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Vista's Base Filtering Engine Service

ServicesThe Base Filtering Engine Service (BFE), part of Windows Filtering Platform (WFP), plays an important roll in Vista’s network security. It is part of the filter between features that talk to the network (like Remote Access, firewall, Internet Connection Sharing, etc) and the TCP/IP stack. If you don’t ever connect to a network, then it’s safe to disable this service.

I’ve seen many sites suggest that if you use a third-party firewall it’s safe to disable this, but that is not the case. BFE ties into many other features besides the firewall, and may even be required for a third-party firewall to function properly. I would recommend keeping this service enabled. Save your resources by disabling more frivolous services, but take advantage of the extra security this one offers.

Display Name:
Base Filtering Engine
Service Name:
BFE
Process Name:
svchost.exe
Description:
The Base Filtering Engine (BFE) is a service that manages firewall and Internet Protocol security (IPsec) policies and implements user mode filtering. Stopping or disabling the BFE service will significantly reduce the security of the system. It will also result in unpredictable behavior in IPsec management and firewall applications.
Path to Executable:
%windir%\system32\svchost.exe -k LocalServiceNoNetwork
Default Startup:
  • Home Basic: Automatic
  • Home Premium: Automatic
  • Business: Automatic
  • Enterprise: Automatic
  • Ultimate: Automatic
Log On As:
Local Service
Desktop Interaction:
No
Depends On:
  • Remote Procedure Call (RPC)
    • DCOM Server Process Launcher
Required For:
  • IKE and AuthIP IPsec Keying Modules
  • Internet Connection Sharing (ICS)
  • IPsec Policy Agent
  • Routing and Remote Access
  • Windows Firewall
Memory:
N/A
CPU:
N/A
Do you know something about this service that I don't? Please leave a comment below so I, and everyone else reading this, can benefit from your knowledge!

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Comments

  • David Stockwell

    Nov 7, 2007 at 1:12 pm

    I ran into a problem, where my system was unable to get a DHCP address from my router, and was returning General Failure when pinging any address, including 127.0.0.1!

    Device Mangler indicated no problems with the on-board ethernet port, and everything working properly (it had the Auto-Config address, which goes exactly nowhere).

    I also disabled the on-board port and added a PCI Ethernet card, with the same results. Replace that card with another: same results.

    Ultimately ended up disabling IPSec service and the Base Filtering Engine, which was the only thing that would fix this.

    As far as I have found, there is NOTHING on MSDN regarding this issue, or anything like it.

  • iggy

    Apr 15, 2008 at 9:19 am

    look up dhcp broadcast flag in vista registry. there is a MSDN article about this. known bug

  • Tom

    Mar 13, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    I would disable this service. It blocks a lot of applications from working properly.

    I would recommend a hardware firewall if you are concerned about network security. Any router you install in your home should have a firewall.

  • Joel

    Mar 24, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    I have a Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 laptop that the BFE service has stopped working on and I can’t get it restarted, keep getting “Error 5: Access is Denied” when attempting to restart – on an administrator account.

    Without this running I can’t get any software Firewall to run and running off a USB 3G modem mean I can’t utilise a hardware Firewall.

    Any suggestions?

  • Johnson

    Aug 16, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    Thanks for the detailed explanation on what BFE does.

  • K.Mohamed Mohideen

    Sep 2, 2009 at 5:35 am

    In my Vista OS ,base filtering engine error 5 access denied is encountered.Please help me in this regard

  • Marcin

    Nov 9, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    I got the same problem!!!

  • Vladimir

    Jan 31, 2010 at 9:35 am

    So have I !
    Can’t get any access to vista from xp while BFE is running… :-(
    Have anyone resolved the problem?

  • hassan

    Aug 11, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    Firewall was not working for me. I looked further and found BFE was not running for me. I was running Win 7 x64. After reading a number of pages, I came across http://www.techruckus.com/forum/vista-dhcp-base-filtering-service-access-denied-t-t91.html
    That solved it. What a relief. I was about to give up and do a reinstall.

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