How to Disable the Windows Firewall in Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista and XP

Steps on how to disable the firewall in any version of Windows

Windows laptop with Firewall settings onscreen

The Windows Firewall is designed to help keep unauthorized users from accessing files and resources on your computer. A firewall is a must-have if you're concerned about your computer's safety.

Unfortunately, the Windows Firewall is far from perfect and can sometimes cause more harm than good, especially if there's another firewall program installed.

Don't disable the Windows Firewall unless you have a good reason, but if you have another security program performing the same functions, feel free.

Time Required: Disabling the Windows Firewall is easy and usually takes less than 10 minutes

See What Version of Windows Do I Have? if you're not sure which steps to follow along with.

Disable the Firewall in Windows 10, 8, and 7

The steps for turning off the Windows Firewall in Windows 7 and newer versions of Windows is basically identical.

The screenshots in this section apply to Windows 10 only. Your screen will look slightly different if you're using Windows 8 or Windows 7.

  1. You can do this a number of ways, but the easiest method is through the Power User Menu or the Start menu in Windows 7.

    Screenshot of Control Panel button in Windows 10 Start menu
  2. Select the System and Security link.

    Screenshot of System and Security button in Windows 10 Control Panel

    That link is only visible if you have the "View by:" option set to "Category." If you're viewing the Control Panel applets in icon view, just skip down to the next step.

  3. Choose Windows Firewall.

    Screenshot of Windows Defender Firewall in System and Security panel in Windows 10

    Depending on how your computer is set up, it might instead be called Windows Defender Firewall. If so, treat every instance of "Windows Firewall" below as if it read "Windows Defender Firewall."

  4. Select Turn Windows Firewall on or off on the left side of the screen.

    Screenshot highlighting Turn Windows Defender Firewall on or off button in Windows 10

    A really quick way to get to this screen is via the control firewall.cpl command line command, which you can execute in Command Prompt or the Run dialog box.

  5. Select the bubble next to Turn off Windows Firewall (not recommended).

    Screenshot of Turn off Windows Defender Firewall (not recommended) option in settings for Windows 10

    You can disable the Windows Firewall for private networks only, just for public networks, or for both. To disable the Windows Firewall for both network types, you have to make sure to select Turn off Windows Firewall (not recommended) in both the private and the public section.

  6. Choose OK to save the changes.

Now that the Windows Firewall is disabled, repeat whatever steps caused your problem to see if disabling this option has fixed your problem.

Disable the Firewall in Windows Vista

The Windows Firewall can be turned off in Windows Vista through Control Panel, similar to how it's done in other versions of Windows.

  1. Open Control Panel by selecting Control Panel from the Start menu.

    Control Panel in Windows Vista Start Menu
  2. Choose Security from the category list.

    Security icon in Windows Vista Control Panel

    If you're in the "Classic View" of Control Panel, just skip down to the next step.

  3. Select Windows Firewall.

    Windows Firewall in Vista Security panel
  4. Choose Turn Windows Firewall on or off on the left side of the window.

    Turn Windows Firewall on or off

    If a User Account Control window pops up, go ahead and click/tap through it by either entering an admin password or selecting Continue.

    If you need to access this window again more quickly in the future, you can use the control firewall.cpl command in the Run dialog box.

  5. Open the General tab and select the bubble next to Off (not recommended).

    Windows Firewall Off (not recommended)
  6. Select OK to apply the changes.

Disable the Firewall in Windows XP

Directions for turning off the Windows XP firewall is significantly different than it is in newer versions of Windows, but it's still fairly simple.

  1. Open Control Panel by choosing Start and then Control Panel.

    Control Panel icon in Windows XP Start menu
  2. Select Network and Internet Connections.

    Network and Internet Connections in Windows XP Control Panel

    If you're viewing the "Classic View" of Control Panel, open Network Connections and skip to Step 4.

  3. Choose Network Connections under the or pick a Control Panel icon section.

    Network Connections icon in Windows XP Control Panel
  4. Right-click or tap-and-hold your network connection and choose Properties.

    Windows XP network Properties menu item

    If you have a "high speed" internet connection like Cable or DSL, or are on a network of some kind, your network connection will likely be titled Local Area Connection.

  5. Open the Advanced tab and select Settings.

    Settings button in Advanced tab of Network Properties in Windows XP
  6. Choose the Off (not recommended) radio button.

    Windows Firewall Off (not recommended) in Windows XP

    Windows Firewall settings can also be opened with a simple shortcut via the Run dialog box or Command Prompt. Just enter this command: control firewall.cpl.

  7. Select OK in this window and then OK again in the Properties window of your network connection. You can also close the Network Connections window.