tech support


I'm running Windows XP SP2 on a Thinkpad T42. I'd like to set my network connections such that if the laptop has both wired and wireless connections, it defaults to wired rather than wireless. I'm sure there's a simple solution here but it's not obvious from the Windows network settings how to accomplish this and Google didn't give me a quick answer either. Any help is appreciated.

update: a little more poking around and I think I've found it under Advanced -> Advanced Settings in the Network Connections window.


I use the network bridge in XP. After getting to the Network Connections highlight local area connection (ethernet) and wireless connection. Right click and select Bridge Connections.

I use AOL, can go wrong with dial up.

I use a ThinkPad R40 (my wife has a T42) and I've found the Access Connections utility provided with ThinkPads prett useful for solving that same problem. It allows different profiles to be made for your different connections (wireless at home, wired at work, etc.) and there is a setting to prefer a wired connection over a wireless one. Sure, it's another program to run in the background, but there are some other nifty profiling features too. It's preinstalled, or can be downloaded at


The real solution to your problem is to change your routing tables. You have to give one card a higher priority by changing the metrics so that when it's available it is preferred over the other. I'm not an expert on this but that's the place to start looking.

Type "route /?" from the command prompt for help or "route print" to display your current routing tables. I don't know if the changes you make with "route" are permanent.

Following is Microsoft's description of the routing tables. Look at the bottom under "remarks". It sounds like what you're describing should have happened automatically, so maybe something is off in your network settings that determine your routing tables automatically.

You want to set the priority on each interface. That's a simpler solution than setting priorities on routes. Go to Control Panel | Local Area Connection (or whatever) | Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) Properties | Advanced TCP/IP Settings. At the bottom, unselect "automatic metric" and put in the priority you want (less is more). Do the same for each interface, wired or wireless.

For some strange reason on my desktop I have 802.11 and Ethernet connections on the same network :D

You could try IBM Access Connection where you can create profiles and if I remember correctly, prioritize connections.

Neil's prescription above (Oct 13, 12:20pm) is the right thing to do. Changing routing tables or mucking with the Advanced Settings UI won't actually help.

Here's what's happening: Windows TCP/IP does prioritization automatically, by picking the fastest interface. However, it does this by comparing the speeds reported by the interface. Your standard wired Ethernet card will report 10Mb, whereas your standard 802.11b card will report 11Mb (the theoretical maximum). So Windows will always select the wireless card as the fastest interface.

So, to force it to do what you want, you need to override the automatic prioritization as Neil describes it, and enter your own priorites (lower the better) to make it do the right thing.

I second using Access Connections. Great little utility, I'v been using it for years.

I third using Access Connections. You can choose which connection is faster or just set priority and it will switch back and forth automatically with just using one profile

I tried the Advanced settings in Network Connections to change NIC priority. This was the exact solution I needed. Our network has a site with lots of people having internet problems. Moving the wired nic to the higher priority was just the ticket for getting some people online. Thanks for the suggestions.

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