How To Disable WLAN Background Scans

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 13, 2011
Updated • Dec 14, 2011
Tutorials, Windows tips

Some Windows users who are connecting via wireless lan to the Internet may have noticed regular ping spikes and sometimes even disconnects due to an automated background scan. Especially Windows Vista users have been plagued by this issue, but it has also been reported by users running Windows XP or Windows 7.

You can test if your wireless connection is having regular lags by opening the Windows command line (Windows-r, type cmd, hit enter) and use the ping command to ping a local or remote IP address (e.g. ping -t

If you see time spikes you are affected by the issue.

Reply from bytes=32 time=1ms TTL=64
Reply from bytes=32 time=1ms TTL=64
Reply from bytes=32 time=1ms TTL=64
Reply from bytes=32 time=1ms TTL=64
Reply from bytes=32 time=1355ms TTL=64
Reply from bytes=32 time=2ms TTL=64
Reply from bytes=32 time=1ms TTL=64


The WLAN AutoConfig service is responsible for the scans which are executed even if the computer is already connected to a wireless network. Users have reported connection issues for up to five seconds during scans which is especially problematic for Internet gamers and users who use streaming media services.

It is not possible to disable the WLAN AutoConfig service right away, as it is needed to establish the connection.

The free software program WLAN Optimizer resolves the issue by disabling background scans once a wireless connection has been made.

The portable program displays all options in two tabs in its interface. The status tab displays a pulldown wireless network adapter selection menu and the status of the tweaks the program offers.

wlan optimizer

The settings tab displays options to enable background scan and streaming mode. It is not recommended to disable autoconfig in the menu, but the option is available.

WLAN Optimizer is however not the only software that disables wireless background scans. The free tool VBGScan is also capable of disabling the scans. It has been developed for Vista, and it is not clear if it works under Windows 7 as well.

background scan

Just use the basic interface to configure the software. It offers the same features as WLAN Optimizer. (via)


Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. influence134 said on December 13, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    Especially Windows Vista users have been plagued by this issue, but it has also been reported by users running Windows XP or Windows Vista.

    At the end, you mean probably Windows 7 :)

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on December 13, 2011 at 11:16 pm

      You are so right, corrected. Thanks!

  2. charliechan said on January 11, 2012 at 9:32 am

    The programs you mentioned Martin, are they just run once because if just makes some registry changes or do they need to run in the background?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 11, 2012 at 9:58 am

      IIRC, they need to be run every time a connection is established.

  3. Darryn said on April 2, 2020 at 4:42 pm

    Will be attempting this with windows 10 in 20 minutes;;

    1. xaml said on May 29, 2020 at 4:45 pm

      Haha, I have attempted this now, referring to “WLAN Optimizer”. According to the program, background scanning of wireless networks already was disabled. However, available networks are shown when clicking on the wireless network icon on the taskbar, with their order even rearranged according to their signal strength. In my view this would not be possible without scanning these networks, so this raises the question of whether the information displayed by the program is accurate. It could be if this only happens when this section is accessed by the user, a foreground scan, so to speak, while this window or panel is open as opposed to a recurring background scan…

      1. Anonymous said on October 24, 2020 at 10:39 pm

        You can run ping -t in the cmd window and watch the ping times as you click on your wifi available connections(wifi symbol task bar bottom right). If ping times spikes when you do this it is doing a quick scan which causes lag spike if you are gaming is bad. Not sure if some versions of windows does a background scan for these once in a while or not but it does interrupt packet transfer when this happens.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.