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Disabling DirectAccess Functionality in Windows 8

DirectAccess in Windows 8 is great for accessing resources on the Microsoft network when I’m not in the office

Let me start by saying I love DirectAccess in Windows 8. It’s great for accessing resources on the Microsoft network when I’m not in the office (which is about 90% of the time). DirectAccess, is case you aren’t aware of it, gives remote users (like yours truly) seamless access to corporate networks with the need to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network). I highly recommend you look into.

As I stated in the intro, DirectAccess is great. I only have one caveat to add, when it works. On and off over the past couple of weeks I’ve been running into an issue where DirectAccess is in a constant state of “Connecting” without ever getting “Connected”. The result looks something like this:


I’m not sure why this is, if it’s something on my network, or something on the Microsoft side, but the problem is that it seems to be affecting any and all network traffic (i.e. web browsing, email, rdp) on my machine. I wanted to try disabling DirectAccess to see if it would resolve the network traffic issue. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be an intuitive way to turn DirectAccess off. After breaking out my Bing-Fu, I came across this incredibly helpful post by Jason Jones. The key is stopping two services, the “Network Connectivity Assistant” and the “IP Helper” services to be specific. I fired up an elevated command prompt and issue the following two commands

net stop “Network Connectivity Assistant”

net stop “IP Helper”

This resulted in the following:


No more DirectAccess. Once DirectAccess was disabled all network traffic started flowing normally.

There are reasons, other than troubleshooting when you may want to disable DirectAccess. Jason calls it out in his post and the thought hadn’t occurred to me, but I thought I should pass it along. The scenario occurs when users are using low bandwidth or expensive mobile (metered) connections. You probably wouldn’t want to run a VPN over such a connection and the same is true with DirectAccess.

Of course I can’t access Microsoft network resources in this mode, so to turn DirectAccess back on I simply issue the following commands at an elevated prompt:

net start “IP Helper”

net start “Network Connectivity Assistant”

Hope it helps!

More Stories By Adam Grocholski

Hey there! My name is Adam Grocholski, and I'm a Technical Evangelist at Microsoft where I spend time focusing on Windows, Windows Phone, and Windows Azure. I live in the frozen tundra of Minnesota and run thinkfirstcodelater.com. You can also follow me on twitter at @codel8r.

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