How to Manually Add a Port Exception to the Windows Vista Firewall

By Woody Leonhard

Sometimes, adding a firewall exception isn’t enough to allow an application to receive information, such as software updates, from the Internet. In these cases, the only way to get the program operating correctly is to manually add a port exception to the Windows Vista Firewall that is specific to the needed application. However, only add a port to the Exceptions list if a software manufacturer insists — and if you understand the ramifications.

Be extremely cautious about manually adding a port exception to the Windows Vista Firewall Exceptions list. When you open a port to the Internet, any creepy-crawly piece of garbage trawling the Net may be able to get into your computer. Only open ports when you absolutely have to, and don’t leave them open any longer than necessary.

  1. Choose Start→Control Panel. Under the Security icon, click the Allow a Program Through Windows Firewall link.


    You have to click Continue on a User Account Control message, and then the Windows Firewall Settings Exceptions tab appears.

  2. To put a port on the Windows Firewall Exception list, click the Add Port button.


    Windows Firewall shows you the Add a Port dialog box.

  3. Give the exception a name — preferably a name that reminds you which port you opened — and then type the number of the port that you need opened. Choose TCP or UDP to conform to the manufacturer’s instructions.

    TCP and UDP are two different ways of talking across a port.

  4. Click OK.

    The port is opened immediately. Don’t forget to shut it (uncheck the box next to the exception name) as soon as you can.