One of the major changes in Windows XP Service Pack 2 was the introduction of a new security feature called Windows Firewall that manages the Internet connections on your computer and either allows or blocks access to different servers. If properly configured, Windows Firewall becomes an extremely powerful security guard that prevents hackers from accessing your computer and infecting it with malware or viruses.
When to Reset Windows Firewall?
By default, an average user does not need to manage Windows Firewall thus there is no need to reset Windows Firewall Settings to default. Still, many users like to take control of their privacy and security. They create new Windows Firewall rules and try to fine-tune their network connection to ensure the best security possible. That is totally fine and normal if you know what you are doing. But if you go too far with managing Windows Firewall rules, things can get really-really messy and cause significant connectivity issues on your computer. For example, the programs on your computer can lose access to the Internet, Windows itself can stop getting updates, etc. That leads to the need to reset Windows Firewall in Windows 10 and apply the default Firewall settings.
Besides managing privacy and maintaining overall control over a computer, users may end up with broken apps that conflict with existing Windows Firewall rules (especially if you manually configure Windows Firewall.) In such a case, resetting Windows Firewall to default settings is one of the best ways to troubleshoot a problem.
Luckily for all of us, it is quite easy to reset Windows Firewall or delete all Windows Firewall rules in Windows 10. You can quickly reset Windows Firewall using a command prompt, PowerShell, or Control Panel. In this article, we prepared a complete guide on how to reset Windows Firewall in Windows 10. Although in this article we talk about Windows 10 only (since it is the most popular and the most recent Windows), you can use the same logic in our guide to delete Windows Firewall rules in Windows 8.1 or Windows 7.
Important. In this article, we discuss Windows Firewall, which comes with every Windows installation by default. Also, it is a part of Windows Defender–a default Windows antivirus. Many third-party antivirus apps come with their own firewall apps. If you use third-party antivirus and firewall, you need to refer to a user manual to learn how to disable a firewall in the app you use.
Troubleshooting Windows Firewall
Before you proceed to reset Windows Firewall, we recommend troubleshooting it using a built-in Windows Firewall troubleshooter.
- Press Win + I to launch Windows Settings.
- Go to Update and Security – Troubleshoot.
- Click Additional Troubleshooters.
- Select Incoming Connection.
- Hit the Run Troubleshooter button.
- Follow the on-screen instruction.
If a built-in troubleshooter had no luck fixing your Windows Firewall settings, proceed to the next section to learn how to reset Windows Firewall.
Resetting Windows Firewall in Windows 10 – Backup the Rules Before you Go
First, to reset Windows Firewall in Windows 10, you need an Administrator account. You cannot reset Windows Firewall without Administrator approval. If you have a regular profile, Windows will ask you to enter the Administrator password. Remember, you cannot delete Windows Firewall rules without an Administrator account.
Before you reset Windows Firewall in Windows 10, backup all the current rules just in case you ever need to restore them. Backing up Windows Firewall rules implies saving them to a separate file and keep in for later use.
You can quickly backup Firewall settings in Windows 10 using the special command. Launch Command Prompt in elevated mode (Run as Administrator) using the search or any preferred method and paste a dedicated command.
- Press Win + S to launch Window Search and enter cmd.
- Windows Search will show you a command prompt with several commands to the right.
- Press Run as Administrator.
- Next, paste the following command:
netsh advfirewall export "C:\Archive\firewall-config.wfw"
- Press Enter to execute the command.
After you execute the command, Windows will put the backup file in the C:\Archive folder. Copy the file from there and store it whenever it is convenient for you.
If you do not like using Command Prompt to manage Windows Firewall Settings, you can use Windows Control Panel.
- Launch the Windows Security app using the search or the icon in the notification area. You can also launch the Windows Security app from the list of all apps in the Start menu.
- Go Firewall & network protection. Locate the Advanced settings link and click it. That launches the Windows Defender Firewall with Advanced Security window.
- What you need to backup Windows Firewall settings is in the right sidebar of the window. Click Export Policy and specify where to store your backup file.
That is it. Your Windows Firewall settings are now securely stored in a separate file. Now you can proceed and reset Windows Firewall settings to default.
Reset Windows 10 Firewall – Control Panel
The easiest way to reset Windows 10 firewall rules to default is the classic Control Panel and Windows Firewall section. Although we use Windows 10 as a reference in this article (after all, it is the most popular desktop operating system in the world,) this part also applies to Windows 8.1, Windows 8, and Windows 7.
- To open the Windows Firewall settings, press Win + R and execute the firewall.cpl command.
- In the left sidebar, locate the Restore Defaults link and click it.
- In the new window, click the Restore Defaults button.
- Confirm resetting Windows Firewall settings by clicking Yes.
That action will reset all Windows Firewall settings, which were made after installing Windows, including rules and exceptions for all ports and programs. It is worth mentioning that Windows will maintain standard network access rules in the list of Windows Firewall settings. Now you can add new Windows Firewall rules and configure it up to your preferences or simply leave everything as is.
How to Reset Windows Firewall in Windows 10 – Windows Security
There is another way to reset the Firewall in Windows 10. It can save you a few clicks and help avoid navigating the old Control Panel. All you need to do is to launch the Windows Security app and go to the Firewall and network protection section.
Hit Restore firewall to default and confirm your decision in the next window.
Resetting Windows Firewall settings to default using Command Prompt or PowerShell
Just like with almost any Windows setting, you can reset Windows Firewall using a simple command in Command Prompt or Windows PowerShell.
In case you use Windows Command Prompt (do not forget to launch it with Administrator access), use the following command:
netsh advfirewall reset
If you prefer Windows PowerShell or Windows Terminal, use this command:
(New-Object -ComObject HNetCfg.FwPolicy2).RestoreLocalFirewallDefaults()
How Do I Reset Windows Firewall in Windows 7?
This part of the guide is specific for Windows 7 or Windows 8 users but also applies to Windows 10.
Our guide is not complete if we do not mention all the ways to reset Windows Firewall settings. It is not the quickest nor easiest, but also does the job.
- Hit Win + R on your keyboard and enter the wf.msc command.
- In the right-side pane, click Restore Default Policy and confirm the restoration.
Done, now your Firewall settings are reset to default.
Keep in mind that after you reset your Windows Firewall settings some applications may stop working or ask you to grant the access again. You need to either create a new rule for each program or allow Internet access next time you launch an app. Some programs may require complete reinstallation to properly configure firewall access.