How to enable or disable the Microsoft Windows Firewall

Updated: 05/02/2021 by Computer Hope
Windows firewall

Many users are interested in either enabling or disabling their Windows Firewall for various reasons. Some users want to utilize a different firewall, and some may have turned theirs off by accident. To proceed, select your version of Windows from the list below and follow the instructions.

Windows 8 and 10

Tip

If you're looking to disable a firewall other than the one that comes with Windows, see: How do I disable the firewall program installed on my computer?

Disabling the Windows 8 or 10 firewall

Caution

Unless you are troubleshooting an issue or plan on installing another firewall, we recommend you don't disable the Windows Firewall.

Tip

If you're disabling the firewall because a program can't access the Internet, see: How to open a port for a program or game in Windows Firewall.

  1. Click Start or go to the Windows Start Screen.
  2. Type Settings and press Enter, or click the gear Settings icon icon.
  3. In the Settings window, click the Update & Security option.

Update & Security

  1. In the left navigation menu, click Windows Security.

Windows Security Selector

  1. Under Protection areas, click Firewall & network protection.

Windows 10 Firewall & network portection selector.

  1. In the Windows Security window, click Domain network, Private network, Public network, depending which firewall profile you want to disable.

Select network profile to turn off Windows firewall

  1. Under the Microsoft Defender Firewall heading, click the toggle to the Off position.

Turn off firewall network profile

  1. To turn off Windows Defender Firewall for all three network profiles, repeat steps 6 and 7 above for each network profile.

Enabling Windows 8 or 10 firewall

Caution

Only one software firewall should be enabled at a time. If you have an antivirus or other security program installed with its own firewall, make sure it is disabled first.

  1. Click Start or go to the Windows Start Screen.
  2. Type Settings and press Enter, or click the gear Settings icon icon.
  3. In the Settings window, click the Update & Security option.
  4. In the left navigation menu, click Windows Security.
  5. Under Protection areas, click Firewall & network protection.
  6. In the Windows Security window, click the Turn on button for the Domain network, Private network, Public network, depending which firewall profile you want to enable.

Select network profile to turn on Windows firewall

  1. To turn on Windows Defender Firewall for all three network profiles, repeat step 6 above for each network profile.

Enable and disable the firewall in Windows Vista and Windows 7

Tip

Microsoft Windows Vista and 7 come pre-installed with a firewall utility, although it may be disabled by default. Below are steps that can be followed to enable or disable the firewall in Windows. If you're looking to disable a different firewall, see: How do I disable the firewall program installed on my computer?

Disabling the Windows Vista and Windows 7 firewall

Caution

Unless you are troubleshooting an issue or plan on installing another firewall, we recommend you don't disable your Windows Firewall.

Tip

If you're disabling the firewall because a program can't access the Internet, see: How to open a port for a program or game in Windows Firewall.

  1. Click Start and in the Search for Programs and Files text box, type firewall, and press Enter.
  2. In the search results, click Windows Firewall.
  3. If the Windows Firewall is enabled, the Windows Firewall state will be "on." To turn it off, click Change settings or Turn Windows Firewall on or off in the left column.
  4. In the Firewall Settings window, select Off and click OK.

Enabling Windows Vista and Windows 7 firewall

Caution

Only one software firewall should be enabled at a time. If you have an antivirus or other security program installed with its own firewall, make sure it is disabled first.

  1. Click Start and in the Search for Programs and Files text box, type firewall, and press Enter.
  2. In the search results, click Windows Firewall.
  3. If the Windows Firewall is disabled, the Windows Firewall state will be off. If it is off, click Change settings or Turn Windows Firewall on or off in the left column.
  4. In the Firewall Settings window, select On and click OK.

Enable and disable the firewall in Windows XP

Tip

Although Microsoft Windows XP comes with a pre-installed firewall utility, by default, this feature is not enabled. Below are steps that can be followed to enable or disable this feature in Windows XP. If you're looking for information about disabling a firewall other than that which comes with Windows, see: How do I disable the firewall program installed on my computer?

Disabling the Windows XP firewall

Caution

Unless you are troubleshooting an issue or plan on installing another firewall, we recommend you don't disable your Windows Firewall.

Tip

If you're disabling the firewall because a program can't access the Internet, see: How to open a port for a program or game in Windows Firewall.

  1. Open the Control Panel
  2. Open Network Connections.
  3. In the Network Connections window, right-click the Local Area Connection and select Properties.
  4. In the Local Area Connection Properties window, click the Advanced tab.
  5. Finally, uncheck the Protect my computer and network by limiting or preventing access to this computer from the Internet option.

If you're attempting to disable the Windows XP firewall, but this option is already unchecked, another developer's firewall program may be installed on the computer.

Enabling the Windows XP firewall

Caution

Only one software firewall should be enabled at a time. If you have an antivirus or other security program installed with its own firewall, make sure it is disabled first.

  1. Open the Control Panel
  2. Open Network Connections.
  3. In the Network Connections window, right-click the Local Area Connection and select properties.
  4. In the Local Area Connection Properties window, click the Advanced tab.
  5. Finally, check the Protect my computer and network by limiting or preventing access to this computer from the Internet option.

Additional information