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Allow or block programs using Windows Firewall

Some programs need internet access in order to work. Web browsers obviously do, but other software may need to access the internet too. This may be to check for updates, download data or even for copy protection and security. Mostly programs get on well with Windows Firewall and you may occasionally see a pop-up message asking if it's OK to let such and such a program access the internet. Sometimes though, a program cannot configure the firewall and you have to manually add it in order for it to work. Here's how to do it.

Click Start and go to the Control Panel. Open Windows Firewall and in the left-hand panel, click Allow a program or feature through Windows Firewall. Click Change Settings in the top right corner. You'll need to be an administrator to do this and ordinary users don't have permission.

A list of currently configured programs is listed and those with ticks next to them are enabled. They can be disabled by clicking the tick box to clear it. A more drastic step is to select it and click the Remove button. It is a good idea to read through this list occasionally to see which programs are accessing the internet. If you spot anything unusual then you can investigate further and check whether it is a legitimate program or some malware or other undesirable software. It would at least be prudent to remove the tick that allows it throught the firewall.

Windows Firewall

To add a program to the firewall, click the Allow another program button at the bottom. If the program is on the list then select it and add it, but if you can't see it, click the Browse button and find it on the disk drive Likely locations are C:\Program Files and C:\Program Files (x86). You can choose whether it is allowed internet access when you are at home and when using public Wi-Fi hotspots with the two tick boxes on the right.

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