Windows Firewall off & settings to turn it back on are grayed out

1110 pts.
Tags:
Firewalls
Network security
Windows firewall
Windows XP Professional
Windows XP SP3
Running Windows XP Pro SP3. Haven't changed my settings, but they are now grayed out and the firewall is off. Ideas?

Software/Hardware used:
Windows XP Professional SP3

Answer Wiki

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If no configuration changes have been applied I would suspect of a virus infection. Make sure you have an up-to-date antivirus and perform a full scan in safe mode.

If the computer is clean, take a look at this article, which offers a couple possible solutions.

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That’s an excellent article. You might also want to check that your security suite isn’t managing the firewall settings. In particular, I know that Norton Internet Security and Symantec Endpoint Protection both manage the Windows firewall as part of their configuration and this also causes the option to be greyed out.
Interested in security? Check out my blog, Security Corner.

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  • Labnuke99
    Another possiblity is that someone applied a group policy to your system to disable the firewall.
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  • Stevesz
    If you are on a corporate network, check with you system administrator about the FW being off and greyed out. There may be a specific reason for this, and you going off whole hog and changing it on your machine may lead to problems further down the road. If your sysadmin gives you a blank look or your machine is not on a corporate network, but is a personal machine, follow these instructions. Open services.msc and see if the firewall service is available. Check the status of the control, whether it is set to automatic, disabled, or manual. Set it to automatic or manual and then start the service. Automatic is better, but manual will enable you to decide each time you boot whether you want to have the firewall on or not. If the firewall is still greyed out, then you will need to edit your local group policies, assuming you are not on a network, and governed by corporate polices. Open gpedit.msc. Navigate to Computer Configuration | Administrative Templates | Network Connections | Windows Firewall | Standard Policies and check the settings there. Clcik on each setting to show a window with two tabs. The second tab will explain what each setting does.If they all display not configured, then go to Domain Policies just above the area you were, and check there. Not configured allows the firewall to be on and gives you more control over it.
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  • Guardian
    Best is to ensure your anitivirus application is upto date and run a full system scan in safe mode if you're able to logon. Also antispyware Does anyone else have access to the system and when where the last patch update?
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  • NewnanIT
    [...] Windows Firewall off & settings to turn it back on are grayed out [...]
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