How to enable or disable the Microsoft Windows Firewall

Updated: 10/07/2019 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 are looking for information about disabling a firewall other than that which comes with Windows, see our page on disabling a firewall program installed on a computer.

Disabling the Windows 8 or 10 firewall

Caution

Unless you are troubleshooting an issue or plan on installing another firewall, it is recommended that you do not disable the Windows Firewall.

Tip

If you are disabling the firewall because a program can't access your computer or the Internet, try to allow the program through the firewall first.

  1. Press the Windows key, type Windows Defender Firewall, and then press Enter.
  2. On the left side of the screen, under Control Panel Home, select Turn Windows Defender Firewall on or off.

Firewall settings link in Windows 10

  1. In the Customize Settings window, click the circle(s) next to Turn off Windows Defender Firewall for public networks, private networks, or both.

Disabling the firewall in Windows 10

  1. When you're finished, click the OK button button.

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. Press the Windows key, type Windows Defender Firewall, and then press Enter.
  2. On the left side of the screen, under Control Panel Home, select Turn Windows Defender Firewall on or off.

Firewall settings link in Windows 10

  1. In the Customize Settings window, click the circle(s) next to Turn on Windows Defender Firewall for public networks, private networks, or both.

Enabling the firewall in Windows 10

  1. When you're finished, click the OK button button.

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 are looking for information about disabling a different firewall, see the steps on disabling the firewall program installed on a computer.

Disabling the Windows Vista and Windows 7 firewall

Caution

Unless you are troubleshooting an issue or plan on installing another firewall, it is recommended that you do not disable your Windows Firewall.

Tip

If you are disabling the firewall because a program can't access your computer or the Internet, try to allow the program through the firewall 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 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 are looking for information about disabling a firewall other than that which comes with Windows, see the steps on disabling the firewall program installed on a computer.

Disabling the Windows XP firewall

Caution

Unless you are troubleshooting an issue or plan on installing another firewall, it is recommended that you do not disable your Windows Firewall.

Tip

If you are disabling the firewall because a program can't access your computer or the Internet, try to allow the program through the firewall 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, uncheck the Protect my computer and network by limiting or preventing access to this computer from the Internet option.

If you are 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