Windows XP SP2 tcpip.sys connection limit patchAdditional XP SP2 tweaks - Remove the Windows XP SP2 TCP Connection limit (Event ID 4226)
2004-09-18 (updated: 2009-12-08) by Philip
Tags: tweak, XP, TCP/IP, tcpip.sys, patch
In addition to the tweaks already covered in Win 2k/XP Registry Tweaks and More Win 2k/XP Tweaks, the Windows XP Service Pack 2 introduces a few new issues covered in the article below. Please make sure you understand what you are doing before making any changes to your Operating System. Note the information below only applies to Windows XP Service Pack 2.
Remove the limit on TCP connection attempts
Windws XP SP2 introduces a few new twists to TCP/IP in order to babysit users and "reduce the threat" of worms spreading fast without control. In one such attempt, the devs seem to have limited the number of possible TCP connection attempts per second to 10 (from unlimited in SP1). This argumentative feature can possibly affect server and P2P programs that need to open many outbound connections at the same time.
Rant: The forward thinking of Microsoft developers here is that you can only infect 10 new systems per second via TCP/IP ?!?... If you also consider that each of those infected computers will infect 10 others at the same rate:
In other words, even though it is not going to stop worm spreading, it's going to delay it a few seconds, limit possible network congestion a bit, and limit the use of your PC to 10 connection attempts per second in the process ! I have no problem with the new default setting limiting outbound connection attempts. Still, users should have the option to easily disable or change this setting. I might be going out on a limb here, but ever since the introduction of Windows XP I can't help thinking that I dislike all the bult-in Windows "wisardry" in a sense that the system also limits user access. That irritating trend to ease the mental load on end users is somewhat insulting, considering that Windows is to make the more "intelligent" choice instead of the end user, as well as limit their access to tuning such settings...
With the new implementation, if a P2P or some other network program attempts to connect to 100 sites at once, it would only be able to connect to 10 per second, so it would take it 10 seconds to reach all 100. In addition, even though the setting was registry editable in XP SP1, it is now only possible to edit by changing it directly in the system file tcpip.sys. To make matters worse, that file is in use, so you also need to be in Safe mode in order to edit it.
You only need to worry about the number of connection attempts per second if you have noticed a slowdown in network programs requiring a number of connections opened at once. You can check if you're hitting this limit from the Event Viewer, under System - look for TCP/IP Warnings saying: "TCP/IP has reached the security limit imposed on the number of concurrent TCP connect attempts". Keep in mind this is a cap only on incomplete outbound connect attempts per second, not total connections. Still, running servers and P2P programs can definitely be affected by this new limitation. Use the fix as you see fit.
To change or remove the limit, you can use the following program:
Event ID 4226 Patcher - A patching program for removing or changing the limit imposed on connection attempts in SP2. The patcher has the ability to restore tcpip.sys back to the original... Still, you might want to back up tcpip.sys, use it at your own risk. The author of this patch can be reached @ http://www.lvllord.de/
Edit tcpip.sys manually to remove the TCP/IP socket creation limit
Another option, for the more adventurous is to modify your tcpip.sys file manually, using a hex editor. The following instructions refer to the final release of XP SP2, with a tcpip.sys file of exactly 359,040 bytes, CRC-32 is 8042A9FB, and MD5 is 9F4B36614A0FC234525BA224957DE55C. Even thouh there might be multiple tcpip.sys files in your system, make sure to work with the one in c:\windows\system32\drives\ directory.
To remove the tcpip.sys socket creation limit:
All done ! The above change does not require editing of the CRC in offset 130 hex (thanks for the clever solution Thomas Wolf Tompkins).
The above information increases the RATE of opening outgoing connections. It has nothing to do with the limit of 10 connections to network shares on a Windows workstation PC for sharing files (a MS imposed limit to force you to upgrade to a server version of the OS). This 10 connections to network shares limit was introduced with NT4 workstation (SP3), and exists in Windows 2k workstation, and Windows XP home/pro/mc. It only applies to authenticated windows services, such as file and print sharing.
For a Vista version of the above tweak, see our Windows Vista tcpip.sys connection limit patck for Event ID 4226 article.