Firewall & network protection in Windows Security lets you view the status of Microsoft Defender Firewall and see what networks your device is connected to. You can turn Microsoft Defender Firewall on or off and access advanced Microsoft Defender Firewall options for the following network types:

  • Domain (workplace) networks

  • Private (discoverable) networks

  • Public (non-discoverable) networks

Firewall & network protection in Windows Security  

If you want to change a setting select the network type you want to change it on.

You can specify that a particular network your device connects to is "private" or "public". The key difference is whether other devices on the same network are allowed to see, and maybe connect to, your device.

Your home network might be an example of a private network - in theory the only devices on that network are your devices, and devices owned by your family. So you might be fine with those other devices being able to see yours. We call that "discoverable" because all the devices on that network are allowed to "discover" each other.

The Wi-Fi at your local coffee shop, however, is a public network. Most of the other devices connected to it belong to strangers and you'd probably prefer they not be able to see, connect to, or "discover" your device.

Network settings

When you select one of the three network types you'll get the settings page for it. Here Windows Security will tell you which, if any, networks of that type you're currently connected to. Usually your computer will only be connected to one network at a time.

You'll also find a simple slider for turning the firewall on, or off, for that type of network.

Important: Turning the firewall off may increase the risk to your device or data. We recommend leaving it on unless you absolutely need to turn it off.

Under the Incoming connections section you'll find a single checkbox for Blocks all incoming connections, including those in the list of allowed apps. Checking this box tells the Microsoft Defender Firewall to ignore the allowed apps list and block everything. Turning this on increases your security, but may cause some apps to stop working.

Also on the Firewall & network protection page:

  • Allow an app through firewall - If the firewall is blocking an app you really need, you can add an exception for that app, or open a specific port. Learn more about that process (and why you might not want to) at Risks of allowing apps through Microsoft Defender Firewall.

  • Network and Internet troubleshooter - If you're having general network connectivity issues you can use this troubleshooter to try and automatically diagnose and fix them.

  • Firewall notification settings - Want more notifications when your firewall blocks something? Fewer? Here's where you can configure that.

  • Advanced settings - If you're knowledgeable about firewall settings this will open the classic Windows Defender Firewall tool which lets you create inbound or outbound rules, connection security rules, and see monitoring logs for the firewall. Most users won't want to dig into it that deeply; adding, changing, or deleting rules incorrectly can cause your system to be more vulnerable or can cause some apps not to work.

  • Restore firewalls to default - If someone, or something, has made changes to your Windows Firewall settings that is causing things not to work properly you're just two clicks away from resetting the settings back to the way they were when you first got the computer. If your organization has applied any policies to configure the firewall those will be reapplied.

See also

Automatically diagnose and fix problems with Windows Firewall

Be safer over wireless connections

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