Microsoft has provided us with a firewall since Windows XP. But with Windows XP the service by default was not activated. This required us users to find the secret settings to get the free protection built into XP. When Vista arrived Microsoft by default had the firewall activated by default. But the protection was for inbound traffic only which it blocks. But outbound blocking by default was set to allow, not block.

So when I read this article from on how to activate outbound protection my first response was ‘why’? Why isn’t outbound by default set to block? Why is this advanced interface hidden?

Here is what you can do to activate the outbound firewall in Vista:

Get Two-Way Firewall Protection

No desktop should be without a personal firewall, but even if the Security Center says you’re protected, you may not be. The Windows Firewall within Vista blocks all incoming traffic that might be malicious or suspicious–and that’s good. But outbound protection is not enabled by default. That’s a dangerous situation if some new malicious software finds its way onto your PC. Microsoft did include the tools for Windows Vista to have a true two-way firewall, but finding the setting is a little complicated. (Hint: Don’t go looking the Windows Firewall settings dialog box.)

To get two-way protection in Windows Vista, click on the Start button; in the search space, type wf.msc and press Enter. Click on the Windows Firewall with Advanced Security icon. This management interface displays the inbound and outbound rules. Click on Windows Firewalls Properties. You should now see a dialog box with several tabs. For each profile–Domain, Private, and Public–change the setting to Block, and then click OK.

I can only venture a guess that Microsoft might of been reluctant to make this feature easy to find, since they may have felt that the average user would of struggled getting it to work properly.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.