5 Reasons Why You Should Not Disable Windows Firewall

Georgi Karaivanov
Georgi Karaivanov

Updated · Jan 26, 2023

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A firewall is every bit as important as an antivirus program – and even a VPN tool– which is why it’s almost never a good idea to disable it.

Here’s why you need the firewall on your Windows OS, what happens when you turn it off, and why you should not disable Windows Firewall.

Let’s dive in.

What Is Windows Firewall?

Back in 2011, Microsoft created Windows Firewall to protect computers from network-based threats, such as malicious software.

There are several types of firewalls, which operate on predetermined rules. By default, the Windows Firewall has a separate set of rules for three different types of networks:

  • Public network (non-discoverable) 
  • Private networks (discoverable) 
  • Domain networks (workplace) 

Why You Shouldn’t Disable Windows Firewall

Disabling a firewall is a risky move.

You can turn the Windows Firewall off if it’s doing more harm than good (for example, when you already have a tool that’s protecting your networks) or when performing certain administrative tasks (which can’t be done with the firewall on) but, in most cases, it is recommended to keep your firewall enabled at all times.

Here’s why.

Public Networks Protection

When you disable the firewall, all data packets that enter and exit the network do so without any restrictions.

This includes expected traffic, but also malicious data. 

If malware makes its way through, it will not only affect your computer but will spread to any other device on the network that’s attached to the LAN

Troubleshoot Feature

Windows Firewall comes with a feature that’s called Windows Firewall Troubleshooter

This tool automatically detects and fixes firewall-related problems, including errors that stop your firewall from starting, prevent you from accessing shared files and printers and Remote Assistance, and when BFE service is missing.

Rules Creation

Windows Firewall operates on a pre-written set of optimized rules to protect users from potential network-related threats at all times.

But, the app is flexible – if it’s not working the way you want it, you can tweak it to your preference. 

You can create inbound and outbound rules from scratch, create and change connection security rules, and import and export existing policies.

Allowing Harmful Apps Through

Windows Firewall allows apps to go through the firewall only if they comply with the set rules. 

If needed, users can make exceptions and they don’t even need to change the rules to do that. You can choose what apps can go through the firewall by checking and unchecking a box in the Windows Security app.

When the Windows Firewall is turned off, it’s fair game for any app– regardless of whether you trust it or not.

Restoring to Default Settings

The best part about Windows Firewall is that it allows users to restore the default settings, regardless of the mistakes they made when playing around with the firewall rules.

Resorting to this option can save you a lot of trouble if you’re experiencing connectivity issues, your firewall isn’t working properly, or you’ve deleted an important rule.

What Happens If You Disable Windows Defender Firewall?

Disabling the Windows Firewall allows all the data packets to enter your network unrestricted, which leaves it vulnerable to all kinds of cyber attacks.

If you turn your Windows Firewall off, it’s important to have a similar tool in place. For example, you should consider getting a good antivirus software tool and subscribing to some of the top VPNs to protect yourself from malware and being tracked.

How to Enable Windows Firewall

If for any reason you’ve disabled Windows Firewall and you want to turn it back on, here’s how to do it:

Windows Security App

Turn on Windows Firewall through the Windows Security app by doing the following:

  1. Click the Start button, go to Settings, and open the Windows Security app.
  2. Click on Firewall and Network Protection and select one (or each) of the networks (Domain, Private, or Public) and toggle the switch to Turn On the Windows Defender Firewall.

Control Panel

To enable the firewall via the Control Panel:

  1. From the Start Menu, search for “Control Panel” and open the app.
  2. Select System and Security and click on Windows Defender Firewall.
  3. Select Turn Windows Defender Firewall On.
  4. Check the Turn on Windows Firewall boxes and click OK to confirm the changes.

Command-Line

You can enable Windows Firewall via the Command Prompt by following these steps:

  1. Run Command Prompt as administrator. (Right-click on the app and click on Run as administrator.)
  2. Type the following commands, depending on which firewall profile you want to enable, and click Enter:
netsh advfirewall set currentprofile state on Enable the firewall for the current network profile.
netsh advfirewall set allprofiles state on Enable the firewall for all network profiles.
netsh advfirewall set domainprofile state on Enable the firewall for the domain network profile.
netsh advfirewall set privateprofile state on Enable the firewall for the private network profile.
netsh advfirewall set public profile state on Enable the firewall for the public network profile.
  •  

PowerShell

To enable Windows Firewall with PowerShell:

  1. Run PowerShell as administrator. ((Right-click on the app and click on Run as administrator.)
  2. Type the following command to turn on the firewall for all network profiles and click Enter.
Set - NetFirewallProfile - Profile Domain, Public, Private - Enabled True

If you want to enable the firewall for a specific network profile simply remove the other two profiles from the command

Here is an example:

Set - NetFirewallProfile - Profile Domain - Enabled True

Bottom Line

The Windows Firewall is a great tool that comes with plenty of useful features. There are many reasons why you should not disable Windows Firewall – the most important one being that it will leave your computer and every other device in the network vulnerable to malware and other types of attacks.

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Georgi Karaivanov

Georgi Karaivanov

My fascination with technology began from quite an early age thanks to computers and video games. Nowadays, I love anything related to music production and astronomy. Coincidentally (or is it?), both of those have a great deal to do with tech. Honestly, most of the stuff that can be accomplished with modern electronics kind of seems like magic to me. This is why I feel this strong need to constantly learn more about it and talk about it, almost to the detriment of others.

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