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Firewalls in versions of Windows

Firewalls in versions of Windows

A firewall helps protect your computer from hackers who might try to delete information, crash your computer, or even steal your passwords or credit card numbers. Depending on which operating system you have on your computer, you might already have a firewall and it might already be turned on for you. Never turn off your firewall.

Windows Firewall is included in most Windows operating systems. To turn on or check your firewall settings, click the link that corresponds to the operating system you use.

Note: You do not have to use Windows Firewall—you can install and run any firewall that you choose. Evaluate the features of other firewalls and then decide which firewall best meets your needs. If you choose to install and run another firewall, turn off Windows Firewall.

Windows 8 comes with Windows Firewall, which is turned on by default. Open Windows Firewall by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, tapping Search (or if you're using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the screen, moving the mouse pointer down, and then clicking Search). Enter firewall in the search box, tap or click Settings, and then tap or click Windows Firewall.

In the left pane, tap or click Turn Windows Firewall on or off Security in Internet Explorer 9 - Application Reputation. You might be asked for an admin password or to confirm your choice.

For more information, see Windows Firewall from start to finish.

Windows 7 comes with Windows Firewall, a two-way firewall that is automatically turned on. It's as powerful as the firewall in previous versions of Windows, but now it's more flexible and easier to use. For more information see Windows Firewall.

Windows Vista comes with Windows Firewall, a two-way firewall that is automatically turned on.

Windows XP comes with Internet Connection Firewall, but you must turn it on to use it.

To turn on Internet Connection Firewall:

  1. Point to Control Panel, double-click Network and Internet Connections, and then click Set up or change your home or small office network.

  2. Follow the steps in the Network Setup Wizard to turn on the Internet Connection Firewall.

When you choose a configuration in the wizard that indicates that your computer is connected directly to the Internet, the Internet Connection Firewall is turned on.

Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) come with Windows Firewall automatically turned on.

On April 8, 2014, Microsoft ended support for Windows XP. To stay protected after support ends, you have two options:

Upgrade your current PC

Very few older computers will be able to run Windows 8.1, which is the latest version of Windows. We recommend that you download and run the Windows Upgrade Assistant to check whether your PC meets the system requirements for Windows 8.1, and then follow the steps in the tutorial to upgrade if your PC is compatible. For more detailed information, read the FAQ.

Get a new PC

If your current PC can't run Windows 8.1, it might be time to consider shopping for a new one. Be sure to explore the great selection of new PCs. They're more powerful, lightweight, and stylish than ever before—and the average price for a PC is considerably less than it was 10 years ago.

Find your perfect PC