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Local Access only

2011-03-14 – Update: Please make sure to first try the automated fix provided by Microsoft in the knowledge base article (look for the “Fix it” icon).

Recently I had issues with Windows Vista where it would get on a network, but would only have local access (i.e. “Access: Local only” in the Network and Sharing Center). After spending about an hour and a half I finally stumbled across the solution. Once again, the solution was hidden in a forum, and the Microsoft knowledge base article was fairly hard to follow. So, here are the steps summarized for quickly fixing this1.

  1. First we have to find the name of network adapter that you are using to connect, you can skip this if you know the name of your network adapter.
    1. Open Network and Sharing Center (Start > Control Panel > Network and Sharing Center)
    2. Click on “Manage network connections” under “Tasks” on the left side.
    3. Note the name of the device in “Device Name” column for the connection that you are using (e.g. Intel® PRO/Wireless 3945ABG Network Connection)
  2. Now we have to find the GUID of this adapter.
    1. Open the registry editor: Start > type in ‘regedit’
    2. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\NetworkCards\
    3. Look through the numbered sub-keys and jot down the “ServiceName” for the one that has the name of your network card in the “Description.”
    4. Keep the registry editor open because we will be changing another key in the next step.
  3. Once you have the GUID of the network then we have to toggle the broadcast flags.
    1. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Tcpip\Parameters\Interfaces
    2. Now follow the resolution in the Microsoft knowledge base article
    3. Make sure to set the DhcpConnForceBroadcastFlag as described in the “More Information” section of the knowledge base article.
  4. Finally, restart the computer.

Hopefully, after restarting the computer you will be able to access the internet.

1Disclaimer, before playing around with the registry make sure to back it up first.

A Few Other Things to Try

Here are a few other things to try in case the above doesn’t work. These are based on the comments that people have left below.

  1. Try uninstalling the wireless card drivers, restarting the computer and then reinstalling the wireless card drivers (see your manufacturer’s website). This seems to have fixed the issue for a few folks.
  2. Try resetting your router.
  3. Try the automated “Fix it” in the Microsoft Knowledge base article.
  4. Try a different channel.
  5. Try changing the IP address range (generally 192.168.0.xxx, change to something like 192.168.9.xxx).
  6. Try a different security method (WEP vs. WPA). Please understand the this change because it might leave your wireless network vulnerable.
  7. Try the same security method with access control list (example) on the router disabled.