Disable or customize Windows' Internet Connection test to improve privacy

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 7, 2014
Updated • Feb 10, 2014
Windows, Windows tips

Whenever you start a PC running Windows, an Internet connection test is run automatically to test the Internet availability.

The test tries to connect to a Microsoft website -- http://www.msftncsi.com/ -- to download the ncsi.txt text file from the server the website is hosted on.

Windows knows then if your computer has Internet access, local area network access, or no network access at all.

To be precise, NCSI, that is the Network Connectivity Status Indicator, tries to connect to the domain name to check the contents of the text file.

It will also make a request for the DNS name resolution of dns.msftncsi.com and expects the result to be

The text file itself does not contain lots of information, just the text Microsoft NCSI to be precise, but since a connection attempt is being made, it can be recorded by the server.

So, whenever Windows checks for Internet connectivity successfully, the time of the connection and the IP address is recorded by Microsoft's server.

This is confirmed on this Microsoft Technet page where the feature is described in detail:

IIS logs are stored on the server at www.msftncsi.com. These logs contain the time of each access and the IP address recorded for that access. These IP addresses are not used to identify users, and in many cases, they are the address of a network address translation (NAT) computer or proxy server, not a specific client behind that NAT computer or proxy server.

According to the information, the IP address that gets recorded by the server is not used to identify users.

A -- not so recent -- post on the Superuser forum highlights two options to block the testing of the Internet connection and the sending of data to Microsoft's server.

The first disables the check in the Windows Registry, the second changes the server to a custom hosted one so that checks are performed on a server under your control.

internet test windows custom server

The Registry

This is the easier option. All it takes is to change the value of a single Registry key and be done with it for good.

  1. Use the Windows-R combination to bring up the run box on your system.
  2. Type regedit and hit enter.
  3. Confirm the UAC prompt that appears.
  4. Navigate to the following folder: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\NlaSvc\Parameters\Internet
  5. Double-click on EnableActiveProbing and change its value from 1 to 0.
  6. This disables the feature. Should you wish to enable it again at a later point in time, change its value back to 1.

The custom server

You can modify the values that you find here to use a custom server instead for the look-ups. This requires that you have access to such a server.

  1. First thing that you have to do is save the nsci.txt file and upload it to an Internet server. Make sure it can be accessed as a plain text file.
  2. Then it is necessary to change the following values that are all listed under the same Registry folder as above.
  3. ActiveWebProbeHost needs to be set to your web host that you want to use.
  4. If you use IPv6, you need to change ActiveWebProbeHostV6 as well.
  5. Change ActiveDnsProbeContent to the DNS server IP used by your domain.
  6. Change ActiveDnsProbeContentV6 to the IPv6 address of the DNS server used by the domain.
  7. Make sure that EnableActiveProbing is set to 1.

Group Policy

Yes, there is a third option available that is not mentioned in the guide. If you have access to the Group Policy Editor, you may modify the feature there as well.

  1. Use Windows-R to bring up the run box.
  2. Type gpedit.msc and hit enter.
  3. Navigate to the following folder: Local Computer Policy > Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Network > Network Connectivity Status Indicator.
  4. Here you find five settings.
  5. Corporate DNS Probe Host Address defines the expected address of the host name used for the DNS probe.
  6. Corporate DNS Probe Host Name defines the  host name of a PC known to be on the corporate network.
  7. Corporate Site Prefix List defines the list of IPv6 corporate site prefixes that you want monitored for connectivity.
  8. Corporate Website Probe URL defines the address of the website that you want to perform an active probe against.
  9. Domain Location Determination URL defines the HTTPS url of the corporate website used to determine the domain's location.
  10. To simply turn off the feature, you need to navigate to another folder:  Local Computer Policy > Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System > Internet Communication Management > Internet Communication Settings.
  11. Here you find Turn off Windows Network Connectivity Status Indicator active tests.



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  1. Dan Donx said on January 15, 2023 at 10:29 am

    What mental age of reader are you targeting with the first sentence? 10?

    Why not write an article on how to *avoid* upgrading from W10 to W11. Analogous to those like me who avoided upgrading from 7 to 10 for as long as possible.

    If your paymaster Microsoft permits it, of course.

  2. Dexter said on January 15, 2023 at 11:14 am

    5. Rufus
    6. Ventoy

    PS. I hate reading these “SEO optimized” articles.

    1. cdr said on January 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      I used Rufus to create an installer for a 6th gen intel i5 that had MBR. It upgraded using Setup. No issues except for Win 11 always prompting me to replace my local account. Still using Win 10 Pro on all my other PCs to avoid the bullying.

  3. sv said on January 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    bit pointless to upgrade for the sake of upgrading as you never know when you’ll get locked out because ms might suddenly not provide updates to unsupported systems.

    ps…. time travelling?
    written. Jan 15, 2023
    Updated • Jan 13, 2023

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2023 at 5:49 am

      This happens when you schedule a post in WordPress and update it before setting the publication date.

  4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2023 at 8:24 am

    Anyone willing to downgrade to this awful OS must like inflicting themselves with harm.

  5. basingstoke said on January 16, 2023 at 11:18 am

    I have become convinced now that anybody who has no qualms with using Windows 11/10 must fit into one of the following brackets:

    1) Too young to remember a time before W10 and W11 (doesn’t know better)

    2) Wants to play the latest games on their PC above anything else (or deeply needs some software which already dropped W7 support)

    3) Doesn’t know too much about how computers work, worried that they’d be absolutely lost and in trouble without the “”latest security””

    4) Microsoft apologist that tries to justify that the latest “features” and “changes” are actually a good thing, that improve Windows

    5) Uses their computer to do a bare minimum of like 3 different things, browse web, check emails, etc, so really doesn’t fuss

    Obviously that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s also the category that:

    6) Actually liked W7 more than 10, and held out as long as possible before switching, begrudgingly uses 10 now

    Have I missed any group off this list?

    1. Heinz Strunk said on September 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      You have missed in this group just about any professional user that uses business software like CAD programs or ERP Programs which are 99% of all professional users from this list.

      Linux doesn’t help anyone who is not a linux kid and apple is just a fancy facebook machine.

  6. ilev said on August 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Microsoft has removed KB5029351 update

    1. EP said on August 24, 2023 at 9:21 pm

      only from windows update though
      KB5029351 is still available from the ms update catalog site

  7. Anonymous said on August 24, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    1. This update is labaled as PREVIEW if it causes issues to unintelligent people, then they shouldn’t have allowed Preview updates ot install.

    2. I have installed it in a 11 years old computer, and no problems at all.

    3. Making a big drama over a bluescreen for an updated labeled as preview is ridiculous.

    This is probably another BS internet drama where people ran programs and scripts that modified the registry until they broke Windows, just for removing stuff that they weren’t even using just for the sake of it.
    Maybe people should stop playing geeks and actually either use Windows 10 or Windows 11, but don’t try to modify things just for the sake of it.

    Sometimes removing or stopping things (like defender is a perfect example) only need intelligence, not scripts or 3rd party programs that might mess with windows.

  8. john said on August 24, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Windows 11 was a pointless release, it was just created because some of the Windows team wanted to boost sales with some sort of new and improved Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft cannot support one version well let alone two.

    1. John G. said on August 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm

      Windows 11 is the worst ugly shame by Microsoft ever. They should release with every new W11 version a complete free version of Starallback inside just to make this sh** OS functionally again.

  9. EP said on August 25, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released a statement regarding the “unsupported processor” blue screen error for their boards using Intel 600/700 series chipsets & to avoid the KB5029351 Win11 update:

  10. EP said on August 29, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    check out the following recent articles:

    Neowin – Microsoft puts little blame on its Windows update after UNSUPPORTED PROCESSOR BSOD bug:

    BleepingComputer – Microsoft blames ‘unsupported processor’ blue screens on OEM vendors:

  11. Leonard Britvolli said on August 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    While there may be changes or updates to the Windows 10 Store for Business and Education in the future, it is premature to conclude that it will be discontinued based solely on rumors.

  12. sembrador said on September 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    My advice, I left win 15 years ago. Now I’m a happy linux user (linuxmint) but there is Centos, Fedora, Ubuntu depending on your needs.

  13. EP said on September 6, 2023 at 11:55 am

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released new BIOS/firmware updates for their Intel 600 & 700 series motherboards to fix the “UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR” problem (Sept. 6):


  14. Raphael Benzo said on September 24, 2023 at 9:52 pm

    I try to disable the Diagnostics Tracking Service (Connected Devices Platform User Services) but it wont let me disable it, any help will be greatly appreciated.
    Tank you for your help

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