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Can you tell me of a way that I can stop internet activity on a computer? I am an American living in Russia and I have ADSL but they charge me by my traffic. Norton Internet Security has a feature to "block internet activity" which stops all in and out traffic. That way I am assured that nothing is going on over the web. But, we have three computers networked and I do not have Norton on each because of cost.

I would like to be able to either: 1) stop internet activity per computer (like a turn off switch for Internet), or 2) stop any activity at the modem level

Do you know of a way? I know I could turn off the modem, but looking for something a bit more practical at the user level.

I have a few ideas, but to me none of them are really any more practical than turning off the modem. Let me throw those ideas out, and perhaps they'll be appropriate for your situation, or perhaps a reader will suggest a more elegant solution.

If you don't mind turning off all network activity, local or internet, then my approach would be to disable and reenable your network adapter as needed. Right click on the network connection (usually "Local Area Connection") in Control Panel's Network Connection section, and select Disable to turn off network activity, or Enable to restore it. I often do this with my wireless connection to avoid accidental connections in public areas.

Along those same lines, you could pull the network cable from each of the computers, or from your switch or router and achieve the same effect.

If you want to maintain a local area network while still disabling the internet, but without pulling cables, disabling network adapters or turning off power switches, another even less simple approach, would be to:

  • Install an additional network protocol on all machines, such as SPX/IPX

  • Enable or disable TCP/IP on the network adapters as needed to restrict, or allow, internet traffic. Right click on the network connection in Control Panel's Network Connection section, click on Properties and enable or disable the TCP/IP item.

"To be honest I don't like any of these solutions, and would probably end up pulling the plug on the modem..."

This relies on the fact that only TCP/IP traffic travels on the internet. If you have no TCP/IP traffic, you'll not be communicating on the internet. Other protocols remain only on your local network, and support most normal file sharing operations.

Yet another approach would be to reconfigure your router or DLS modem on the fly. Using their web interface, presumably you could "break" it's configuration to communicate on the internet, or "fix" it when you need to resume internet access.

To be honest I don't like any of these solutions, and would probably end up pulling the plug on the modem, as you've been doing.

Perhaps a reader will suggest a solution I haven't thought of.

Article C2616 - April 8, 2006 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

April 9, 2006 2:46 AM

I have a easy solution for this problem. Download zone alarm for each computer. It has a locking feature that will shut down all internet traffic. It is a free download for personal use. You can get it at

Donald Davis
April 9, 2006 5:31 PM

It would probably be more expensive than desirable but an Alpha switch (trade mark) on each machine would be the simplest and quickest way to cut each machine in or out of the curcuit. D.D.

April 10, 2006 10:29 AM

If the ADSL connection is uses PPPoE, you can disable it on the modem/router, and then create a PPPoE connection on each of your computers, you can choose to have a shortcut on the desktop for the PPPoE connection. It may sound like dial up where you manually connect before to be able to get online. WinXP comes with an inbuilt PPPoE client, refer to link for walkthrough for creating a PPPoE connectoid on WinXP
If you use other Windows versions try installing a free PPPoE client like RASPPPOE(
Please note that PPPoE requires a user name and a password, most ISPs have the user name as an email id (for example: and the password would be the password for that email address.
The tech support for the ADSL ISP would be able to assist you in disabling PPPoE on the modem/router, and also on the PPPoE authentication(user name/pwd) details.

This way the Local Area Network would remain functional, and you would be able to control network traffic to the internet.

April 15, 2006 2:45 AM

go to

April 15, 2006 11:03 AM


I can see how this could pose serious problems for somebody using those applications (such as, I think, Dreamweaver MX 2004) that continuously "phone home" to verify ownership of the software!

Take care!


April 16, 2006 4:26 AM

I just want to endorse Alan's ZoneAlarm suggestion above. From it sits quietly in the system tray using next to no resources and a simple right click brings up the menu with 'stop all internet activity' ready for action (or no action) in all of about a second and a half. ZoneAlarm can also control individual programs' access to the net so you can, for example, shut down your browsers access but still collect email. AND it's free for personal use!

ankit thukral
April 18, 2006 12:48 AM

Some DSL modems (like D-Link) have a feature to auto disconnect the modem
from the internet if there has been no internet activity for,say 2 minutes.And it
would automatically connect to the internet in case someone needs to access the
internet.While this does not (and probably shouldn't) stop the computer programs
from accessing the internet,what it does to help is to stop accounting for "proxy"
traffic on the line once it is auto disconnected.I myself received my first internet
bill charging me for 350 MB usage,which was reduced to 220 MB next month after i
changed this setting.

April 18, 2006 10:24 PM
"Agnitum Outpost free firewall" is another firewall software you can use to stop internet activity.

Adrian Waalwijk
February 17, 2007 7:03 AM

An easy way to switch off all external activity is to buy a multiswitch from your electronics supplyshop , cut the wire that connects your pc with the modem and solder the multiswitch in between.
Now you can cut yor pc off by simply pushing the switchbutton. I have the switch tyripped to the monitorstand and that's about it.
Everytime i feel 'hold' by whatever website I visit I simply cut them off, shut them windows and turn the switch back on.
It works for me so maybe it works for you too.
good luck!

December 21, 2007 7:12 AM

how can i solve a problem that comes like this:
local area networkingdeleted from the system or disabled by mistakes

March 5, 2008 12:55 AM

how can i stop access to internet but need email fasility it is only for one computer and it is for business

September 12, 2009 12:15 AM

In XP, go into Control Panel > Network Connections - find the connection that you want to disable. While holding the Control key, drag it onto the desktop. You'll get a shortcut to that connection. You can right-click the shortcut & select Disable to stop traffic. When you want it back, right-click again & select Enable.

Mark Nesja
January 20, 2010 1:16 PM

I use the "stop all internet activity" feature in ZoneAlarm to stop network activity on my machine, so maybe this would work for you, and of course it's a free program :) It takes 2 clicks to switch on and off.

October 2, 2010 3:10 PM

1. my belkin router's config allows specific local IPs to be disabled for specific time periods.

2. Or get two network cards and install tcpip ONLY on one. it can be an old card because your internet connection is probably 'relatively' slow comapred to your INTRAnet. Then use the previous solution to this thread to disable just the internet-modem connection and still have your INTRAnet working fine on the other network card.


November 2, 2010 9:22 PM

it's more easy to stop accessing internet on ur PC......

step 1.......

open internet option in the control panel........

step 2.......

click on the connection tab in it.......

step 3.........

click on the LAN setting available in it..........

step 4.............

enable proxy option in it.............

step 5...........

write an address in the space available in it.....

step 6.........

click ok.........

and now check ur pc it shows an error on opening internet browsers.............

enjoy it and protect ur PC from others..............

John Simnitt
November 7, 2010 12:46 AM

It is very simple. I have built many simple switches for friends. Assemble a 3 Jack box similar in shape and size of an old fashioned wall phone jack box. Parts are all available at electronic stores. Two jack squares on one end go to internet and other to computer. The one on the other side gets the blank that comes with the box. drill a hole in that blank, and insert a 4 pole double throw toggle switch. Wire it together. The 4 blue and black do not go through the switch, but each wraps around each pair of the switch wires coming to and from. My cost is $12, and I can build one in an hour. I charge my friends $32 total. If you need me to build one for you, just email! I'm on a pension and can use the spare change! John!
P.S., As for us, We like to keep our computers on, but are leery providing to the entire cyber world, access to our computers while we sleep. It has been proven we cannot fully trust our firewall protections against attackers at all times.
Switches can be attached to the wall or under the desktop by a wood screw, or double sticky taped to the side of each computer.
Wishing you the best, and I hope this idea will help you many others! John

November 13, 2010 4:11 PM

If you have a program capable of switching proxies on the fly (like my ancient copy of the Proxomitron web filter), you can try this trick.

Set up a proxy that goes nowhere (such as to or To prevent any new connections, just temporarily switch to using that non-existent proxy.

June 16, 2011 9:45 PM

The easy way to do this is to unplug the LAN cable. That is it !!!

Gordon Mac
January 24, 2012 2:02 PM

On my gateway to shut down internet (wireless) you can press Fn+F2 (the antennae symbol). Maybe this will work for you......

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