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I have two network adapters in my home computer. One goes into my cable modem and hooks me up to the internet. The other goes to my router (which further connects to my XBOX and to a laptop whenever I have one).

Recently I've been experiencing an annoying problem. The dialer program that connects me to my ISP via my cable modem failed to connect and consistently reported "Error 769 - The specific destination is not reachable".

After some tinkering I realized that this would go away only if I disabled the network connection that goes to my router. I would disable the connection, connect to my ISP and only then re-enable the connection. My conclusion was that when both network connections are enabled the dialer looks for my ISP's host on the connection that goes to my router, when it should actually look for it on the other connection - the one that goes to the cable modem.

So I posted on microsoft.public.windowsxp.network_web and a prompt reply from Eric Cross who is an MVP lead me to a Microsoft Support article titled "An explanation of the Automatic Metric feature for Internet Protocol routes"

The short story is this - Windows XP automatically assigns a "metric value" to each network connection. The metric signifies the speed in which the connection can be used. A higher metric means a slower connection. Windows XP then uses the metric values to decide by which connection to send information out to the network. Obviously Windows XP was making the wrong decision when my dialer program was trying to connect.

The solution to my problem was to override the automatic metric value manually for both network connections. This is how:

  1. In Control Panel, double-click Network Connections.
  2. Right-click a network interface, and then click Properties.
  3. Click Internet Protocol (TCP/IP), and then click Properties.
  4. On the General tab, click Advanced.
  5. To specify a metric, on the IP Settings tab, click to clear the Automatic metric check box, and then enter the metric that you want in the Interface Metric field.

Having assigned a lower metric value to my modem's connection solved the problem.

Thanks again Eric. :)

Posted on Monday, July 10, 2006 7:08 AM Knowledge Base | Back to top

Comments on this post: How to make Windows XP prefer one network connection over the other

# re: How to make Windows XP prefer one network connection over the other
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I've been trying to sort that out for a long time, but always failed. Thankyou for guiding me towards the solution. It worked very well.
Left by Treatment on Oct 08, 2006 9:51 AM

# re: How to make Windows XP prefer one network connection over the other
Requesting Gravatar...
Thank you. I have two computers in my barracks room (one is connected via wireless to my neighbor's ISP and the other is a Gig-E LAN connection to a low-end media center which I use to watch movies on my television) when I had only the wireless connected I could surf the net and download to my heart's content, but when I enabled the LAN connection my downloads stopped and the surfing ended. I manually assigned the metrics and now I can download and stream media at the same time :)
Left by Richard Boyd on Nov 12, 2008 9:56 AM

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