How to Remove a Firewall

by Contributor

Windows firewall is installed with your operation system to protect your computer from being attacked and used without your permission or infected with one of the many viruses constantly being spread around the web. A firewall works by blocking executable files or programs from being downloaded and run on your machine and by blocking outsiders from connecting to your computer without your knowledge. Some software manufacturers require that you temporarily remove your computer’s firewall before you install their product, because even though you purchased this software from a trusted source, using a safe method, Windows Firewall considers it a threat. You can safely remove a firewall and then reinstate it later, or simply tell it which sites, programs and manufacturers that you deem to be safe.

Open the control panel and select Windows Firewall. On the General tab you will see that there are only two choices, namely On (Recommended) and Off (Not Recommended). By clicking in the Off (Not Recommended) you can remove the firewall completely. This may be a short-term solution to a new software program installation problem, but there are other ways to use a firewall and still allow some incoming programs to run. Examples of an incoming connection that you do want are security software updates (like McAfee or any ISP security program) that run automatically each day to keep your Internet security protocols current. Your local area network at the office may also require some control over your desktop for maintenance or troubleshooting purposes.

You can select programs and services that you do want to run from a list on the Exceptions Tab in the Windows Firewall window. Here you can add, edit or delete programs on the exceptions list. By clicking in the box next to a specific program or service you are allowing access to your computer by these programs. There are security risks when you allow exceptions in Windows Firewall, but again some programs won’t work without this access. And this method is far better than removing a firewall completely. To read more about these security risks click the link at the bottom of the window that reads: What are the risks of allowing exceptions?

To revert to the Windows Firewall default settings go to the Advanced Tab and click Restore Defaults. This is a quick way to protect your computer again after you remove a firewall. But if you do this some of the programs you want to use may not work properly. You may have to add and select them as exceptions before they will work again.

Do some research or get some trusted professional advice before changing any of the settings in Windows Firewall if you are unsure. If you remove the firewall on your computer you could end up with problems that can cost you lots of time and money to correct.


  • close The examples shown here may look different on your computer depending upon the version of your Windows operating system. Refer to your users manual, the help files or Microsoft technical support for more information.