Unidentified Network issue with VMWare’s virtual NICs in Vista

October 30, 2008

in Microsoft, Virtual, Vista

UPDATE (5/11/2012): This fix has been tested against Windows 7, Windows 8 CP and Windows Server 8 (2012).

Issue:

You’ve installed VMWare Workstation on Vista or Windows 7 and the two VMNet adapters display as unidentified by the host OS.  This causes your firewall profile to switch to the Public setting and lock down your computer even on a trusted network.  Manually switching the virtual NICs to Private solves the problem only until the next reboot.

Cause:

The root cause has to do with the way Vista and Windows 7 automatically identifies network types.  The information can be found on MSDN:

Windows Vista automatically identifies and monitors the networks to which a computer connects. If the NDIS_DEVICE_TYPE_ENDPOINT flag is set, the device is an endpoint device and is not a connection to a true external network. Consequently, Windows ignores the endpoint device when Windows identifies networks. The Network Awareness APIs indicate that the device does not connect the computer to a network. For end users in this situation, the Network and Sharing Center and the network icon in the notification area do not show the NDIS endpoint device as connected. However, the connection is shown in the Network Connections Folder. Also, if NDIS_DEVICE_TYPE_ENDPOINT is set, the Windows Firewall ignores the connection when Windows Firewall enforces public, private, or domain policies.

Solution:

NOTE: This solution will also work on Server 2008 when you have multiple NICs installed (aka: cluster or backup network).

Option 1

Important: This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

  • 322756 How to back up and restore the registry in Windows
  1. Click Start, click Run, type regedit, and then click OK.
  2. Click the follwoing subkey:HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E972-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}
  3. Browse through the 00xx subkeys until you find the REG_SZ VMNet subkey with a value of either “\DosDevices\VMnet8” or “\DosDevices\VMnet1” (default values)
  4. On the Edit menu, point to New, and then click DWORD Value.
  5. Type *NdisDeviceType, and then press Enter.
  6. On the Edit menu, click Modify.
  7. Type 1, and then click OK.
  8. Exit Registry Editor.
  9. Disable & re-enable the VMWare NICs
  10. DoneNote: In case simply disabling and re-enabling the virtual NICs doesn’t fix the problem immediately reboot your computer.

Option 2

If all this seems a bit confusing or you are unfamiliar with modifying your registry then you can download a powershell script that will automagically do the work for you.

Option 3

If you only use VMWare Workstation guests in a Bridged network then you can simply disable the NICs which will solve the problem all together.

This information was originally posted here…

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Aiscer June 12, 2009 at 12:41 am

Hey man this really worked (On Vista)! Now let me see if this will work on Windows 7 RC. Thanks!

Reply

Dennis July 14, 2010 at 3:20 pm

On my Windows 7 64bit host, these steps took the VMware nic out of the public unidentified network, but it did not make it a home or office identified network. Any suggestions?

Reply

Matt_Wade December 16, 2010 at 9:25 am

This modification won't add the VMNics to either the Home or Office firewall profile. It simply stops the OS from assigning them to one of the three firewall profiles(office, home, or public). The VM NICs will inherit whatever firewall profile that is active at the time.

Reply

Tomas July 29, 2010 at 12:36 pm

same to me, Windows 7 64bit host. Also got it out of unidentified networks, but ports are still blocked (80,443,telnet…).

Reply

Matt_Wade December 16, 2010 at 9:26 am

What firewall profile is active on your machine?

Reply

Fabricio Simao December 15, 2010 at 4:24 pm

same to me on Windows 7 64bit. The most weird is that it was working before rebuilding my laptop. Maybe a 7.1.3 issue?

Reply

Matt_Wade December 16, 2010 at 9:25 am

I have it working on a Win7 x64 laptop with VM Workstation 7.1.3.

Reply

Anonymous September 16, 2011 at 1:40 pm

I came across this page looking for a similar solution for setting up a small test network off a secondary NIC (actually a VLAN adapter) on a Windows 7 64-bit system. I also still had problems with the Windows firewall blocking communication after implementing the registry change. In my case I also had VMWare Workstation installed, but wasn’t using the virtual adapters. It seems that my test network NIC inherited the Unidentified Network profile from the VMWare virtual adapters. (i.e. there were two profiles currently active and it looks like it uses the more restrictive of the two) Once I also implemented the registry change for the two VMWare virtual NICs everything worked as expected.

Reply

Anonymous September 16, 2011 at 1:53 pm

Also I believe the updated link to the MSDN information can be found here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff557037(VS.85).aspx

Reply

Matt September 23, 2011 at 2:20 pm

Thank you, I’ve updated the link.

Reply

Iska Gunarytkyat Fakhry June 1, 2012 at 8:27 am

I’m sorry,
I’m using windows 7 (x86) ultimate
i already add NdisDeviceType in third step and add number 1 in hexadecimal,
and after that i restart my computer but when i enable VMNet NIC it still undevined , , ,

please help me,
….

Reply

Matt June 1, 2012 at 8:53 am

Did you add the “*”? “*NdisDeviceType”

Reply

lska Gunarytkyat Fakhry August 23, 2012 at 1:18 am

ah my bad, it does’t matter it’s undevined or not,
actualy it’s work properly, i haven’t to change the NdisDeviceType ,,,
and i just forgot to turn off my linux’s firewall,
xdxdxd

Reply

Anish July 26, 2012 at 3:50 pm

Hi

I followed the above procedure in my Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit to enable it for virtualBox, but doesnt work. Its still under unidentified network!. Should it be DWORD or QWORD for 64-bit processors?

Regards,
Anish

Reply

Matt August 9, 2012 at 3:13 pm

DWORD (32-Bit). Don’t forget to include the “*” in “*NdisDeviceType”.

Reply

Lokee February 6, 2013 at 3:34 am

This is cool, it worked on Windows 7 for VirtualBox as well. Thanks!!

Reply

gearmesh March 1, 2013 at 11:39 am

Just to be clear, these steps should be applied to the host and not the VM. Correct?

Reply

Matt March 7, 2013 at 5:43 pm

Yes, these steps are applied to the host only.

Reply

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