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

Screenshot of the Windows Firewall settings in Windows 10

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 is 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

  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. On the left side of the "Windows Firewall" screen, select Turn Windows Firewall on or off.

    Screenshot highlighting Turn Windows Defender Firewall on or off button in Windows 10
  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. Click or tap the OK button 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

  1. Open Control Panel with a click or tap on the Start menu and then the Control Panel link.

  2. Choose Security from the category list.

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

  3. Click or tap on Windows Firewall.

  4. Select the link on the left side of the window called Turn Windows Firewall on or off.

  5. In the "Windows Firewall Settings" window, under the "General" tab, select the bubble next to the Off (not recommended) option.

  6. Click or tap OK to apply the changes.

Disable the Firewall in Windows XP

  1. Open Control Panel by clicking or tapping on Start and then Control Panel.

  2. Click or tap on the Network and Internet Connections link.

    If you're viewing the "Classic View" of Control Panel, double-click or double-tap on the Network Connections icon and skip to Step 4.

  3. Under the "or pick a Control Panel icon" section, click or tap on the Network Connections link.

  4. In the "Network Connections" window, right-click or tap-and-hold on your network connection and choose Properties.

    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. Choose the Advanced tab in the "Properties" window of your network connection.

  6. In the "Windows Firewall" section under the "Advanced" tab, click or tap on the Settings... button.

  7. Choose the Off (not recommended) radio button in the "Windows Firewall" window.

  8. Click or tap OK in this window and click/tap OK again in the "Properties" window of your network connection. You can also close the "Network Connections" window.