I don’t buy many new games these days, but I’m lucky to have friends who do. So I often use Steam’s “Shared Library” feature to try out the latest games. This works great until my friends come online and need their library back. Shortly after which Steam alerts me that I will be booted from the game in five minutes.

The simple fix is to disconnect the internet and continue playing. But what can you do if the game is online, or you want to play online with the friend whose account you are borrowing?

Thankfully, Windows has a simple built in program we can use to stop only the primary Steam application from communicating with the internet (thus not learning your friend is online) without also blocking your game’s connection.

Here’s how:

  1. Open the Control Panel

  2. When filtering the Control Panel by icons choose "Windows Defender Firewall"

    The Windows Defender Firewall view
    The Windows Defender Firewall view
  3. On the left hand side menu choose "Advanced settings" and a new window entitled "Windows Defender Firewall with Advanced Security" will appear

  4. In this new window on the left side menu select "Outbound Rules"

  5. On the right hand side menu select "New Rule..." then a new window entitled "New Outbound Rule Wizard" will appear

  6. Select "Program" and hit next

  7. Select "This program path" and click browse - by default Steam.exe is located in "C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam" afterwards click next

  8. Select "Block the connection" then hit next

  9. Ensure "Domain", "Private", and "Public" are checked and hit next

  10. Name your new rule and hit next

  11. The firewall rule is now active and can easily be toggled on and off in the right hand panel of the "Windows Defender Firewall with Advanced Security" program by selecting the rule