Windows – How to tell which windows firewall rule is blocking traffic


I'm trying to set up a computer to accept all incoming traffic but only allow outgoing traffic to a specific IP. I have set an allow all rule for Incoming and an Allow rule that specifies an IP address as the only acceptable Outgoing address. I have also set up a deny all Outgoing rule, assuming that the other rule will take precedence.

The problem I am having is that all traffic is being blocked, even the traffic going to the IP that I specified as being allowed.

I am looking for a way to trace traffic through the firewall and see exactly what rule is blocking the traffic. The log generated by the firewall monitoring tells me that traffic was dropped but not which rule blocked it.

Best Answer

(Note: this method has been working at least on Windows 7, 10 Pro, Server 2012 R2)

Following steps will lead you to the rule blocking your connection:

  • Open a Windows console (with Administration rights) to enter commands
  • Enable the audit for Windows Filtering Platform (WFP):
  • run command:
    auditpol /set /subcategory:"Filtering Platform Packet Drop" /success:enable /failure:enable
  • run command:
    auditpol /set /subcategory:"Filtering Platform Connection" /success:enable /failure:enable
  • (This may drown you in Event Log data - enabling only failure audits, and possibly only connection failures will reduce the number of log entries. Be selective about what you actually need)
  • Reproduce the issue
  • Run command: netsh wfp show state (this creates a XML file in the current folder)
  • Open the event viewer: Run (Windows+R) > eventvwr.msc
  • go to "Windows logs" > "Security"
  • in the list, identify the dropping packet log (hint: use the Search feature on the right menu, searching for items (source IP, destination port, etc.) specific to your issue)
  • in the log details, scroll down and note the filter ID used to block the packet
  • Open the generated XML file:
  • search for the noted filterID, and check out the rule name (element "displayData > name" on the corresponding XML node)

This will give you a good start to find the blocking rule.

When you're done, don't forget to turn off the audit:

  • run command:
    auditpol /set /subcategory:"Filtering Platform Packet Drop" /success:disable /failure:disable
  • run command:
    auditpol /set /subcategory:"Filtering Platform Connection" /success:disable /failure:disable

Note: depending on your Windows language setting, the auditing service might use different non-English names. To find the subcategory names, run command: auditpol /get /category:* and find subcategories which correspond to "Filtering Platform Packet Drop" and "Filtering Platform Connection" in the system language.