How to Update a Firewall [In 2 Minutes]
There are many ways to upgrade your firewall, but we believe none is faster and more efficient than the one we are going to discuss here.
For Windows 10 you can search Update Firewall in the start menu, it should take you to the settings screen for Windows Firewall where you can check for updates. It will be grayed out but this is no problem, go ahead and install all updates listed there.
For other firewall software or older versions of Windows 10 you need to run an installation wizard yourself. Keep in mind, however, that an up-to-date firewall is mostly useless if all your other programs aren’t updated too. This includes updates for the operating system and any installed applications.
Other firewalls should have their own update processes – check your manuals to see how to proceed.
If the firewall software does not offer any updates you might need to check for them manually via an internet search engine or by browsing to their website.
Do firewalls need to be updated?
In general, they do not need to be updated as frequently as your computer’s operating system. But don’t ever let a firewall support page tell you a new version is out without downloading it!
How often should I update my firewall?
Most firewalls have a number of pre-defined levels for updates. If you have opted for the ‘security level’ recommended by the makers of your firewall you probably don’t need to worry. It should be set automatically to update at most once or twice a day, but when in doubt you should contact your support provider.
Firewalls, like all other programs, are rarely free of vulnerabilities and can prove to be an easy target for malware attacks. Whenever a new security exploit in your firewall is found by its makers, they release an update with a patch to close the hole.
What does it mean to update your firewall?
If you do not update your firewall, its rules remain unchanged and only apply to connections that were allowed when the software was first installed. While this is usually fine it means that if you need to open a specific port (e.g. for a new service on your computer), it will not be available anymore after you have updated the firewall.
In some cases, updates might also add new rules that allow or block traffic from certain sources – meaning that if you allow a specific program from the internet, the software update might change its status to ‘blocked’.
What happens if a firewall is not updated?
If the firewall in place is not up-to-date, it becomes more vulnerable to attacks. Malware running on computers connected with your network might try to exploit vulnerabilities with the goal of gaining access (or stealing data).
How can I update my Windows Firewall?
You cannot update your Windows Firewall automatically, but you can check for patches and then install them manually. Open the start menu, search for ‘firewall’ and click on ‘Windows Firewall’. Select Advanced settings from the left menu.
You can check for updates from the pane that pops up. If found, install all listed updates before clicking on OK. You might need to restart your computer for this change to take effect.
What is the best way to update my firewall?
The best way to update your firewall is to have it set to update automatically. In the case of Windows Firewall, this is not possible by default but you can change that by creating a scheduled task or group policy. Google for guides on how to do this; we won’t take any credit for them!
Do I need to turn off my firewall while updating?
You should leave your firewall enabled for most updates unless told otherwise – whether you have a third-party firewall or Windows Firewall. Some updates might require the software to restart, which is when it would be okay to turn your firewall off if needed.
I can’t update my firewall, what should I do?
You probably didn’t install the right pieces during the initial setup of the firewall. A common reason for this is that your computer did not have Internet access at the time – meaning you needed to download the required files from another PC instead.
Another common cause can be that you are using a third-party antivirus software, which may come with its own firewall component. If so, you should check if updates are available on the developer’s website.
If neither of these solutions work, you might have to reinstall your firewall.
I found out about this update too late – what should I do?
If you find out about an important update for your firewall shortly before leaving your PC unattended for a long period of time, leave your firewall enabled. Windows Firewall comes with a so-called outbound filter that could block certain types of malicious traffic even if you do not have the updates installed yet.
Disabling your firewall is never recommended unless you are sure about what you are doing – especially when there are security patches to be installed.
Why should I upgrade my firewall?
A firewall is a vital component of your security system as it ensures that attackers can’t connect to your PC. If for some reason an attacker does manage to find out which port the software listens on (see ‘what is a firewall’), they usually go after the weakest link since this will provide them with access to the most systems – meaning you!
A firewall can be updated by the software manufacturer, but there is no guarantee that you will be notified about new versions. Your firewall might also become vulnerable to attacks if it isn’t updated regularly – especially if the updates fix security issues. You should therefore make sure that all available updates are installed and do so automatically whenever possible!
The best way to keep your computer safe is by having it set to update automatically. If you find out about new updates too late, you should leave the firewall enabled until the next time you need to be away from your computer for an extended period of time.