How to disable the Windows Firewall on Server Core installations of Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V Server 2012

FirewallFrom the first Server Core installations of Windows Server 2008 to my latest installation of Hyper-V Server 2012, I have struggled with the Windows Firewall. It is turned on by default after installation and this is a good thing. However, when you’re testing remotely managing Server Core installations of Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V Server 2012, the Windows Firewall gets in the way fast.

As it turns out, the Windows Firewall can be turned off quite easily. Two methods exist:

  1. Disable the Windows Firewall from the command line
  2. Disable the Windows Firewall through Group Policy

Disabling from the command line

If you want to disable the Windows Firewall from the command line for a single server, PowerShell is the fastest and most reliable method. The following PowerShell one-liner will disable the Windows Firewall for all Firewall profiles:

Get-NetFirewallProfile | Set-NetFirewallProfile -enabled false

 

Disabling through Group Policy

Group Policy can be used to change settings on thousands of computers at once. To disable the Windows Firewall through Group Policy, follow these instructions:

  • Log on to a Domain Controller, or a management station that has the Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) installed with sufficient permissions to create and link Group Policy objects. (GPOs)
  • Start the Group Policy Management Console (GPMC)
  • Select an appropriate level where you want to apply the Group Policy Object (GPO), for instance the domain-level or an Organizational Unit (OU) and right-click it. Select Create a GPO in this domain, and Link it here… from the context menu. Give it a meaningful name and press OK when done.
  • Now select the newly created Group Policy Object (GPO) and right-click it. Select Edit… from the context menu. This will open the Group Policy Management Editor.
  • Open Computer Configuration, Policies, Windows Settings, Security Settings, Windows Firewall with advanced security. Here, open Windows Firewall with advanced security. In the right-hand pane, click on the hyperlink Windows Firewall Properties.  
  • Here, the tabs represent the Firewall profiles: domain, private and public. You can select the Firewall state for each of these profiles.
  • When done, click OK. Then, close the Group Policy Management Editor.

After the default background refresh has occurred, the firewall will be disabled on all computers in the scope of the Group Policy Object (GPO). If you don’t want to wait that long, you can run gpupdate on the computers you want to, or (when you’re using the Group Policy Management Console on Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012) you can right-click on the level where you applied the Group Policy Object (GPO) and select Group Policy Update… from the context-menu.

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