Windows Server - Effects of Stopping or Disabling the Windows Firewall Service in Windows Server 2008 and Above

Windows Server - Effects of Stopping or Disabling the Windows Firewall Service in Windows Server 2008 and Above

This article provides information on issues that can arise if the Windows Firewall service is stopped or disabled in Windows Server 2008, 2008 R2, or 2012.

In Windows Server 2003, stopping and/or disabling the Windows Firewall service is a common troubleshooting step when dealing with network-related issues. In fact, Microsoft suggests disabling the service permanently on a Windows Server 2003 domain controller (DC) because of the changes that must be made on the DC in order for Active Directory to function properly.

In Windows Server 2008 and later versions, however, the Windows Firewall service has been completely rewritten and is an integral part of the operating system's network stack. Microsoft no longer recommends stopping or disabling the service under any circumstances; in fact, this is now an unsupported configuration. Stopping or disabling the service will cause a number of network-related problems, including the following:

  • The server will not respond to pings.
  • You will be unable to connect to the server via Remote Desktop. If the service is stopped within in RDP session, the session will disconnect and will fail to reconnect.
  • You will be unable to connect to shares on the server, and "Network path not found" will be the resulting error.
  • If the server is a DNS server, it will not respond to queries.
  • If the server is a DC, Active Directory replication with other DCs will fail.
  • If the server is a DHCP server, DHCP clients on the network will not be able to lease or renew IP addresses.

In short, it will appear to other machines as though the server has been disconnected from the network, although network operations initiated from that server will succeed for the most part: it will be able to ping other machines, connect to remote shares, and browse the internet, for example.

In some situations, it is necessary to turn off the Windows Firewall (for example, if a third-party firewall has been installed and is causing conflicts), but this should not be done by stopping or disabling the service. For instructions on properly turning off the Windows Firewall, see How to Properly Turn Off the Windows Firewall in Windows Server 2008 and Above.

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Article ID: SLN156677

Last Date Modified: 04/09/2017 08:10 AM

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