A long time ago, I made a post about fixing network priority in Windows, and I found myself having to do the same task again on my new Windows 7 system. The process isn’t quite as easy to find under Windows 7/Vista. Here’s the updated version:
Right-click on your network icon and go to the “Network and Sharing center” (if the “Network” icon is on your desktop, you can also get there by right-clicking and going to properties)
Click on “Change Adapter Settings”
Press the “Alt” Key to show the menu, and click on “Advanced”, then “Advanced Settings”.
(from here, the process is unchanged)
Move the Wired LAN Connection (By Default, “Local Area Connection”) to the top, followed by the wireless connection. Make sure that any VPN virtual adapters come after these, otherwise the VPN will only use the ones above it. This tends to be problematic if you’re using split tunneling, as it will kill any network connection you have.
Once you’ve applied the settings, open a command prompt and run “nslookup” – it should default to the DNS server for your wired network.
Recently, we made some changes to the DNS infrastructure on our public wireless networks which has had the unintended consequence of breaking things when our laptop users are plugged into the LAN and have their wireless active. Brian and I have wrangled with this in the office, but we simply turned off the wireless as a workaround.
What’s happening is that when connected to both networks, the wireless has a higher priority by default, and so it resolves DNS via that interface. This is problematic when trying to access an internal resource, because our DNS is set to have a default resolution to our website for *.cor.org. To complicate matters further, Arena behaves differently when you’re on the guest network (sends to a forms-based auth portal instead of using IE integrated authentication).
After much digging, I found out how to change interface priority. Here’s the process in XP screenshots (the process is similar in Vista):
1. Open your network connection properties (XP: Via control panel or right-click on Network Places, then select Properties. Vista: Go to Network and Sharing Center and select “Manage Network Connections in the links on the left)
XP Network Properties
2. On the menu bar (press Alt to show it in Vista), Select Advanced, then “Advanced Settings”
Advanced Network Properties Dialog (XP)
3. Move the Wired LAN Connection (By Default, “Local Area Connection”) to the top, followed by the wireless connection. Make sure that any VPN virtual adapters come after these, otherwise the VPN will only use the ones above it. This tends to be problematic if you’re using split tunneling, as it will kill any network connection you have.
4. Hit OK, and you’re good to go.
I thought it rather ironic that as I was installing my HA firewall cluster that I hadn’t planned the whole hardware redundancy thing all the way through.
In order to install the new machine and the NICs, I had brought a screwdriver to mount rack rails and such. This particular screwdriver was one of the ratcheting kind, and it’s been a poorly functioning department fixture since before I arrived. Today, it decided to completely and catastrophically fail. One moment, I’m turning a screw, the next finds my hand holding about half a dozen pieces of the ratcheting mechanism, and the screwdriver shaft spinning freely and uselessly.
… and in my planning to build the HA cluster for the firewall, I’d neglected to brnig a spare screwdriver in case that hardware failed (which we’d expected it to do long ago). Luckily, one of our “neighbours” happened to have one with him and let me borrow it.
Moral of the story, make sure you have full hardware redundancy, including your screwdrivers.