How to Disable the Windows XP Internet Connection Firewall

Disable the ICF when your computer can't connect to the internet

The Windows Internet Connection Firewall works on many Windows XP computers, where the feature is disabled by default. However, when it is running, ICF can interfere with internet connection sharing and disconnect you from the internet.

Windows XP has been out-of-support since 2014. Upgrade to Windows 10 to ensure you receive appropriate security, stability, and feature updates. We retain the following content for people who cannot upgrade an XP-based computer.

Should You Disable ICF?

You can disable ICF, but Microsoft advises:

"You should enable ICF on the internet connection of any computer that is connected directly to the internet."

Despite this advice, you may be able to disable ICF safely. Most home routers have built-in firewalls, and you can install other firewall programs to replace the firewall provided in Windows XP.

If you don't have other firewall protection, it is best to leave ICF running unless it prevents you from connecting to the internet. In that case, you can disable it temporarily.

Red flip switch, on, off, 3D Rendering
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How to Disable the Windows XP Firewall

Here's how to disable the Windows XP Internet Connection Firewall when it interferes with your computer's internet connection:

  1. Open Control Panel by clicking Start > Control Panel.

  2. Choose Network and Internet Connections, and then click Network Connections in the Control Panel icon section. If you view Control Panel in Classic View, double-click the Network Connections link. Either option opens a list of available network connections.

  3. Right-click the connection that you want to disable the firewall on and then choose Properties.

  4. Go to the Advanced tab and find the option in the Internet Connection Firewall section called Protect my computer and network by limiting or preventing access to this computer from the Internet.

  5. This option represents the internet connection firewall. Clear the check box to disable the firewall.

Windows XP SP2 uses Windows Firewall, which can be disabled in a slightly different way than is described here.