You may have heard that IPv6 is the “next big thing” when it comes to networking. While it can be used for all sorts of things (like IPv4’s ability to provide unique addresses to devices), it is most commonly associated with supporting online privacy and security (via VPNs and other protocols).
Since Microsoft implemented the protocol in Windows 10, many users have expressed dissatisfaction with the protocol’s performance and have opted to disable it. In this blog post, we will discuss how to do so on both Windows 7 and 8.1 as well as how to configure Windows 10 to use IPv4 only when available.
Why Are People Opposed To Disabling IPv6 On Windows?
It is important to point out why some people are opposed to disabling IPv6 on Windows. While it is true that the protocol is not as efficient as it could be (hence the “next big thing” label), it does have several advantages.
For one, it is more secure. VPNs and other protocols that rely on IPv6 for initial connectivity (e.g., Remote VPN Assistance) are more secure than those that use IPv4. This is because, when connecting to a network, a VPN checks the legitimacy of incoming connections by performing a domain name lookup. If you do not have IPv6 enabled, this check will not be possible. As a result, network connections will be more susceptible to man-in-the-middle attacks.
Additionally, IPv6 is more private. This is mainly because, when a device uses IPv6, it can communicate with any other IPv6-enabled device (i.e., no need to use a particular domain name to identify other devices). This makes it easier for users to maintain their anonymity when using certain services (e.g., torrenting or online gaming, where it is common for users to be connected via public Wi-Fi).
How Do I Disable IPv6 On Windows?
There are several ways to configure your Windows device to only use IPv4 when available and to disable IPv6. You can do this through the Network and Sharing Center (formerly known as Local Area Network (Lan) Management), through the Registry, or through the GUI (Graphical User Interface) of the operating system.
Let’s take a look at each of these methods in turn. If you’d prefer, you can also use the command line (through PowerShell or other tools like CCMD (command-line compiler)) to accomplish the same thing.
Disable IPv6 Through The Network And Sharing Center
The easiest way to disable IPv6 on a Windows device is to go to the Network and Sharing Center (formerly known as Lan Management) and opt out of the protocol through there. To do this, simply click on the Settings charm on the taskbar, click on the Network and Sharing Center icon, and then click on the gear icon to enter the properties of your network connection. When the window opens, look for the IPv6 Settings item and uncheck the box next to “Enabled” to disable the protocol.
While this method does not involve any configuration on your part, it is important to note that it can be cumbersome to turn off IPv6 for all network connections through the Network And Sharing Center. So you may prefer to do this on a per-connection basis (more on this below).
Disable IPv6 Through The Registry
A more graceful way to disable IPv6 on a Windows device is to edit the registry. One of the best places to do this is the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Network interfaces key. This is where the system stores all of the interfaces and their corresponding properties. If you open this key, you will see a subkey called IPv6 that contains the IPv6 Interfaces value. Simply change this value to “0.0.0.0” to disable IPv6 on your system.
This method is more convenient because it does not require any configuration on your part. It is also the most flexible because you can use it to easily disable IPv6 for all network interfaces or just for specific ones.
Disable IPv6 Through The GUI
The final way to disable IPv6 on a Windows device is to configure the operating system to use the protocol when available and opt out of it when it is not. This can be done through the Graphical User Interface (GUI) of the operating system. To do this, open the Network and Sharing Center and then click on the Change Advanced Settings link on the left side of the window. When the window opens, select the network configuration template from the list and then click on the Change button near the top of the window. When the window opens again, you will see an option for the operating system to use IPv6 or IPv4 for all network connections. Simply uncheck the box next to IPv6 to use only IPv4 for all connections and then click on OK to save your changes.
It is important to note that, in order to fully utilize IPv4, you will need to run Windows in “pure” mode (no 3D or 4D graphics cards). This can be done by following the instructions here:
How To Enable IPv4 On Windows 10
If none of the above work for you, you can also try this:
- Go to Start>Type cmd (you may need to press the Windows key to access the Start menu) and then hit Enter
- Type in regedit (without the quotes) and then hit Enter
- Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Network interfaces
- Open the key called IPv6 and then change the value of IPv6 interfaces to 0.0.0.0 (it should look like this (empty array))
- Select the key called IPv4 and then change the value of TCP/IPv4 to 1 (this is the number of protocols that your device will use – for example, TCP/IP for IPX and RDS)
- Click on OK to save your changes
One thing to note is that, even when you have disabled IPv6 on Windows, it will still show up as a value in the Registry. This is because there is no such thing as an “invisible” protocol. So, while it is a good idea to hide IPv6 from view, it is still there and can be used whenever necessary.