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ICS Diagram

ICS/NAT Fix for SQL Server 2000 Machines

Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) is used by about a zillion Windows people out there to share their internet connection over their local LAN. It's a little strange initially, but once it's set up, it usually runs fine. I was therefore unpleasantly surprised when I tried to set up ICS on a Windows 2000 Server. Web browsing on the LAN was awful. As well as being awful, it was also just plain weird. Some web pages would pop up like lightning, but their images would fail to load. Hyper-reliable sites like Google or Slashdot would return "Connection Refused" repeatedly for short periods, then reappear. FTP connections would regularly stall too.

The odd thing was that web browsing on the server was fine. Online gaming was fine as well, although server browsers like the All Seeing Eye and COGS often timed out and had to be beaten repeatedly with a stick to make them work.

Instead of using ICS, I tried the Network Address Translation (NAT) stuff in Windows 2000 Server's Routing and Remote Access, but it had the same problems. I even tried installing Wingate, which helped a bit, but didn't fix everything. In fact, it made some other stuff go weird, which was just silly.

It turns out that the server's problems were actually to do with SQL Server 2000, which I also had installed. According to MS Knowledge Base Article 324288, Service Packs 2 and 3 for SQL Server 2000 break ICS and NAT on the machine. To fix it, delete the following registry key and reboot:


Ah, problem fixed - now back to those web pages containing lots of high-quality images.