Hi, Leo. I was wondering if I should download a firewall. My Windows
firewall is disabled, turned off, and it won’t let me turn it back on or use
the recommended settings. I was thinking about downloading a firewall since
this is important. Do you think it will harm my computer to download one? I
know you’re not supposed to have more than one firewall running – as they can
conflict with each other and cause the computer harm and to crash. But since
it’s disabled and won’t turn back on, I didn’t figure it would hurt since it
wouldn’t be the same as using one anyway, because the other is permanently
disabled. What do you think?
In this excerpt from
Answercast #51, I look at a system that has disabled the Windows firewall.
This is a symptom of malware.
Become a Patron of Ask Leo! and go ad-free!
I think you’ve got a bigger problem.
I think the solution here is definitely not to install another firewall.
Sure, you can, it may not harm anything. My typical recommendation, instead, is
just to rely on the firewall that your router provides – but that’s neither
here nor there.
My real concern here is the fact that you can’t turn the Windows firewall
on. That’s bad. That is something that needs to get fixed.
Symptom of malware
The reason I say that is because this is one of the symptoms of malware.
Malware will often go through extra steps to disable things, like your
firewall, and make it impossible to turn on. They will often also disable your
anti-malware software and make it impossible to get updates for that.
So, my very strong recommendation is that, for the the moment, you forget
this additional firewall issue and instead – focus on clearing what is likely
to be some kind of malware infection on your machine.
Check for viruses
Run up to date anti-virus and anti-spyware scans.
Consider running the free tool from Malwarebytes.org and see if you can’t
clear up whatever is preventing the firewall from being able to be turned
Once you fix that, well, then the whole issue becomes kind of moot. You turn
on the firewall, the Windows firewall and you’re good to go.
And like I said, even then if you’re behind a router, in my opinion, you’re
actually safe enough leaving the firewall turned off. But the fact that you
can’t turn it on, well, that is a problem and that’s a problem I think that
needs to be addressed.
Next from Answercast 51 – Can’t we just charge spammers per email they send?