Windows Vista, and Network Location Awareness, With Multiple Network Adapters

Some owners of laptop computers, running Windows Vista, are reporting an inaccurate network status indicator when the computer is first started, and connected to the network.

When a Vista computer is started, the network status indicator - the little globe icon in the tooltray - will indicate "Local Only" status. If you go ahead and start a browser, or other Internet client component, you'll get a connection, but it may be very slow for a while. Eventually, the network status indicator will change to show "Local and Internet", and connectivity will return to normal.

This is a problem with the Network Connectivity Status Indicator (NCSI) component of the Network Location Awareness (NLA) service, and how it determines Internet connectivity when there is no active network traffic. Even if the NLA is able to verify Internet connectivity, when there is more than one network adapter on the computer, NLA can't determine which adapter has connectivity, so NCSI shows all adapters as being connected locally only. This is a problem when connectivity is through a router, and a DNS probe is used to determine connectivity.

Many late model (which is what you would want running Vista, after all) computers have an IEEE 1394 (Firewire) port. Similar in function to USB (but receiving less consumer support), a 1394 Firewire port is supported as a network adapter in many desktop and laptop computers. If your desktop or laptop computer has the problem with "Local Only", and it has only one network adapter, run "IPConfig /all", and examine the log.

If you see an entry for "IEEE 1394", this could be a problem. You can disable this device from the Network wizard (called in Windows XP, "Network Connections"), or using the Device Manager under System Properties, if you don't intend to use a 1394 network. Not a lot of us use (or intend to use) 1394 networking.

Firewire is the best known alternative networking adapter, which is part of what is being called Personal Area Networking (PAN). Two other possibilities include InfraRed and USB.

Another possible contribution to the problem would be the IPV6 Tunnel adapters. You may get relief from the problem by (KB929852): disabling IPV6.

Microsoft Help and Support: (KB947041): The network connectivity status incorrectly appears as "Local only" on a Windows Server 2008-based or Windows Vista-based computer that has more than one network adapter describes the problem in more detail, and should eventually identify a solution.

>> Top