Question

What Microsoft products can I block from internet access?

Mar 16, 2020 8:19PM PDT

Hi folks!
EVERY SINGLE DAY my firewall software alerts me at least once that a Microsoft product wants to send something on the internet. How can I tell when it's ok to block them? I'd like to block as many as possible without causing problems on my system.

Post was last edited on March 16, 2020 8:20 PM PDT

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Let's start with something basic.
Mar 16, 2020 8:34PM PDT

1. Your firewall should allow you set this to never.
2. What product is being reported?

and most of all.
3. Did you happen to use the EMAIL LOGIN SYSTEM in Windows 10? If you do, you sync a lot of data so that was a choice you made. You can change this to a local login which really cuts back on the data.

4. Then you have to ask, why do you use Windows? To run Chrome or what?

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Thanks for the reply R. Proffitt
Mar 16, 2020 8:53PM PDT

I use Outlook for mail. I launch it manually when I want it. I also use Word, and Excel. I get alerts every time a program or software components have been updated. Most of them are EXEs but not EXEs I recognize, like phoneactivate.exe or they'll be in gobbledygook folders I've never been in before. It seems like dozens of little microsoft executables are constantly spying on me and sending data to IPs I don't know anything about.

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Ah. Outlook.
Mar 16, 2020 9:07PM PDT

Sorry but even at the office we're more into Thunderbird which does email just fine. It also has a feature you won't find in Outlook where you can copy a few files and have your archive and more working in Linux and maybe Apple OS (that is nothing I've tested, just on Linux.)

The EXE in question is NOT DOCUMENTED but might be used for product activation and checking the license. Until Microsoft documents this one, you have to ask Microsoft as what I wrote here is strictly a guess given the strings and what this app seems to talk to on the Internet.

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Thanks for the info R. Proffitt
Mar 16, 2020 10:27PM PDT

Thanks for the info R. Proffitt, I never get the easy problems. Wink

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Answer
A Tedious Solution
Mar 21, 2020 2:05PM PDT

Set the firewall to block all Microsoft then allow one at a time as necessary when error/warning messages pop up. Alternatively, you may use a third party firewall which will definitely allow you to stop all Microsoft stuff. Of course, you'll have at least the problem of what they claim is necessary "telemetry" to be sent IF you're using Windows 10. There's just no way to be free of all that stuff being sent if you're using some version of Windows. If your desire to avoid it is strong enough you can switch to some version of Linux and use open-source Office-type apps to replace Microsoft apps.

I understand that people value their privacy, but it has become progressively more difficult to maintain privacy in the digital age. But, consider this. Before computers and cellphones became commonplace, your phone company, and your bank, and your grocery store, and your neighbors, and your employers all cumulatively knew a lot about you. So, unless you lived in a log cabin in the High Sierras and hunted or grew your own food you've never really had much privacy, have you?

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