How to Increase the 10 Connection Limit on a Windows LAN

12 May

Let’s say you have a network of more than ten Windows computers connected in a local workgroup without a domain controller. One of the computers has a printer connected to it, and more than ten machines in the workgroup need to print at the same time.

Well, you might say, “Dude, get a server!” or “Dude, get a print server!”

True, that would solve the problem… But sometimes, things like money and technical knowledge are limiting factors in such cases.

The good news: It’s actually really easy to increase the limit and get everybody printing/sharing files in a very short time!

Alrighty, first a few more words about Windows Networking. If a computer is running Windows XP Home, the max number of connections that can be made to/from that computer on the LAN is 5. If the machine is running XP Pro, Vista, etc. then the max is 10.

Also, you have to understand that the limit refers to connections, not number of computers. Technically, you can have a LAN with 500 Windows machines, and as long as no more than 10 computers are trying to connect to any other computer, everything will work okay. But you will still probably have a few headaches like when you browse Network Neighborhood, not all the computers will show up. That’s pretty annoying.

So now, here’s how you fix it:

First, type Win-R to open the “Run” dialog box, and type gpedit.msc.

At this point, one of two things will happen:

  1. You have a fancier version of Windows, so a nice management console will pop up.
  2. You have a less fancy version of Windows, so it will give you an error message.

If you see the management window, then navigate this way:

Computer Config -> Windows Settings -> Security Settings -> Local Policies -> Security Option

And set Interactive Logon to 50 (the maximum) or 0 (i.e. disable caching completely)

If you get the error message instead of the management window, then do the following:

  • Type Win-R
  • Type regedt32 and hit Enter
  • Search for the following entry:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\CachedLogonsCount
  • Change CachedLogonsCount to 50 (the max) or 0 (disabled)
  • Close the Registry Editor

Repeat on each machine on the network just for good measure! You’re done.

I’ve used this trick before on multi-version Windows networks, and it works like a charm. It’s also a heckuva lot easier than setting up a server, and cheaper than buying a standalone print server of some kind.

Finally, note that for Windows versions without gpedit.msc, you can download an Excel file with the corresponding registry entries to edit in Vista (entries are usually the same in other versions of Windows).

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Posted by on May 12, 2013 in Windows



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