Problem in Vista Wireless Stack

I was reading this post over at MSTechToday – yeah, the one about the Ferrari. I tagged it when I read it because Brandon LeBlanc stumbled on a problem I have been having as well. If you scroll down just past the silly glasses Brandon talks about problems he has been having connecting to wireless networks.

The problem seems to be somehow related to getting a DHCP lease because in each instance the network functions correctly provide I use a static IP address and gateway.

It doesn’t seem to be a Ferrari specific problem because it affects all my machines – however, a couple of days ago it started working properly again so I wonder whether a patch was applied over the Internet.


50 thoughts on “Problem in Vista Wireless Stack

  1. Michael Ruminer

    I am running Vista on a Toshiba R25-3513 with no issues in wireless and have had none though I have had similar sporadic issues with wired networks in which I just could not get an IP lease without great effort. Hmmmm…

  2. John Bickerstaff

    I’ve encountered the same thing with third party USB wireless on a desktop. I would have considered it to be a flakey driver but for the fact that turning OFF any form of encryption and ensuring the SSID is broadcast almost guarantees the aquisition of a DHCP lease. Hide the SSID or turn on envryption (even WEP) and its history…

  3. Mitch Denny Post author

    Actually – Geoff Appleby was telling me about WEP wireless problems he was having. It hard to grasp because I wasn’t having these issues pre-RTM.

  4. Tatham Oddie

    I have this issue consistently when trying to connect to Telstra hotspots. All other networks work fine, and I know the hotspot it working because my SP5 can connect.

  5. Todd Fulcher

    I am running the Enterprise release of Vista on my laptop – never had any problems anywhere with wireless until I went to a Panera Bread here in town last week. I assumed that the problems were on their end, so I went back today. Same problem – the laptop cannot get an IP address on the correct network. Even though the laptop says that it is connected to the Panera Bread wireless network, the event log shows that it is receiving IP addresses in the range, which the owner of the Panera Bread says is from a different wireless network. He has a Sonicwall router that is on the subnet.

    The wireless in Vista has been working SO much better for me than it did in XP on this laptop. I have read some things that indicate that these problems may be caused by routers that don’t have correct implementations of the 802.11 power save mode, which Vista utilizes in its wireless implementation.

  6. John

    Looks like the problem may be with Sonicwall routers. I too am having problem with acquiring DHCP via wireles and I have two Sonicwall wireless routers/firewalls.

  7. Zonic

    Have similar problems, tried with 2 Linksys routers and one Topcom.
    For me the problems arise with the Linksys routers running wep encryption.
    The Topcom router works fine because i cannot turn on the web encryption on it.

  8. Mitch

    Here is our issue. We run a 3Com wireless network here at work. For some reason Vista will not work with the 3Com switched Access Points.
    The funny thing is, the computers will go out and get a valid IP address, but it will not allow the user to go out and browse.

  9. Len Gaspary

    I didn’t see any solutions. My problem has been that I can get Vista Business to partially work with all wireless networks. With some, however, I can’t get out to the internet. I only have the problem with secured networks. I have access to all of the routers and access points that I’ve had problems with and can’t figure out anything different in the set up. Some broadcast ssid and some don’t. The only common thread is that all unsecured networks give me internet access and all give me internal network access.

  10. Steve

    I got a Vista Home Premium laptop last night and tried to connect to my LinkSys Router. Like some people here, it found the network fine and connected to the network, but would not go out to the internet. Wiring it to the router allowed internet access however. I didn’t try taking WEP off, and ended up manually setting the IP address and gateway settings…this worked first time so I may well leave it like this…the MS support article linked above looks like it would work for me as well.

    I wonder if this is something they’ll fix in a hotfix somewhere along the line? I imagine it effects quite a lot of systems.

  11. Kikayon

    I had this same issue just start happening with my linksys wrt54g. It’s like the DHCP just gave up the ghost and wouldn’t talk to my mac or vista comps. I updated the firmware and havn’t had a problem since. Don’t know if that helps at all.

  12. Vyom

    Try this out…. this worked for me.
    With Encryption and without.
    DhcpConnDisableBcastFlagToggle 1 – default
    DhcpConnBcastFlagToggle 0
    DhcpConnForceBroadcastFlag 0

  13. lnxwalt

    I’ve been fighting with a friend’s new Toshiba (Vista Home) over connecting to our local wide-open wifi network. Most evenings, the computer can not get an address at all (DHCP fails, so it gets the autoconfiguration 169-dot-something address). Other evenings, it connects intermittently. What it has never done was connect reliably for an extended (an hour or more) period of time.

    My Dell laptop (Linux Mint) connects quickly and reliably. Another co-worker’s Gateway (WinXP SP2) connects well most of the time. Only the brand-new Vista computer fails regularly.

    BTW, applying the registry fix did not fix the problem.

  14. FZM

    We have the same kind of problem at work. We are 8 persons working with same brand of laptop. 3 of them (including myself) installed Vista and have regularly Wireless connection problems. It is totally irregular, as sometimes we can connect to the router with internet access for some hours, and sometimes only a few minutes before the connection goes down.

    All the others working on XP do not experience the same issue. We tried to figure out what it was but haven’t been able to find an answer yet.

    The registry fix did not work.

  15. Lars

    I too am having problems with a Vista Premium Powered Laptop and intermittent connections on an campus wifi network.
    ANOTHER laptop with vista has no problem connecting to this network, THIS laptop at another access point has no problem connecting to the network.
    I have several access points distributed throughout the network, however the only commonality i can find, is that ones connected to 3Com Superstack switches are not allowing MY laptop with vista to connect.
    the SAME model of access points on Linksys switches allow access no problem.
    The HP portable computer with wifi had no problem connecting to the network through the 3com switch connected access points.
    Strange problem.

  16. Dan

    I had a similar problem to this. None of the above registry related fixes seemed to do the job. I have Virtual PC 2007 and VMWare Player installed. I disabled the loopback adapter and the VMWare Virtual Ethernet adapters and it seemed fine after that.

  17. David

    I am trying to connect a Toshiba w/Vista home premium to my WPA secured, SSID broadcast disabled home network wirelessly. I can connect wired, and hen I turn on SSID on the router I can connect. As soon as I turn off SSID, it will no longer connect. All XP machines working fine.

  18. Mattias


    I had the same problem. Vista didn´t connect to my wireless network. I solved the problem by changing my Internet protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv6). Change the properties to Obtain an IPv6 adress automatically. This solved my problem and I have no longer any problem to connect to the wireless network.

  19. Mitch Denny Post author

    Hi David,

    I have more problems with broadcast disabled networks generally, so I don’t think that it is necessarily a Vista specific issue on that one…

  20. DaveG

    This is for Vista (any version) specific wireless issue. On some routers it appears that the default forced broadcasting is no supported thus causing the DHCP allocation to fail. In consequence, and APIPA (Automatic Private IP Allocation, always 169.254.x.x) address is received. This does not allow access to the internet.

    Editing the registry and disabling the force bcast resolved the problem.
    The following 3 entries are needed:
    With Encryption and without.
    DhcpConnDisableBcastFlagToggle 1 – must be added manually
    DhcpConnBcastFlagToggle 0 – must be added manually
    DhcpConnForceBroadcastFlag 0 – must be changed from its default.

    The following MS article partially addresses this flaw:

    ** You’d think they’d make it easier…**

    Good luck to all.

  21. vista is not compatible.. with me

    i’m haveing a very funny wireless problem. my brother on xp if fine and when i plug in is fine. but when i connect wirelessly, i connect, but then it goes from haveing internet access to local then it disconects entirely. this is about every 3 minutes or about 1 minute after i connect manual if my network isn’t on auto connect. i can post more details and have tried a few things but nothing seems t help :(. any suggestions welcome xD.

    ad yes posting this msg was a pain xD.

  22. John Harness

    Adding the ArpRetryCount and setting it to 0 did the trick for me:


    Location: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Servic es\Tcpip\Parameters

    Data type: REG_DWORD

    Present by default: No

  23. danm

    I have numerous problems with the a new hp laptop and my d-link router .spent many hours correcting the problem and as of now turned off the ssid to use and also had that same ghostly problem of windows saying online but no maybe hp wireless assistant? d-link going back to factory resets?

  24. nikki-bg

    i am running vista on HP pavillion and i have some issue. i spent hours trying to fix it I bought new router….nothing helps. when i connect to the internet i have a good connection and after several minutes sometimes hours the connection is so bad and i have to restart the modem and the router again every time !!! if i plug the cable straight from the modem bypassing the router no problem! i install some fix from the above lines didnt work, i disabled v.6 didnt work…will MS finally come with some fix for all of those related issues

  25. ell

    I am running the same HP pavillion and after last 3 vista updates (they are supposed to deal with USB, hibernation and other issues) the PC is connected to wifi router seamlessly, but after 30 min. is disconnects and sais there are no available networks. I am going to play with it righ now as I have suspision, that my usb wireless network adapter is somehow switched off by some sleep mode …

  26. hanna

    A new Toshiba laptop with Vista sure seems to have problems with my wireless router. I wish I could go back to XP…

    Not only does the connection drop out every few minutes, even when it is connected, it reports it as poor — ten feet from the router!

    I really am not comfortable messing with the registry. This is just one of many problems I have had with Vista so far.

    What a headache.

  27. Christopher

    My problem is that only some networks show up. Even if they are not hidden.
    The SSID show up on all other devices and XP, but not on Vista.

  28. Jody

    Does this Brodcast Flag change affect machines with intermitten Wireless Problems. What I see from the same Vista Laptop is it connecting, and using the wireless fine for a while, then after some period (and easier seen when coming back fom sleep) the Wireless Router gives up the ghost at times. Even LAN lines to the router go on the fritz… have to power it to run again.

    On the new wireless N router (another location – different manufacturer) the thing is constantly in and out of connected mode. I have not seen this specific error, but the laptop gave my network problems and it has been quite some time since I had problems LAN or Wireless….

  29. huuf

    I’m getting a time-out on a neighbours laptop when WPA is enabeled (key is good, no MAC filter). Did some investigation and disabeling IPv6 on the adapter seems to work by some people on the internet. I think I will try that one.

  30. piotr

    my problem is tht I can connect (after the driver for wireles card instalation) only once – so i install vista home premium x64, instal wifi driver and it finds it, receive dhcp ip and i can use internet. then i restart and my vista won’t connect to the same network.
    then when i’m running diagnose it says i shall look into wireles pass, but it is still the same ;). anyway ilook there and then i see 8 dots but my pass is longer (wpa psk) then i go deeper run cmd write ipconfig -all and i see that device is not connected 😦 ofcoure wen i go to device manager the network card is turned on.
    am I crazy or vista is ?

  31. Brad

    Johnathans tool didnt work for me.

    My registry also always go back to 1 on the DhcpConnForceBroadcastFlag tag. I edit it to 0 and it will always go back to 0 when I go to another window and go back.

    The ethernet connection doesnt do this, wonder why the wireless does.

  32. Stylez

    God Vista and wireless where shall i start, got my laptops 7mths ago with Vista home pre installed, spent a couple of days with intermitent net, well 11 hours with my broad band tech deck only for them to do what i did was enough, installed Xp Pro and badda bing badda bong i was onlinw wifi, well just set up dual boot for there to be the same problem, only connects locally, well another day with tech desk and i think it’s my router as i can connect else where……
    So i think we still have router Vista compatabilty issues?

  33. Dan

    I’m having the same problem. I just spent alot of money on my new computer and am running Vista Ultimate and a Lynksis router, the wireless was fine untill i really started using my computer. Now it takes roughly 5 – 10 mins to connect and runs at dial up speed or worse. I’ve tried alot of different things except going into the registry. I’ve restarted, reinstalled and rebooted so many times i don’t know how i’m still sane.i’ve tried disabling programs and changing specifics of my wireless network aswell as reinstalling the whole damn lot. What can i do??

  34. ActionDan on OBX

    Followed DaveG & John Harness posting to finally get HP vista laptop to work on a sonicwall router! This “fix” should be published by MS as a update, MS really let the vista users down on this. Glad to to still using XP, no plans to “upgrade” to vista – who needs more trouble?

  35. Pingback: wireless troubleshoot vista

  36. Jonathan

    I would rather run Windows and have small issues then the MAJOR issues I am having with Linux and Wireless. Numerous distrobutions have problems with my Intel wireless card, can’t even detect. No problems in Vista.

  37. Eric

    Jonathan, wrt your linux problems, have you checked that not only the appropriate kernel modules are installed but also that your card’s firmware was installed? I recently setup Gentoo on a Thinkpad X41 Tablet and it wouldn’t even detect my wireless card until the firmware was installed. Which makes sense anyway, but wasn’t the first thing I thought of.

  38. Jessica

    I’m havin problems getting a wireless connection with vista basic, well I just got a dell laptop, well I got wireless high speed internet, well the problem is the laptop still as 2 be plugged up 2 get interent, I wanted 2 go and sit in the living room and well I didn’t get internet so this is a big problem for me, cause I’m not going to pay if I don’t get what I asked for.

  39. Checonator

    I tried everything, and the last thing i missed was the router. My router is not compatible or something, i changed the router and my internet connection works great. Both routers works, im sure of it, i have others pcs connected to both routers.


  40. leigh

    Hi there,

    I am having issues with a 2 laptops an HP & Toshiba we have just moved in a new flat and wireless cuts out at least 2 times a day and what happens is: Well nothing shows up under wireless network there are normally 20 different connections and they all dissapear and they wont return until I restart the system or restart the WLAN service. Tried different drivers, routers, firmware, reg hack above and the problem is still happeing , any thoughts.


  41. registryfixreports


    After all you’ve tried, this may be a little simplistic, but have you tried setting your WLAN service to restarting when it fails? Perhaps it’s a failure of the WLAN service, or one of it’s dependencies….

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