firewall" in Windows 7 Start menu search box, and I accidentally saw there is a different program called Windows Firewall with Advanced Security. It has settings for inbound and outbound rules which can be defined by the user. Here is a screeny from Google search:

alt text

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With Sandboxie (Shareware; free for personal, non-commercial use with limited functionality) you can prevents all programs in the sandbox from accessing the Internet. Additionally Sandboxie runs your programs in an isolated space which prevents them from making permanent changes to other programs and data in your computer.

I will show you how can you can create, setup and use sandbox:

After install Sandboxie start Sandboxie Control

"%programfiles%\Sandboxie\SbieCtrl.exe" /open

1 2 3 4 The button Block All Programs prevents all programs in the sandbox from accessing the Internet. When this mode is in effect, the button changes to Allow All Programs, and when clicked, will undo the effect of blocking all programs.

Issue message SBIE1307 when access is denied: When a program is restricted due to this setting, Sandboxie can issue a notification message. Use this checkbox setting to indicate whether you would like to receive these notifications.

You can run executable file in "DisabledInternet" sandbox:

1) Right click on file -> In context menu choose "Send To"-> "Sandboxie - DisabledInternet"

2) Right click on file -> In context menu choose "Run Sandboxed"-> Choose "DisabledInternet" sandbox

3) Drag and drop file to Sandboxie Control window -> Choose "DisabledInternet" sandbox

4) You can also use command line and make shortcut:

"%programfiles%\Sandboxie\Start.exe"  /box:DisabledInternet  "path to executable file"

Some important notes about Sandboxie:

Sandboxie is shareware software. The free version is missing a few features(automatically running programs under Sandboxie and ability to run programs in more than one sandbox at the same time ) which are available in the paid version. After 30 days of use, the free version displays reminders(5-second popup) to upgrade to the paid version, but remains functional.

source:

http://www.sandboxie.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandboxie

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