Vista - Unidentifed Network and Public/Private

Posted by Garth on Friday, May 25, 2007

Problem: You have virtual NICs installed in Vista (via VMWare, VPN clients or whatever). Every time you boot up your machine Vista detects these NICs as Unidentified Network. And it considers them Public. And it enables your firewall with no exceptions. You try to rename the but Vista won't let you. You set them to Private but the next boot they're back to Public. WTF?!

Solution: Turns out Vista groups all unidentified NICs under one heading, Unidentified Network. If you only have one, you can rename it and tell Vista it's Private. But if you have more than one it won't let you do anything. So, disable all but one of the offending NICs. Give it a name. Set it to Private. Enable the next NIC. Wash, rinse, repeat.

With all of Vista's integrated help and shit, you'd assume that there'd be some hint of this somewhere. I know other people had this problem as I found dozens of forum posts asking how to do what I've described above, but no solution. And this one I just kind of stumbled upon because I'd disabled all my VMWare NICs, then reinstalled VMWare, then disabled them, then launched a VM (which obviously had no networking) then began poking around in VMWare's NIC mappings, enabled only the one NIC that I needed, then realized I was able to change its properties.

Also note that this has only been tested on 2 machines - mine and Conan's. And as we all know, if you haven't done something successfully 3 times in a row it could just be a fluke.


Ramin said...

I gave up on Vista as soon as I got my hands on it. Reminded me of Microsoft Windows....cough...cough...ME!

Don't wanna take up too much space here but.....

Time to consider OS X running on a nice cute iMac. ;)

Anonymous said...

Ramin, how does you comment help with this?

planetf1 said...

This has been driving me bonkers today. I have 2 NICS mostly causing the problem - vmware NAt & vmware HOST.

However I am unable to rename the network even if only one is active. Any ideas?

Garth said...

Have you tried disabling both and seeing what happens? Basically disable all NICs associated with an unidentified network. Then re-enable them one at a time, labelling their network as each one is enabled. Not sure this will help, but it's worth a shot.

Also, what version of VMWare are you running? When I installed VMWare Workstation 6.x the NICs behaved much nicer under Vista than with VMWare Server (which isn't really supported under Vista yet).

selder said...

I was hoping this would work, but it doesn't.

I disabled all VMware NICS, enabled only 1 (tested with the "1" and the "8") but Vista still won't let me rename the network. I even tried loggin in as admnistrator! ;)

Garth said...

Did you try disabling your physical NICs as well? Dunno if it'll help, but it's worth a shot.

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