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Administrator overide GPO firewall settings

Posted on 2014-02-25
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Last Modified: 2014-02-25
I have networks where the Windows Firewall settings are configured through Group Policy. This makes it so the firewall cannot be turned off. Is there a way to configure this so an administrator can disable the Windows Firewall?
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Question by:ajdratch
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Expert Comment

by:Mahesh
ID: 39886844
Do you want to disable or enable firewall through GPO ?

Unable to get clarity on your question

However I can tell you

Create a new GPO and apply it on OU containing computers
Specify below settings depending upon your requirements (enable or disable)

Navigate to Computer configuration\policies\windows settings\security settings\windows firewall with advanced security and right click on windows firewall with advanced security-LDAP and go to properties
based on your requirements turn on \ off firewall state for private, public and domain profiles

Also navigate to Computer configuration\policies\windows settings\security settings\system services and enable \ do not define windows firewall service with automatic mode

Also navigate to computer configuration\administrative templates\windows components\security centre and enable \ disable "turn on security centre (domain PCs only)

Once you enable \ disable these all settings, then apply this policy to OU containing computers and also select this policy in GPMC , right click and select enforce

Now this policy will not be overwritten by any other firewall policy and enforced to all computers in scope

Note: Do not apply this policy at domain level, otherwise all servers, domain controllers also get affected with this policy

Mahesh
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by:Hypercat (Deb)
ID: 39886887
Basically, as Mahesh sort of indicated, the only way to do this is to create a new GPO and apply it only to the Domain Admins group, or to the Administrator account specifically if that's the only account you want to exempt.  What I would do is create the policy and then set ONLY the Windows firewall policy the way you want it.  This way, any other policies that would normally apply when the account logs on will be applied also.
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Author Comment

by:ajdratch
ID: 39886905
I was hoping for a way to let an administrator unload the firewall at a users computer. These administrators do not have access to GPO
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by:Mahesh
ID: 39886930
Still unable to understand what you are trying to say

You mean does administrators have ability to enable \ disable firewall on client computers ?
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by:Hypercat (Deb)
ID: 39887063
Once a group policy is set and applied according to the computer and user settings in that GPO, then they are enforced until a different set of group policies is applied.  The only way to apply a different set of group policies is to log on with a different user ID that is set up to use a different group policy object.  How is the computer going to "know" that an administrator is turning off the firewall, unless the administrator is logged on to the computer?  So, as I described, in order for the administrator to be able to turn off the firewall at a user's computer, the administrator would have to have a different GPO applied to that account, and he/she would have to log on to the user's computer with his/her logon ID and password.  This logon would cause the administrator's policy to be applied instead of the user's policy, which would allow the administrator to turn off the firewall.  The firewall would be off only as long as the administrator is logged on.  When the user logs back on, the firewall would be back on because that is part of the policy that applies to the user.

I know it sounds a bit complex but it's really logical. Policy A applies to the user and turns on the firewall and the firewall stays on while the user is logged on.  Policy B applies to the administrator and turns off the firewall and it stays off as long as the administrator is logged on. That's the only way to do it.
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Accepted Solution

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Mahesh earned 500 total points
ID: 39887116
Since the firewall settings is for computer, applying it on user basis (administrator) will not help

Even if you apply multiple policies to computers, the one that is last applied will win, it will not check who is logged on to computer

The only way I can see is to move computer in different OU where you have set policy (disable firewall) and then run gpupdate /force to make it effective

Mahesh
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Author Closing Comment

by:ajdratch
ID: 39887478
This is what I have been doing but I was hoping to find a work around. As you said, the policy is applied to the computer and not user so creating one for administrator will not help. My problem is trying to find a way for administrators  to turn it off without accessing GPO. Sounds like it cannot be done.
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