Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
My real concern here is the fact that you can't turn the Windows firewall on. That's bad!
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.
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.
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.
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 on.
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?
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