VMware Unidentified Network Issue in Vista and Windows Server 2008 Fix

December 18, 2008 · 17 comments

I use VMware Workstation to run my development virtual machines. I prefer it over Microsoft’s offerings for two main reasons, USB support and high resolution/multi-monitor support inside of virtual machines.

There is however, a very annoying problem when you install VMware on Vista (and Windows Server 2008). When you install VMware it adds a few virtual network adapters. For various reasons, these adapters are listed in the Network Sharing Center as being on an “Unidentified network (Public network)” and all of the features under Sharing and Discovery are turned off .

Here is the best fix I’ve found thanks to a post by richv in the VMware forum:

  1. Run regedit
  2. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E972-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}
  3. Underneath you should see several keys labeled 0000, 0001, 0002 etc… Look through these and find the VMware adapters. They will probably be near the end of the list if you just installed VMware.
  4. For each of the VWware adapters, add a new DWORD value named “*NdisDeviceType” and set it to 1 (make sure you get the * at the beginning of the name, I missed that the first time).
  5. Disable and Enable each of the network adapters.

That should take care of the problem. Setting *NdisDeviceType to 1 causes Windows to ignore the device when it does network identification. Here is an MSDN article with more details.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

ncux February 28, 2009 at 4:21 pm


Jon June 18, 2009 at 8:45 am

I wonder if there is way to change the label “Unidentified Network” to something else and furthermore, change the icon in Windows 7 like we could on Vista

Scott July 31, 2009 at 9:56 pm

Great post. Saved me from spending another 3-4 hours looking for a fix!

Kevin October 19, 2009 at 5:59 am

thx a lot. Did me a good job.
I’ve been troubling by this for long

Jschae November 15, 2009 at 4:26 pm

Awesome! Saved me endless time.

Robbie January 14, 2010 at 1:11 pm

Thanks for the solution. I had this problem on Vista and Windows 7 and somehow (maybe because of an update) the problem returned on Windows 7. And again a quick fix.

Thiti January 14, 2010 at 9:15 pm

Thank you very much. I have been searching for this for almost 6 months! I really wonder why VMware has not fixed this issue in its recent releases.

Thiti January 14, 2010 at 9:16 pm

I forgot to mention that this “*NdisDeviceType =1” tip works in my installation of Windows 7 Enterprise 64-bit edition as well.

Thiti January 26, 2010 at 4:32 am

I also have similar problem with VirtualBox 3.1.2-5612 and this trick also works.

Matteo January 26, 2010 at 6:42 am

I have done this vmnet is abilited but still i haven’t access to internet on guest system…

David O August 4, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Still an issue with latest Windows 7 and VMWare Workstation, fix still works. Guest OS had Internet okay before the fix, mostly a cosmetic thing. In case anyone cares, the MSDN content has moved here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff557037(VS.85).aspx

bomaus June 30, 2011 at 5:45 am

Great, thank you so much. It works for Oracle VM VirtualBox with Windows 7 as well!

Eli December 26, 2011 at 3:51 pm

Hello, I have followed the instructions, rebooted both systems and now I cannot see the VMware adapters in the Network and Sharing center, only in the Network Connections, so I think that the registry edit was successful. However, I still cannot connect to Oracle from the Ubuntu Virtual Machine to the Win 7. When I disable the Windows firewall, it works. I am desperate, so if you have any ideas, please submit them here.

Brian Vaughan February 7, 2012 at 9:15 am

I just found this article. Thanks. From the description in the MSDN article, this setting ought to be set by default by VMWare, or at least should be an option, I’d think.

Kudos for including the link to the MSDN article for more details, by the way. It’s always good to know what the official word is on one settings do before you start pasting in commands you found on the Web somewhere.

Windows 7 user March 28, 2012 at 11:55 pm

Actually, one can simply go to the Windows Firewall settings and disable the Firewall for the VMWare adapter.

mlopes September 9, 2012 at 8:04 am

Great post! Thank you so much.

Adriano Anselmi March 26, 2013 at 4:34 pm

Thank you for your great support!

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