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So that background applications like Adobe Update don't eat away my internet. One way is to install a firewall and configure it but is there any other way? Like with registry keys? Can Windows' default firewall help me in this?

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If you're running Windows XP, why not just use Windows Firewall to block everything EXCLUDING the programs you define? –  Oliver G Jul 16 '12 at 12:09
    
How? Where is the option? –  Vineet Jul 16 '12 at 12:12
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It appears that Windows XP has a restricted featureset for Windows Firewall. After further research, it is apparently impossible to do what you require on Windows XP without third party software. See here for more info: superuser.com/questions/344423/… –  Oliver G Jul 16 '12 at 13:18

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