I recently discovered a few mysterious cases of DirectAccess-enabled laptops that seemed to be broken, but were the exact make/model/OS/everything as their coworkers that were working without any problems. After doing some extensive review of their components, everything looked to be in order, and we discovered that if we restarted the IP Helper service on those laptops, that DirectAccess would then connect successfully – sometimes for a few seconds, sometimes for a few minutes – but would then switch back from “Connected” to “Connecting”, and DA would be broken once again.
Restart IP Helper, it connects again, a few minutes later, it disconnects again. Over and over and over…
The fix? Uninstall Intel Online Connect.
In comparing a working laptop against the one having this issue, we eventually turned to which applications are installed that might be interfering with networking processes. The only difference in installed applications between “good” and “bad” laptops was this Intel Online Connect. Upon uninstalling it from the problematic machine, the issue was immediately fixed!
I now have confirmation from Microsoft that they have seen this issue a handful of times as well. If you come across this, by all means go ahead and uninstall the Intel software, but please also raise a support case with your PC manufacturer so that they can escalate to Intel.
Jordan Krause | Microsoft MVP – Cloud and Datacenter Management