How Do I ... Disable Ad Hoc Wireless Networking in Windows XP



Ad-Hoc wireless networking (also known as peer-to-peer or computer-to-computer networking,) allows wireless devices within range to discover and communicate with one another. This can present security vulnerabilities, and negatively impact a user's wireless networking experience in the following ways:

  • Ad hoc networks allow communication with potentially malware infected systems; in essence promoting the spread of malware.
  • Man in the Middle Attack: Users with malicious intent may create an ad hoc network connection node to infiltrate or monitor connected computers, obtaining and destroying private data, while tracking all the network traffic you send and receive
  • Evil Twin: If you have previously connected to a peer-to-peer network, your laptop will then advertise it is ready and willing to host similarly named networks in the future. This can pose a problem for those connecting to you, preventing their network traffic from being relayed to the internet.

The configuration suggested in the procedure below prevents you from automatically connecting to any new, unknown networks and refuses connections to all ad-hoc networks.


This document will provide instructions to disable broadcasting an Ad-Hoc wireless network on machines running Windows XP.

1. Select StartControl PanelNetwork Connections

control panel

2. Right-click on the Wireless Network Connection icon, and select Properties

network connections

Choose the Wireless Networks tab, and select the Advanced button.

wireless properties

4. Select the radial button Access point (infrastructure) networks only.
Ensure the checkbox next to Automatically connect to non-preferred networks does not contain a checkmark.


5. Select Close. Select OK. Close the Network Connections window.

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