Can someone recommend a simple firewall that blocks everything by default, eventually with command line control?

Windows XP+


On Windows XP and before, you can use Sygate Personal Firewall by Sygate Technologies:

  • Free to try; $39.95 to buy
  • Windows 95/NT/98/Me/2000/XP
  • Very lightweight (~10 MB of RAM)
  • You can see the processes with network activity and block specific .exe from accessing Internet.
  • Blocks everything by default (you'll have to allow every new process for tries to access Internet)

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For the background story, Sygate Personal Firewall got bought and killed by Symantec (Norton), so was never made available for Windows 7 (still works great on XP though). And PC Tools Firewall had the same fate (bought and killed AGAIN by Symantec), only a bit later so I could run it on Windows 7, until it eventually broke (seems like it works with Windows 7 RTM but not with Windows 7 SP1).

  • 1
    Likewise: I ran an old (IIRC free, 6.x) version of ZoneAlarm on my XP for years (before it became bloated). It just asked confirmation for every outbound connection, and was one of the first firewalls to check for modified programs. If you want an XP firewall it's worth looking if you can still get this somewhere (e.g. oldversion.com/windows/zonealarm)
    – user416
    Aug 8 '14 at 8:39
  • Thanks for the link, I'm now waiting for comments of people outraged by the fact we recommend some old programs for a security purpose... Aug 8 '14 at 16:02

On Windows Vista and higher, you can use the built-in Firewall:

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do the same for the private file and the public profile, then delete or disable all inbound and outbound rules.

Tutorial on Advanced Firewall Rules in the Windows Firewall, which is a free extension to the Windows firewall.

Each time a program will try to connect to Internet, Windows Firewall will ask you for permission:

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To show notifications when blocking outgoing connections attempts, you can try Windows Firewall Control.

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