02 March 2013

How to Change Network Order in Windows and Mac

Both Windows and Mac try to make intelligent choices about what order to use LAN connections but they don't always get it right.

The Problem
Depending on what you're doing you might need to change the order. e.g. sharing a wireless connection to a LAN port, both OS's will probably still try to use the LAN port as the 'internet' port.

The Solution
In Windows it's called metric and hidden deep in the individual adapter's settings:
Control Panel; Network and Sharing; Change adapter settings; Choose properties for the adapter in question; Select TCP/IPv4; Advanced Button; Uncheck Automatic Metric and provide a manual number. Lowest number is priority, so if you want to make sure the wireless port is used for internet requests set the wired (LAN) port to a high metric to make it less high priority.

On Mac it's much simpler: just change the order of the adapters in Network preferences.

  • In System Preferences; Network.
  • If you want to store your changes create a new location (drop down at the top) it will say Automatic. Create a new one by selecting Edit Locations.
  • Select the Gear (cog) icon at the bottom of the network adapters on the left hand side.
  • Select Set Service Order

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