Enable or Disable Soft Disconnect from a Network in Windows 10

How to Enable or Disable Soft Disconnect from a Network in Windows 10

By default, Windows will soft-disconnect a computer from a network when it determines that the computer should no longer be connected to a network. In Windows 10, there is a special policy option that controls this behavior, so you can make your device instantly disconnect from a network. Here is how to configure it.


Soft disconnect works the following way:

  1. When Windows decides that a network should no longer be connected, it does not immediately disconnect. Abrupt disconnections degrade the user experience without providing an appreciable benefit, and are avoided when possible.
  2. As soon as Windows decides to soft-disconnect an interface, it informs the TCP stack that the network should no longer be used. The existing TCP sessions will continue uninterrupted but new TCP sessions will use this interface only if explicitly bound or if no other interface routes to the desired destination.
  3. This notification to the TCP stack generates a network status change. Networking applications should listen for these events and proactively move their connections to the new network, if possible.
  4. Windows then checks the traffic level on the interface every thirty seconds. If the traffic level is above a certain threshold, no further action is taken. This allows ongoing active use of the interface, such as from a file transfer or VoIP call, to avoid disruption.
  5. When the traffic drops below this threshold, the interface will be disconnected. Applications that keep long-lived idle connections, such as an e-mail client, may be interrupted and should re-establish their connections over a different interface.

Windows 10 includes a special Group Policy option, 'Enable Windows to soft-disconnect a computer from a network'. If the policy is disabled, Windows will disconnect a computer from a network immediately when it determines that the computer should no longer be connected to a network. It depends on other options.  if ´Minimize the number of simultaneous connections to the Internet or a Windows Domain´ is disabled, Windows will not disconnect from any networks.

If you are running Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise, or Education edition, then you can use the Local Group Policy Editor app to configure the policy option. It is available in the OS out of the box. Windows 10 Home users can apply a Registry tweak. Let's review these methods.

To Enable or Disable Soft Disconnect from a Network in Windows 10,

  1. Open the Local Group Policy editor app, or launch it for all users except Administrator, or for a specif user.
  2. Navigate to Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Network\Windows Connection Manager.Windows 10 Disable Soft Disconnect 1
  3. On the right, double-click on the Enable Windows to soft-disconnect a computer from a network option.
  4. Set the policy to Disabled to disable the feature.Windows 10 Disable Soft Disconnect 2
  5. Otherwise, leave it as Not configured or set it to Enabled.

You are done.

Enable or Disable Soft Disconnect from a Network in Registry

  1. Open Registry Editor.
  2. Go to the following Registry key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WcmSvc\GroupPolicy
    Tip: See how to jump to the desired Registry key with one click.
  3. If you do not have such a key, then just create it.
  4. Here, create a new 32-bit DWORD value fSoftDisconnectConnectionsNote: Even if you are running 64-bit Windows, you still need to use a 32-bit DWORD as the value type.
  5. Set it to one of the following values:
    • 0 = Disable Soft Disconnect
    • 1 = Enable Soft Disconnect
    • (delete the value) =  system defaults
  6. To make the changes done by the Registry tweak take effect, you need to restart Windows 10.

Later, you can delete the fSoftDisconnectConnections value to restore the system defaults.

You can also download the following ready-to-use Registry files, including the undo tweak:

Download Registry Files

That's it.

Tip: You can try to enable GpEdit.msc in Windows 10 Home.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

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