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Back to Basics: How to block Windows programs from accessing the internet
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[Image: How-to-block-Windows-programs-from-acces...step-2.jpg]

Today, in our Windows 10 beginner's guide series, we'll be looking at how to block Windows programs from accessing the internet.

Tip: check out some of the previous parts of the series, e.g. on changing default save locations or configuring programs to start on shutdown.

While it may work sometimes to cut the Internet connection, e.g. when installing Windows, it is usually necessary to use finer controls when it comes to blocking programs from communication with Internet servers.

The Windows operating system comes with a firewall that you may use for the purpose. While you may get a better experience when using third-party tools like like Windows Firewall Control, the built-in firewall is all that is needed to block programs from going online.

Before we show you how to do it, we'd like to discuss why you may want to block the Internet connectivity of certain programs.

Why would you want to do this?

Privacy is a core reason. We have seen applications phoning home, when they shouldn't be (I'm looking at you CCleaner). Programs may transfer data about your computer or Internet usage, your PC's hardware, or other information, even files, to Internet servers.

Blocking internet access for programs is also a good way to prevent automatic updates. Maybe you want a program to stay on a specific version, e.g. uTorrent on a "clean" version or a version that comes without changes that you did not like, e.g. Bandizip's upcoming changes that introduce ads in the free version.

Other reasons may include preserving data if your connection is capped or making sure that other applications get to use the full bandwidth.

How to block Windows programs from accessing the internet

Step 1: Open the Control Panel

Open the Control Panel and click on the "Windows Defender Firewall". If you have troubles locating the Control Panel use the shortcut Windows-Pause to open it, select Control Panel Home, make sure small icons are selected, and start Windows Defender Firewall.

Tip: you may also use our guide on opening Windows Control Panel applets directly.

Select Advanced Settings from the side-panel on the left.
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