FIX: Unable to activate Windows Defender Firewall

by Ivan Jenic
Ivan Jenic
Ivan Jenic
Troubleshooting Expert
Passionate about all elements related to Windows and combined with his innate curiosity, Ivan has delved deep into understanding this operating system, with a specialization in drivers and... read more
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  • It's a serious problem if you can't activate Windows Firewall, especially when you don't have an antivirus installed.
  • Try to restart the corresponding service by accessing the dedicated tool from your OS.
  • Editing the registry key associated with this app can also get the job done in no time.
  • You should also consider getting yourself a third-party antivirus that will provide a firewall.
How to fix Unable to activate Windows Defender Firewall

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Users complained that Windows could not start the Windows Defender Firewall service on the local computer.

Since Windows Firewall is a very useful feature, especially if you don’t have any third-party antivirus software installed, this could be a serious problem.

So, we came up with a few solutions, in order to help you to solve the problem with Windows 10 Firewall.

Here are some more error codes and messages you may encounter on the way:

  • Windows could not start the Windows Firewall on local computer – This is one of the most common error messages you may encounter if you’re not able to run Windows Defender Firewall.
  • Windows Firewall error code 13 – Error Code 13 is one of the most common error codes you’ll see if you can’t turn on Windows Defender Firewall.
  • Windows 10 Firewall error 1068 – Another common error code that prevents users from starting Windows Defender Firewall.
  • Windows 10 Firewall error 6801 – Although the error code 6801 is less common, you can encounter this code, as well.

What can I do if I can’t turn on Windows Firewall?

  1. Restart the Firewall service
  2. Perform a Registry tweak
  3. Run the dedicated downloadable troubleshooter
  4. Reset the Firewall settings
  5. Use Command Prompt to forcibly reset Windows Firewall
  6. Uninstall recent security-related updates
  7. Use third-party antivirus

1. Restart the Firewall service

  1. Go to Search, type services.msc, and open Services.
  2. Look for Windows Defender Firewall.
  3. Right-click on it and choose Restart.Windows Firewall error code
  4. Wait until the process is finished.
  5. Now, right-click on Windows Firewall, and go to Properties.
  6. Make sure that the Startup type is set to Automatic.

If the Windows Firewall is not turning on, the first thing we’re going to try is to restart the Firewall service.

Probably, something disrupted the service, but restarting Windows Firewall will likely bring it back to normal.

To restart the Windows Firewall service, perform the previous steps. If restarting the Firewall service didn’t get the job done, we have a couple of more solutions.

2. Perform a Registry tweak

  1. Go to Search, type regedit, and open the Registry Editor.
  2. Up next, go to the following path: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SYSTEM/CurrentControlSet/Services/BFE
  3. Right-click on BFE, and choose Permissions.
  4. Click on Add.
  5. Type Everyone and click OK.
  6. Now, click on Everyone, and check Full Control, under Permissions for Everyone. Then click Apply and OK.
  7. Restart your computer.

Microsoft is aware that users occasionally experience problems with Windows Firewall, so it provided a solution to this problem.

We don’t have any info if this solution helped someone to solve the problem with Windows Firewall in Windows 10.

But it’s an official solution, provided by Microsoft, and not some basic steps from famous Engineers from Microsoft Community forums.

If you can’t access the Registry Editor, check out this step-by-step guide on how to solve this problem quickly.

3. Run the dedicated downloadable troubleshooter

  1. Download the dedicated Firewall Troubleshooter, from the Microsoft page.
  2. Run the tool and click on Advanced.
  3. Check the Apply repairs automatically box and click Next.
  4. Wait for the procedure to finish and look for changes.

Even though this problem emerged recently for Windows 10 users, it plagued users for years on former Windows iterations, as well.

For that purpose, the folks from Microsoft decided to, in order to avoid in-depth troubleshooting for common users, offer a unified downloadable troubleshooter.

This tool did good work on Vista and Windows 7 so we can expect positive results in Windows 10, too.

4. Reset the Firewall settings

  1. Type Firewall in the Windows Search bar and open Windows Defender Firewall from the list of results.
  2. Click on Restore defaults in the left pane.Windows 10 Firewall error 1068
  3. Click on the Restore defaults button and reboot your PC.

Constant updates that are the common workflow for Windows 10 have a lot of side effects. One of those is, allegedly, forced changes of certain system settings concerning essential built-in programs.

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Windows Firewall certainly falls in that category. In order to resolve possible issues with an alternative configuration imposed by Windows Update, you should reset Firewall settings.

Follow these instructions above to reset Windows Firewall settings and address the issue at hand.

If you get an error while managing the Windows Firewall settings, check out this expert guide to fix it like a pro.

5. Use Command Prompt to forcibly reset Windows Firewall

  1. Press Windows key + S to open the Search bar.
  2. Type cmd and click on Run as administrator to open Command Prompt as an administrator.
  3. In the command line, type the following command and press Enter: netsh firewall set opmode mode=ENABLE exceptions=enable
  4. Close Command Prompt and restart your PC.

Alternatively, you can use the elevated Command Prompt to reset Windows Firewall to default values. It seems like a drag, but it’s rather simple and requires minimal effort.

This is similar to a previous solution, but it will cost you nothing to give it a try if the standard way isn’t giving favorable results.

6. Uninstall recent security-related updates

  1. Press Windows key + I to open the Settings app.
  2. Select Update & security.updates and security
  3. Click on View installed update history.
  4. Choose to Uninstall updates.Windows could not start the Windows Firewall on local computer
  5. Uninstall all recent updates and restart your PC.

Most of the Windows 10 updates are security-oriented patches. Many of those are covering Windows Defender and Windows Firewall.

And we’re well aware that a lot of those patches bring more issues than benefits. That could, consequently, mean that one of the recent updates negatively affected Firewall, rendering it unusable.

Luckily, even though you’ll have a hard time disabling Windows Updates for good, you can at least uninstall most of them and resolve issues that way.

Follow the steps above to uninstall the recent updates and fix possible issues they inflicted on Windows Firewall.

7. Use third-party antivirus

And finally, one solution we picked up from Community forums, but it sounds reasonable.

If your Windows 10 Firewall simply doesn’t work, use third-party antivirus software, and your computer will automatically switch to antivirus’ own firewall.

However, we strongly recommend you the solution below as the world’s best antivirus on the market right now. It has a lot of useful features and protection tools.

It also optimizes your system and customary takes care of your hardware. You will surely find a great plan for you and be sure that it will worth every penny.

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That would be all, we hope this article helped you to solve the problem with Firewall in Windows 10 (or convinced you to switch to third-party software).

If you’re not yet sure about the choice above, you can also take a look at our unlimited license validity antiviruses list and choose the proper tool from there.

Should you have any comments or questions, just reach for the comment section below and we’re going to check them right away.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Yes, it is! Windows Defender can protect your computer from virus and malware but it also includes a configurable firewall to your needs. If it’s not working, read our awesome guide to fix Windows Defender problems.

  • You can turn on Windows Defender Firewall by accessing its Customize Settings menu. If you can’t activate it, here’s an expert guide on how to fix Windows Firewall.

  • Switch the setting to OFF in Windows Defender Firewall from Windows Security. But don’t leave your PC unprotected, get a product from our list with the best antiviruses for Windows 10.

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