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Windows Firewall blocking websites

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#1
Hi guys, first thread on here so go easy if I chose the wrong section :)

I've recently noticed that neither my firefox, nor IE can access any link to download.microsoft.com servers. I then noticed that if I turn off Windows Firewall, both browsers are able to locate the server and download my updates... Anybody ever seen this before?
If I leave WF on, but turn off Microsoft Security Essentials, the server is still blocked. So it's definitely a Windows Firewall issue.

I've tried searching around for adding exceptions, but it seems you can only add exceptions for programs, not domains as far as I can tell. Very strange!

Specs: Phenom II X4 955, 4GB of DDR3 1800MHz, Windows 7 Ultimate x64. Using Windows Firewall and Microsoft Security Essentials. Can't really think of what else to tell that might be helpful.
 
T

twilyth

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#3
Normally that sort of behavior indicates some sort of malware that has hijacked your hosts file. But if malware were involved, it's being very well behaved malware by letting you turn off the offending program.

I would download a free malware checker like Malwarebytes or the free version of Avira. DL at least 2 since nothing catches everything. Look at the urls and verify that you are going to the sites you think you are.

If that comes up clean, I don't know what to tell you. I suspect there are other symptoms that have not yet come to your notice. But at least after checking for malware you will have a better idea of what you're really dealing with.
 

FordGT90Concept

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#4
Windows Firewall can't block specific websites, only port numbers (HTTP uses 80 or 8080). More likely, Windows Firewall is blocking the Windows Update Service or some other critical update application and/or port number that prevents updates from happening.

As twilyth pointed out, this is abnormal and likely caused by some form of malware. If you even found a the offending rule in Windows Firewall, the malware will likely put it back to the way it was within seconds.

Does http://download.microsoft.com open for you? It should redirect a few times and end up at: http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/default.aspx

Have you tried to ping download.microsoft.com? I did it a few times so you should be able to get a response off it.
 
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#5
thanks for replying guys!

I'm pretty confident that it's not any sort of malware as my machine auto-scans twice a week, and never finds anything exotic.
Yeah I realise that WF doesn't block specific websites, but what could be causing the problem? It only lets me access download.microsoft.com for things such as (http://aka.ms/MouseWithOutBorders) when I disabled WF.

I might just give up with this as I'm buying a new HDD at some point soon when my student loan comes in, so I'll just rebuild onto that and post here again if the same things happens with the new build.
Having said that, I would still like to try and figure out what the hell is going on here... It's got me confused and I'm determined to get my head around it :p

Cheers for your input :)
 
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#6
I do not wish to confuse the issue, but yes, Windows Firewall is able block specific IP addresses. I have about two dozen blocked right now.
 
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#7
I do not wish to confuse the issue, but yes, Windows Firewall is able block specific IP addresses. I have about two dozen blocked right now.
That's odd, everywhere I tried searching, when the problem first arose, people said that this was not possible. I don't suppose you know how to do the reverse, and UNblock sites?
 
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#8
I have blocked IP addresses, e.g. 255.255.255.255, not URLs, e.g. somewebsite.co m.

As far as unblocking, look at your Windows Firewall rules. Do you see anything that is blocked? If you do, click on the Scope tab and see what is listed there.
 
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