How to Remove and Reinstall Windows XP Firewall

by Jeff Adam

Problem Summary:

You may need to uninstall and re-install Windows Firewall because of the following reasons:

a) A third-party firewall has been installed and the two firewalls are conflicting with each other.

b) Windows Firewall is corrupt, and to fix the problem, it needs to be removed and reinstalled.

How to uninstall Window Firewall

The uninstalling process consists of:
- Disabling the firewall.
- Stopping the firewall.
- Removing all firewall files and registry entry

How to disable and stop the Firewall:

1) Click on Start menu, and select Control Panel.

2) Select Administrative Tools

3) Double-click Services option

5) In Services console, find and right-click Windows Firewall/Internet Connection Sharing (ICS)

6) Select Properties

7) Select Disabled from the Startup type list

Windows Firewall Service

8) Click Stop

9) Select Apply to confirm changes.

10) Click OK to exit the dialog box. This completes the process of stopping and disabling Windows Firewall Service.

Removing all Windows firewall files and registry entries

On Windows XP desktop, open a “Command Prompt” also referred to as “DOS Prompt”

11) Click on Start, then Run

12) Type cmd, then press Ok

Windows Command Prompt

13) The command prompt window will now.

Command Prompt

14) Type the following command in full in the line indicated by the arrow above (Step – 13), and press Enter on your keyboard.

sc delete SharedAccess

15) Wait for about 10 seconds for the command to complete. The command removes all files and the registry entries of the firewall service.

How to reinstall the Windows Firewall Service

16) Open another command prompt, or use the one already opened in the preceding steps.

17) Type the following command in full in the command prompt, and hit the Enter key on your keyboard.

rundll32 setupapi,InstallHinfSection Ndi-Steelhead 132 netrass.inf

18) Wait for about 10 seconds for the command to complete.

19) Next, to reset Windows Firewall, type the following command in full in the command prompt, and hit the Enter key on your keyboard.

netsh firewall reset

20) Close the Command Prompt, and open the Control Panel as described in step 1.

21) Double-click the Windows Firewall option.

22) Click Yes when prompted by a message asking you if you want to start the Windows Firewall/Internet Connection sharing (ICS) service.

This should fix your Windows Firewall Problem, but if it doesn’t, you may try performing a System Restore, or re-installing the version of Windows Service Pack problem on your computer.

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Bernard October 22, 2011 at 2:53 pm


Want to let you know that your ‘How to Remove and Reinstall Windows XP Firewall’ procedure worked perfectly. It was explicit enough to accomplish the task. Many other websites I tried weren’t detailed enough for me to successfully remove and reinstall my Windows Firewall in Windows XP Pro.

I still have an issue you might be able to help me with.
My Window Security Center displays correctly on for a short period of time after it is started manually using the WSC properties dialog. It’s status is normally Stopped when it should be Started. If I start it, it runs for a little while and then stops. Something is causing it to stop. I first suspected that Windows Firewall was corrupt. Since the ‘un/reinstall’ process didn’t resolve my problem, I need to find what it is that’s closing the ‘Security Essentials’ panel of the Security Center. The Security Essentials panel shows the On/Off status of the Firewall, Automatic Updates, and Virus Protection. I uninstalled third party anti-malware (protection) software and the problem persists. I can’t remember when I was last able to control Windows Firewall and have it respond correctly to settings made in the ‘Manage Security Settings For:’ panel of the Security Center. Settings control for Internet Options and Automatic Updates function normally.

I’ve been fighting this problem for a long time and thought maybe you might have a solution or could make some suggestions since your ‘FixItDesk’ tech tip was able to help me rule out that Windows Firewall is not the root cause of my problem.

Thanks for any help you may be able to provide.


Jeff Adam October 23, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Hi Bernard,

I would suggest re-installing the version of Windows Service Pack on your system.



John July 7, 2012 at 1:16 am

Thanks – unlike all the blather across the internet, this actually worked. A pity MS can’t be as helpful as this.


Jeff Adam July 7, 2012 at 8:57 am

Thank you John for letting others know that it worked for you. That makes the effort of putting this site together encouraging.



Lynnette Spinks July 8, 2012 at 1:29 am

Thanks for an easy fix. I was able to follow your directions and got my firewall back in a matter of minutes. Thanks again!


Jeff Adam July 8, 2012 at 8:17 am

Thank you Lynnette for coming back to leave a comment. It will re-assure others that the fix works.



Dave March 28, 2013 at 11:31 pm

WOW – Perfect fix and so easy. You are my new hero _THANKS


Jeff Adam March 30, 2013 at 9:12 am

Thanks for the feedback. Glad to hear the fix worked for you



Stacy June 14, 2013 at 5:25 pm

I have successfully deleted windows firewall but after I enter the command to reinstall it I receive this message: ERROR IN SETUPAPI.missing entry installhinfsection . What does this mean? My. Bigger problem is DNS server issue which I suspect is due to windows firewall being deleted when I downloaded 3 rd party security


Jeff Adam June 26, 2013 at 7:39 am

Hi Stacy,

The error could be caused by a number of things – a corrupt Windows/Registry file, or malware/virus infection. Have you tried repairing Windows installation, that is if you have your installation CD?



Paul June 23, 2013 at 4:39 pm

Great info… it was the one (after severall others) that finally did it for me.


Jeff Adam June 26, 2013 at 7:30 am

Hi Paul,

Good to hear this resolved your Windows XP Firewall problem, and thanks for the feedback



Dave July 25, 2013 at 4:48 pm

Excellent. Instruction were clear, simple and effective. Thanks!


Jeff Adam July 25, 2013 at 6:03 pm

Thank you for the feedback. Really appreciate it.

All the best


Suraj September 14, 2013 at 11:49 pm

Do you think this fix will work on windows 7 as well?


Jeff Adam October 4, 2013 at 6:46 am

Hi Suraj,

I have not tried this fix on Windows 7, but you may want to check out this online fix on Microsoft website



Mike October 4, 2013 at 6:10 am

Quality instructions Jeff worked a charm.


Jeff Adam October 4, 2013 at 6:47 am

Hi Mike,

Thanks for your feedback. Appreciate it.



Lakhdeep Singh Farwaha November 7, 2013 at 5:08 pm

Many Thanks Jeff

We were not able to ping computers on the network despite the fact that users were logging on and working normally.

Our remote capability was hampered and any support had to be provided by visiting the user personally.

We did notice that Windows Firewall service was automatic but not started, and when we tried starting it – it threw an error

After following the process mentioned by you we could get this thing going.

- Lakhdeep Singh Farwaha


Jeff Adam November 7, 2013 at 8:23 pm

Thanks Lakhdeep for the detailed feedback. It is good to know that the solution worked for you. It will help reassure others that may want to try it.



Juan November 12, 2013 at 3:11 am

Excellent. Instruction were clear, simple and effective. Thanks! save a bundle!


Jeff Adam November 12, 2013 at 7:34 am

Hi Juan,

Thank you for the feedback. It’s good to know this fix for Windows XP Firewall error worked for you. Appreciate your comment on quality of the instructions.



PJ January 20, 2014 at 10:57 pm

Thanks…your instructions worked. No one else, even MS “FixIt” could help get the firewall restored but these instructions did!!! Thanks.


Jeff Adam January 21, 2014 at 7:44 am

Thank you so much for letting others know that the solution worked for you!.

I hope you find other solutions on this site just as effective in fixing issues described in them.



Gene Breedlove April 1, 2014 at 4:37 pm

Instructions were clear and it worked!!!!! Thank you!


Jeff Adam April 1, 2014 at 9:14 pm

Thanks Gene for the feedback. Good to know the fix worked for you.



Kan April 27, 2014 at 6:30 pm

Could you please do a video of these steps ?

I’m following your steps but for some reason it still doesn’t work ???? I’ve done but the command sc delete SharedAccess is not working …


Jeff Adam May 15, 2014 at 2:00 pm

Hi Kan,

The steps is quite straight forward. As you can see from the comments, it has worked on quite a few Windows XP installations. I will however try and do a video, if can find the time, given that Windows XP will soon be retired by Microsoft.



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