How to Disable the Windows Firewall When the Options Are Grayed Out

By Robert Sloan

There are many situations in which a user may need to disable the Windows Firewall application. However, a common problem is the disabling of the ability to turn the firewall off from the graphical application. Users will see that any option available is grayed out, and nothing can be chosen. However, the firewall can be disabled through another route.

Things You'll Need

  • Backup Media, such as CD, DVD or flash drive

Step 1

Attach the backup media to the computer. This will be used to save the registry on a separate media from the computer hard drive. This will be used in the event of an unrecoverable error.

Step 2

Launch the regedit application. This application can be launched by clicking on the \"Start\" button in Windows, and typing \"regedit\" into the \"Run\" box.

Step 3

Export the registry. This can be done by clicking on the \"File\" menu option of regedit, then clicking on the \"Export\" option. A dialog box will open requesting the location for saving the registry. Choose the backup media connected to the computer in Step 1.

Step 4

Navigate to the \"WindowsFirewall\" branch in the registry by using the menu branch on the left side of the windows. Locate Windows Firewall by following this path: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \\ SOFTWARE \\ Policies \\ Microsoft \\ WindowsFirewall.

Step 5

Delete the \"WindowsFirewall\" branch by right-clicking on the \"WindowsFirewall\" branch and choosing the option to delete. Answer the confirmation to complete the deletion.

Step 6

Restart Windows. Click on the \"Start\" button in the lower left corner of the screen and choose the option to restart the computer.

Step 7

Open \"Control Panel\" by clicking on the \"Start\" button and then choosing \"Control Panel\" on the right side of the menu.

Step 8

Open the Windows Firewall application by double-clicking on the icon for Windows Firewall in Control Panel. Applications are listed in alphabetical order, and Windows Firewall usually is on the last row.

Step 9

Disable the Windows Firewall. The options will no longer be grayed out, allowing the firewall to be turned off by selecting the radio button next to the red shield.

Step 10

Click \"OK\" to save the settings.

Tips & Warnings

  • The registry can be saved to any type of storage media, including CD, DVD, USB flash drive or a separate hard drive.
  • Typically the firewall options are grayed out because they are being controlled by a group policy setting in a domain. Be certain the network administrator does not have a reason for having these options blocked prior to performing this procedure. If a group policy is in effect, it may overwrite this procedure every time a user logs in to the domain.