Windows firewall is a security software which is available on your Windows systems and protects it from different kinds of network threats. It protects you from malicious software while still providing access to the network and the Internet. It can also help you filter incoming and outgoing data packets.

Given that it runs silently in the background, you may not be aware of its presence, but it is one of the important software which is vital for protecting your device and data from cyber threats.

Generally, windows firewall needs to be kept on, but there could be the circumstances where you need to disable it manually.

Disabling Windows Firewall is very easy. Following some straightforward steps, Windows Firewall can be disabled in few minutes.

Even for different versions of Windows, there are minor changes to be followed.

Before discussing the steps for disabling Windows firewall in detail, let us quickly see what firewall and windows firewall is.

What is a Firewall?

Firewall is a network security system. It is a software which acts as a filter between the system and the internet.

By filtering and controlling the incoming and outgoing data packets, it monitors the traffic to and from the network for malicious or harmful programs or activities that can be a potential threat to the system.

In addition to firewalls, antispyware software and antivirus etc. are other necessary elements in your security arsenal.

What is the Windows Firewall?

Windows Firewall is a software developed and created by Microsoft initially in the year 2001 with the name ‘Internet Connection Firewall’ for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.

It had many bugs back then. By default, it was disabled, and it also had some backward compatibility issues.

After 2004, with changing the name to ‘Windows Firewall,’ they also improved the software. And now, it efficiently restricts any potential harmful network threats to or from the system by filtering the network data transmissions.

It is also capable of blocking the malicious programs during any communication over the internet.

Also, Windows Firewall is now officially called Windows Defender Firewall with the release of Windows 10 under a branding campaign of Microsoft called “Windows Defender.”

Why do you need to disable the windows firewall?

There are a few reasons for which Windows Firewall is required to be disabled or customised for both public and private networks.

  • There might be times when the Windows firewall can block any network communication for the legitimate software you are opting to run.

For this the program which, may ask through a security alert prompt box, to the administrator of the system to allow access to the network. In this case, temporarily disabling the firewall or turning the firewall off can help.

  • When you opt on utilising and installing some other firewall on your system other than the Windows firewall, disabling of the Windows firewall may be required.
  • If you are sitting behind a router or another firewall provided by your organisation, you can disable the windows firewall as it is unlikely providing any benefits.

How to disable Windows Firewall in Windows 7, 8 and 10?

The very first thing, to disable the Windows Firewall is to reach the firewall settings in the Windows version you are using. One way to that is to take the following steps to enter the Firewall settings:

Tap on the Start button.

  1. Go to the Control Panel.
  2. Click on or select the option Systems and Security.
  3. Click on or select the option Windows Firewall.
  4. Click on or select the option Turn Windows Firewall on or off on the left side of the screen.
  5. Click the radio buttons ‘Turn off Windows Firewall (not recommended)’ for public or private networks or both as per requirement.
  6. Click on or select the OK button to save the applied settings.

Simply stating the above steps:

Start> Control Panel> Systems and Security> Windows Firewall> Turn Windows Firewall on or off> OK

These steps apply to the Windows versions 7 and 8. In Windows 10, there is a slight change. You can directly find the Windows Firewall option in the Control Panel. So, the steps will be as follows:

Start> Control Panel> Windows Firewall> Turn Windows Firewall on or off> OK

How to disable Windows Firewall in Windows Vista?

For disabling Windows Firewall in Windows Vista, there is a change in the name of the option Systems and Security which is just Security in this version of Windows. The steps will be as follows:

  1. Tap on the Start button.
  2. Go to the Control Panel.
  3. Click on or select the option Security.
  4. Click on or select the option Windows Firewall.
  5. Click on or select the option Turn Windows Firewall on or off on the left side of the screen.
  6. Click the radio buttons ‘Turn off Windows Firewall (not recommended)‘ for public or private networks or both as per requirement.
  7. Click on or select the OK button to save the applied settings.

Simply stating the above steps:

Start> Control Panel> Security> Windows Firewall> Turn Windows Firewall on or off> OK

How to disable windows firewall in Windows XP?

For disabling Windows Firewall in Windows XP, there are changes in the name of the options to be selected as well as the view of Control Panel. The steps to be followed in Windows XP will be as follows:

  1. Tap on the Start button.
  2. Go to the Control Panel.
  3. Click on or select the option Network and Internet Connections. (Network Connections for ‘Classic View’ of the Control Panel)
  4. Right click on the Network Connection option.
  5. Select or choose the option Properties.
  6. In Properties, choose or click on the tab Advanced.
  7. Under the Advanced settings, there is a Windows Firewall section is available.
  8. Click on or choose the option Settings.
  9. Choose the Off (not recommended) radio button.
  10. Click on or select the OK button to save the applied settings.

Simply stating the above steps:

Start> Control Panel> Network and Internet Connections.> Properties> Advanced> Windows Firewall> Settings> Off> OK

Alternative steps

To disable the Windows Firewall, an even easy way to reach the Windows Firewall option is to go to and tap on the Start button of your version of Windows.

Click on the search box and type Firewall or Windows Firewall and then select the option Windows Firewall shown in the search results to proceed with the steps of turning off and disabling the firewall.

And if you have Windows 10, there is an even easier way, that is; to ask Cortana (a voice-activated personal assistant for Windows, just like Siri is for iOS or macOS) to search Firewall for you.

Is it safe to disable the Windows Firewall?

You should remember that turning off or disabling the Windows Firewall of the system poses a threat to the computer’s safety. That is the reason why you need administrator access for enabling or disabling of the Windows Firewall.

It makes the system prone to unauthorized access of resources from the system and the other attacks from your local internet networks.

There should still be some or the other alternative firewall which is reliable enough to protect the system from any malicious threat.

There are many firewalls available. Kaspersky Internet Security, Bitdefender Internet Security, MacAfee LiveSafe, Avira are some of the paid firewalls.

There are many unpaid and free firewalls available like Comodo, AVS, Tiny wall, Net Defender, etc.

Over to you

Disabling Windows Firewall might require some elementary steps to follow but, until and unless you have a valid reason to disable the firewall, it is always harmful to do so.  Configuration changes to windows firewall are protected by special administrative access provided only to administrators. This is to avoid any accidental unwanted configuration change.

You should remember that turning off or disabling the Windows Firewall of the system poses a threat to the computer’s safety. In case you still need to disable it, you should consult your network or system administrator for alternatives and make sure you are protected.

In today’s internet world, cybersecurity is paramount and ensure to have proper windows firewall running along with antivirus and antimalware software to be fully protected.

Windows firewall is a security software which is available on your Windows systems and protects it from different kinds of network threats. It needs to be kept on but can be disabled easily by following some easy steps.