How to Disable the Windows XP Internet Connection Firewall

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

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The Windows Internet Connection Firewall (ICF) exists 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 even disconnect you from the internet.

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 third-party firewall programs to replace the firewall provided in Windows XP. If you don't have any 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.

How to Disable the Windows XP Firewall

Here's how to disable the Windows XP internet connection firewall when it's interfering 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're viewing Control Panel in Classic View, double-click on 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. Uncheck the box to disable the firewall.

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