Since Windows 7 already comes with its own firewall, I prefer not to install a 3rd party one.

However, when I started trying to set it up, I quickly discovered that it's much less user-friendly than any personal firewall I have ever seen (e.g. Sygate for XP, Comodo for Windows 7, etc.)

Instead of being configured by default to block all Internet inbound and outbound traffic (i.e. not LAN), and then prompt you whenever unauthorized program tries to “call home”, it seems to allow all outbound traffic… (which is a spyware paradise).

I tried to configure it like a “ standard personal firewall” but this task turned to be anything but trivial:

  • First, I was greeted by having to select one of three profiles: Domain | Private | Public:

    1. Domain    is n/a because I don’t use a domain controller
    2. Private   is me! (yes, I have a tiny LAN)
    3. Public    is n/a because my Windows 7 laptop is only connected through my router/firewall

  • So I proceeded with the following:

    1. Domain  : All blocked (changed outbound from default)
    2. Private : Inbound blocked, outbound allowed (keep defaults)
    3. Public  : All blocked (changed outbound from default)

Yet, I keep seeing all sorts of programs “calling home” without Windows firewall ever prompting or even notifying me about it.

Any idea how I can proceed from here? Is it possible at all to use the Windows 7 firewall to effectively control outbound traffic?


By default, Windows Firewall with Advanced Security allows all outbound network traffic.

To block the network traffic for prohibited programs, you must create an outbound rule that blocks traffic with specific criteria from passing through Windows Firewall with Advanced Security.

Alternatively, you can change the default outbound action to block, and then create outbound allow rules to allow required traffic. This technique is demonstrated in this TechNet article.

  • 1
    Thanks (+1). It turns out I am not the only one hallucinating about user-friendliness in Windows 7's firewall. That thread provided a possible solution named Windows 7 Firewall Control. I will try that and see if it avoids replacing the Windows 7 built-in fireall with some other bloatware firewall. – ef2011 Feb 28 '12 at 16:13

Windows does not notify you when programs make outbound calls, because it is very costly CPU wise, and even more costly from a software development standpoint.

To control outbound traffic, you'll need to block all outbound traffic then set specific rules.

  • 3
    Thanks (+1). If I block all outbound traffic, will Windows prompt me when a program tries to access the Internet, and let me confirm (+/- remember) or deny access? Just like Sygate or ZoneAlarm do? – ef2011 Jan 16 '12 at 1:01

Try "Windows 7 Firewall Control" This program works with the Windows Firewall and is independent from the Windows Firewall application itself and will ask you what to do like a personal firewall http://www.sphinx-soft.com/Vista/index.html

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