Windows Firewall, known as Windows Defender Firewall on Windows 10, is the built-in software firewall on Microsoft Windows operating systems. While a standard hardware firewall works on a network, Windows Firewall regulates all inbound and outbound traffic on individual computers.

Windows Firewall was first introduced as Internet Connection Firewall as a limited feature of Windows XP in 2001. The feature was disabled by default. However, malware such as the Blaster worm and the Sasser worm became prevalent from 2003 to 2004 on Windows PCs. Customers and experts criticized Microsoft due to its lack of action against these threats. Hence, the software company decided to enhance Internet Connection Firewall and rebrand it as Windows Firewall.

Microsoft left it switched on by default starting with Windows XP SP2. Since then, Windows Firewall has been an integrated feature in succeeding Windows OS versions such as Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10. For the enterprise segment, Windows Firewall was first seen on Windows Server 2003, followed by Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2016, and Windows Server 2019.

A major improvement over its previous iterations, Windows Firewall’s latest version silently runs in the background. It doesn’t come with too many popups so users won’t get annoyed while it’s running. Customizable, you can pick a particular security level and allow or deny network access to the apps separately.


How Do I Check My Windows Firewall Settings?

window system preference

Windows Firewall control panel allows you to enable/disable it and check its status on Windows 10.

To check the settings of the Windows Firewall:

  • Go to Control Panel
  • Click System and Security
  • For a faster result, you may also type ‘Windows Defender Firewall’ on the search box after clicking the Start button, then press enter
  • On the left side of the Windows Defender Firewall window, click to open the option ‘Turn Windows Defender Firewall on or off
  • You can also change advanced firewall settings like notifications on this window.

Apart from allowing you to turn off Windows Firewall and check Windows 10 firewall settings, Control Panel also enables you to do other things. Apps or programs installed on your computer can connect to the Internet and download plugins and updates automatically. However, these silent actions can become a vehicle for malware to install on your PC.

To prevent this scenario, you might be wondering how to block a program through firewall on Windows 10, or how to allow a program through firewall on Windows 10. We will talk more about these subjects in a separate article.


Is Windows Firewall Good Enough?

Windows Firewall works well as a software firewall but has the same limitations as a standalone firewall solution. While it can regulate inbound and outbound traffic, it cannot fully stop viruses and other types of malware like worms, trojan horses, spyware, and adware.

Installing an Internet security suite with a built-in antimalware feature remains crucial in spite of the effectiveness of Windows Firewall as a firewall solution.

If you are looking for the best Internet security suite with a built-in firewall, antimalware, and other relevant features, check out our best software firewall review & buyers guide.