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Help! How to Turn on Your Windows Firewall

written by: •edited by: Tricia Goss•updated: 1/10/2010

Are you unable to turn on Windows firewall? Find out how to access the Windows Firewall in this simple guide.

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    What is the Windows Firewall?

    A firewall is basically software which filters incoming content from the Internet and outgoing requests from programs on your machine to connect to other locations. The idea is that it can help to prevent any malicious software (malware) from accessing your computer. This can mean viruses, spyware or any other undesirable content.

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    Third Party Firewall

    Many people have separate firewall programs installed such as Zone Alarm in which case you do not need to turn on your Windows firewall. The Windows firewall is included as part of your Windows install and there is no cost associated with using it so if you don’t have another firewall program running on your computer you should definitely activate it.

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    Turn on Windows Firewall in Windows XP

    Windows XP Security Center The Windows Firewall is on by default if you have Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 or above. If you want to check if the firewall is already on then simply click:

    • Start – Control Panel – Security Center

    The Security Center will display your status and the top entry is Firewall. If it says On in green then no further action is required. If it says Off or Check Status then you may need to take a closer look and activate your firewall. In order to reactivate your Windows firewall you need to click:

    • Recommendations - Enable Now - Close - Ok
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    Turn on Windows Firewall in Windows Vista

    If you find you are unable to turn on Windows firewall in Vista then you need to follow a different procedure. You can find the firewall by clicking:

    • Start - Control Panel – Security – Windows Firewall

    The pop up will show you at a glance whether the firewall is on or not. If it is not then you can click the Turn Windows Firewall On or Off option on the left hand side.

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    Turn on Windows Firewall in Windows 7

    The process for turning on or off the Windows firewall in Windows 7 is very similar to the process for Windows Vista. Start by clicking:

    • Start - Control Panel – Windows Firewall

    The pop up will show you at a glance whether the firewall is on or not. If it is not then you can click the Turn On Windows Firewall option on the left hand side.

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    And Finally

    Remember you should not have multiple firewalls running at once so if you have a third-party firewall already in operation then you do not need to activate the Windows firewall. It is also worth remembering that the firewall is only your first line of defence and you should also have anti-virus software and ideally anti-spyware software as well. You can always find Free Antivirus Software and it is worth checking out The Best Antispyware Programs of 2009 for ideas on that front.

    If you follow the steps above and find you are still unable to turn on your Windows firewall and you aren’t running a third party firewall then you may have some kind of infection. If that’s the case you need to seek help to remedy the situation and should perform a full system scan with your anti-virus and anti-spyware programs.