How to Remove and Reinstall Windows XP Firewall

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.

If you have any question about this topic, please leave a comment below and I will reply. And if you find it helpful, or have any other thoughts to share, your comments are welcome.


  1. Jeff,

    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.

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

  3. Jeff Adam says:

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


  4. Lynnette Spinks says:

    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 says:

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


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

  6. 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 says:

      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?


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

    • Jeff Adam says:

      Hi Paul,

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


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

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

  10. Quality instructions Jeff worked a charm.

  11. Lakhdeep Singh Farwaha says:

    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 says:

      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.


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

    • 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.


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

    • Jeff Adam says:

      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.


  14. Gene Breedlove says:

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

  15. 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 says:

      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.


  16. I have tried this i don’t know how many different ways. i am sure the problem isn’t your method, but rather a very cranky computer. i input the first prompt, and it tells me that installation failed. do i have any other options?

    • Jeff Adam says:

      Hi Cali,

      Have you tried re-applying your current level of service pack? or apply a service pack 3 if your current level is lower.

      That may resolve your error.


  17. Renata P Silva says:

    Funcionou perfeitamente.
    Só encontrei a solução em outra linguagem sem ser a minha nativa.

    • Jeff Adam says:

      Thanks Renata. Love your comment and here is the translation English visitors.
      It worked perfectly.
      Just found the solution in another language other than my native.
      Thank You.


  18. Alastair Boone says:

    You’ve just saved me the pain of a complex test system rebuild. This worked perfectly.
    Thanks so much

    • Jeff Adam says:

      Thanks Alastair for the feedback. I am pleased to hear the fix worked on your Windows XP test system.


  19. Thank you very much for your clear and IT WORKED instructions to restore Windows XP Firewall service!

  20. Thank you thank you thank you.
    I have 2 computers in the same network, one with w7 and the other xp.
    After downloading the trillionth last updates for xp until it run off of steam it seems that the updates had killed the firewall closing with it a bunch of ports that i needed for the comp to comp exchange. Closing Zonealarm was not helping.
    So now firewall restored, problem solved.

    • Jeff Adam says:

      Thanks Emi for the feedback. Great to know the solution worked for Firewall re-installation on Windows worked for you.


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