Can't Turn On Windows Defender Firewall

Can't Turn On Windows Defender Firewall. How To Fix It?

Each Windows operating system, starting from Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, has a built-in Windows Firewall (now known as Windows Defender Firewall). Windows Firewall is a security tool created by Microsoft that runs in the background and keeps the operating system safe from various network threats. The application filters network data transmissions, blocks programs that are initiating harmful communications, and prevents unauthorized users from gaining access to your computer through the internet or other network.

Windows Firewall is fine for basic use, since it protects against various threats and allows you to configure settings depending on how you use your computer. This includes blocking a program in Windows Firewall. Many programs have elements that require an internet connection to download updates, allow online purchases, and so on. These can upload data without your knowledge. Windows Firewall is useful in this respect, since it allows you to take control over how and when programs are able connect to the internet, thus providing more security for your computer.

Windows Firewall is an important part of Microsoft Windows operating systems. Without it, your computer could be in potential danger each time you connect to the internet or any other network. You are advised to have it enabled continually, however, some users have reported that they have problems enabling the program. You should resolve this issue as soon as possible to stay protected online. Fortunately, there are ways to fix this problem, as illustrated in this guide. You might need to restart the Windows Firewall service, edit Windows Registry, reset Windows Firewall settings, run troubleshooters, and take other measures. Below you will find detailed descriptions with screenshots that will demonstrate how to address the issues and enable Windows Firewall.

cant turn on windows defender firewall

Table of Contents:

Run Windows Troubleshooter

Firstly, we recommend that you run a number of troubleshooters: a built-in Windows troubleshooter and a downloadable Microsoft easy fix troubleshooter. The Microsoft easy fix tool helps to diagnose and resolve problems with Microsoft products (in this case, Windows Defender Firewall) or issues with third-party software that affects Microsoft products. These are usually the .msi or .diagcab packages. In this case, you will need to use the .diagcab package. Click this link and download the troubleshooter, open it and click "Advanced". Click the "Run as administrator" option. The troubleshooter will be relaunched. Make sure that the "Apply repairs automatically" checkbox is ticked and click "Next".

run Windows troubleshooter step 1

If the Microsoft easy fix tool does fix the problem with Windows Defender Firewall, run the built-in troubleshooter, which you can find by typing "troubleshoot" in Settings and clicking the "Troubleshoot" result.

run Windows troubleshooter step 2

Find the "Incoming Connections" troubleshooter under "Find and fix other problems", select it and click the "Run the troubleshooter" button.

run Windows troubleshooter step 3

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Check Windows Defender Firewall Service's Properties

Windows Services (also know as services.msc) is used to modify how Windows services (and others) run on your system. These services are responsible for running available programs and managing many system settings and resources. You can modify a service's settings for security, troubleshooting, and performance-related reasons. The Windows Defender Firewall service helps to protect your computer by preventing unauthorized users from gaining access to the system through the internet or other network. To restart this service, press Windows (Win) key + R, or simply right-click the Start button and select "Run" from the contextual menu. In the Run dialog box, type "services.msc" and press Enter, or click "OK".

check Windows defender firewall service properties step 1

You will see a list of services. Scroll down to find the "Windows Defender Firewall" service. Right-click it and select "Properties" from the contextual menu.

check Windows defender firewall service properties step 2

Make sure that the "Startup type" is set to "Automatic" and the service status is "Running".

check Windows defender firewall service properties step 3

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Edit Windows Registry

Windows Registry, usually referred to as just 'the registry', is a collection of databases of configuration settings in Microsoft Windows operating systems. It is used to store much of the information and settings for software programs, hardware devices, user preferences, operating system configurations, and much more. Many of the options exposed in the registry are not accessible elsewhere in Windows. Please note that incorrectly changing the Windows Registry may damage your operating system irreversibly. To open Registry Editor, first open the Run dialog box. Press the Windows key + R or right-click Start and select "Run" and type "regedit". Press Enter or click "OK".

edit windows registry step 1

Follow this path "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services", find the "BFE" key under Services, right-click it and then click "Permissions...".

edit windows registry step 2

In the Permissions for BFE window, find and click the "Add..." button.

edit windows registry step 3

Type "Everyone" and click "OK".

edit windows registry step 4

Now select "Everyone" under "Group or user names" and tick the "Allow" checkbox near the "Full control" option. Click "Apply" and close the Registry Editor. Restart your computer and check if you still have problems when trying to turn on Windows Defender Firewall.

edit windows registry step 5

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Enable Windows Defender Firewall Using Command Prompt

Command Prompt is the input field in a text-based user interface screen, a command line interpreter application available in most Windows operating systems. It is used to execute entered commands. Most of these commands are used to automate tasks through scripts and batch files, perform advanced administrative functions, troubleshoot and solve certain types of Windows issues. To use Command Prompt, you must enter a valid command together with any optional parameters. It then executes the command as entered and runs whatever task or function it is designed to perform in Windows. In this method, we demonstrate how to control Windows Firewall behaviour by executing a number of "netsh advfirewall" commands to enable Windows Defender Firewall. To launch elevated Command Prompt (to run it as administrator), type "command prompt" in Search and right-click the "Command Prompt" result. Then select the "Run as administrator" option from the contextual menu.

enable windows defender firewall using command prompt step 1

Now type the "advfirewall set currentprofile state on" command and press Enter on your keyboard to execute it. You should then see the "Ok." line.

enable windows defender firewall using command prompt step 2

Type the "advfirewall set currentprofile firewall policy blockinboundalways,allowoutbound" command. Execute it and restart your computer. Check if the problem with Windows Defender Firewall persists.

enable windows defender firewall using command prompt step 3

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Restore Firewalls To Default

In this method, we demonstrate how to restore firewalls to default settings. Simply type "firewall" in Search and click the "Firewall & network protection" result.

restore firewalls to default step 1

Now click the "Restore firewalls to default" option and see if this solves the Windows Defender Firewall problem.

restore firewalls to default step 2

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Uninstall Recently Installed Updates

Most updates provided by Windows Update are usually security-related. In some cases, these updates can cause more problems than solutions. It is possible that certain security updates are preventing Windows Defender Firewall from turning on. If this case, uninstall the latest Windows 10 updates from the Windows operating system. Open the Run dialog box by pressing Windows key + R and type the "control update" command. Press Enter.

uninstall recently installed updates step 1

In the Update & Security menu, ensure that you are in the "Windows Update" section on the left pane, and then click the "View update history" option.

uninstall recently installed updates step 2

Now click the "Uninstall updates option".

uninstall recently installed updates step 3

You will see a list of installed updates. Find the latest installed security-related update [in our example it is the "Security Update for Microsoft Windows (KB4284835)"]. Select it and click the "Uninstall" button. Restart your computer and check if you are now able to turn on Windows Defender Firewall.

uninstall recently installed updates step 4

We hope that one of these methods fixed the problem and enabled Windows Defender Firewall. If none of the methods described above worked, you could try to install third-party antivirus software that contains a built-in firewall. If you know of other solutions to this problem, not mentioned in our guide, please share them with us by leaving a comment in the section below.

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Video Showing How To Fix Windows Firewall (if it is not turning on):

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