We are occasionally asked how to disable the notification you get from Action Center that the Firewall Service is not enabled. I am writing this to explain what options are available.

Why are you stopping the Firewall Service?

Consider why you are stopping the Windows Firewall Service. This is not a recommended practice and becomes much harder to do in Windows 7 and later. Please see the following information regarding disabling the Windows Firewall:

Stopping the Windows Authenticating Firewall Service and the boot time policy 

I need to Disable Windows Firewall

Is there a group policy?

There is not a policy that will disable only the Firewall Alerts, unfortunately; it is not that granular. The closest options I have found are two policies that are related but neither is really a complete solution and will block other types of alerts as well:

1) Disable all balloon notifications:

User Configuration \ Administrative Templates \ Start Menu and Taskbar
“Turn off all balloon notifications”

2) Disable Action Center itself:

User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Start Menu and Taskbar
“Remove the Action Center icon”

You can see a list of all the policies in the spreadsheet available for download here.

As you can see, both of the above options are much broader than just the Windows Firewall and may not suit your needs.

What is Action Center really doing and can I stop it some other way?

Action Center performs a WMI query to see if the service is there. The only way to prevent it would be for Action Center not to execute the query, and there is no way to configure this.

But I can disable it via the GUI on the client?

Yes, you can disable this in the GUI on a client machine. This is the only supported method for disabling Firewall messages from Action Center.

See the Windows 7 screenshot below, showing ‘Network firewall’ unchecked:clip_image002

Summary

If you understand the implications of disabling the Windows Firewall and want to modify Action Center notifications, the only supported group policy options are to disable all Balloon tip notifications or to disable the Action Center itself. Otherwise, users will need to do this manually via the GUI.

I hope you find this information useful.

- David Pracht