Home > Networking > How to Increase the 10 Connection Limit on a Windows LAN

How to Increase the 10 Connection Limit on a Windows LAN

August 22nd, 2009

LANLet’s say you have a network of more than ten Windows computers connected in a local workgroup without a domain controller. One of the computers has a printer connected to it, and more than ten machines in the workgroup need to print at the same time.

Well, you might say, “Dude, get a server!” or “Dude, get a print server!”

True, that would solve the problem… But sometimes, things like money and technical knowledge are limiting factors in such cases.

The good news: It’s actually really easy to increase the limit and get everybody printing/sharing files in a very short time!

Alrighty, first a few more words about Windows Networking. If a computer is running Windows XP Home, the max number of connections that can be made to/from that computer on the LAN is 5. If the machine is running XP Pro, Vista, etc. then the max is 10.

Also, you have to understand that the limit refers to connections, not number of computers. Technically, you can have a LAN with 500 Windows machines, and as long as no more than 10 computers are trying to connect to any other computer, everything will work okay. But you will still probably have a few headaches like when you browse Network Neighborhood, not all the computers will show up. That’s pretty annoying.

So now, here’s how you fix it:

First, type Win-R to open the “Run” dialog box, and type gpedit.msc.

At this point, one of two things will happen:

  1. You have a fancier version of Windows, so a nice management console will pop up.
  2. You have a less fancy version of Windows, so it will give you an error message.

If you see the management window, then navigate thisaway:

Computer Config -> Windows Settings -> Security Settings -> Local Policies -> Security Option

And set Interactive Logon to 50 (the maximum) or 0 (i.e. disable caching completely)

If you get the error message instead of the management window, then do the following:

  • Type Win-R
  • Type regedt32 and hit Enter
  • Search for the following entry:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\CachedLogonsCount
  • Change CachedLogonsCount to 50 (the max) or 0 (disabled)
  • Close the Registry Editor

Repeat on each machine on the network just for good measure, et voila! You’re done.

I’ve used this trick before on multi-version Windows networks, and it works like a charm. It’s also a heckuva lot easier than setting up a server, and cheaper than buying a standalone print server of some kind.

Finally, note that for Windows versions without gpedit.msc, you can download an Excel file with the corresponding registry entries to edit in Vista (entries are usually the same in other versions of Windows).

Have fun!

Expanding your network? I recommend D-Link gigabit switches, and TP-LINK routers!

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  1. Guy Sparrow
    November 22nd, 2009 at 12:31 | #1

    Brilliant – have just the symptoms as you laid out. Not sure if this is in breach of Microsoft Licence.

  2. woodstock
    January 27th, 2010 at 11:52 | #2

    tried to do it on VISTA 32. Not working :(
    The registry key is set to 20, but the pc give me a limit of 10 pc connected…
    any ideas??

  3. MSH
    March 30th, 2010 at 15:41 | #3

    Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. In other words, don’t do this.

    Workgroups are insecure by nature, and if you have to enforce any kind of security in a workgroup then you are in a world of high-maintenance hurt. You have to keep passowrds and user groups and all that in sync, or else you have to have people sharing passwords.

    Also, at least at one point (and I think it is still the case), there isn’t just a technical limit imposed. Without a domain controller you are violating the license agreement of WinXP Pro, Vista and 7 if you make these OSes do more than 10 connections at a time.

    Of course, if you don’t care about security then there are chances you don’t care about breaking the law either and you are using cracked software ;-)

    If you are too broke to buy a computer with Windows server on it then use some old junk PC with Linux on it running Samba and you can save a few hundred bucks. Don’t give me crap about Linux being hard either–I’ve set up Windows AND samba domains and samba ain’t any harder these days with OSes like Ubuntu and Mandriva (I’ve done it on both of those OSes without opening a command promt at all). Since it is pretty common practice to do this and there isn’t any language in MSFT EULA’s that says you have to use THEIR server oses to do domains, then I think this option is far more solid. Might not have full group policy capabilities w/ samba, but at least you can manage security better.

  4. March 31st, 2010 at 09:28 | #4

    Vey useful dude……..
    thanks very much…how long i am facing this problem.
    once again thanks.

  5. April 12th, 2010 at 12:06 | #5

    hey all
    really useful tut but its not working with me
    i just went to know if its necessary to config all the pc’s on the lan or just the admin pc ?
    another thing :p
    if som1 knows how or a program to distribute a file over all the lan computers
    thx

    • April 12th, 2010 at 19:28 | #6

      I made the change to all the puters on the LAN, and that fixed the problem of not having all the computers show up in Network Neighborhood.

      Dunno about your second question though!

  6. Fay
    July 2nd, 2010 at 04:30 | #7

    what about Win 2000 server….

    • July 2nd, 2010 at 15:14 | #8

      Not sure about Win2k server. Don’t know much about it, although I think the server versions are far more restrictive since they want you to pay lots more money for a server that can handle more connections. I could be wrong, though!

  7. Ryan
    December 20th, 2010 at 20:24 | #9

    Hey, thanks a bunch. I couldn’t find a solution anywhere online for this issue after many pages of google results. This was a quick, easy fix. I only wanted to allow all the users on our network to access a 2TB harddrive on our ‘server’ computer and was able to do so by only editing the ‘server’s settings.

    Anyway, thanks for saving me $1000!

  8. Alan Yuan
    March 15th, 2011 at 09:44 | #10

    HI, why I can’t see the comments ?

    Btw, I tried this method in my XP server, then I found that in “Computer management”, I can adjust the max users to 20 of the shared resources, however, after 10 computers connect to the server, the 11 will still cannot access the shared folder. It seems no hope. I also install the “Event4226 Patch”, any idea ?

    I haven’t set all the workstations to this method, since some computers haven’t gpedit.msc, I can’t download from yr site. please help, thanks !!

    • March 15th, 2011 at 18:08 | #11

      Hmm. I can’t seem to find that XLS file any more. You could just try searching the registry for “CachedLogonsCount”. I’m not sure if that’s correct, because I don’t have a Vista machine anymore to try it out.

  9. November 24th, 2011 at 02:58 | #12

    Very useful tip…I used this when the each client can’t print to the shared printer in one of the workstation here at the office.

  10. T
    August 15th, 2012 at 19:08 | #13

    cached logons has nothing to do with how many users can connect to a shared network resource. It only controls how many domain user profiles are stored locally, so that after you log into the domain once, if you cant connect to the domain later you are still able to login. The limit is 50 user profiles. There is a 20 user limit for connections to network resources and is controlled in the share settings for that folder. There might be a way to work around it but this isnt it.

    • August 15th, 2012 at 19:24 | #14

      Be that as it may, it still fixed my problem! Go figure.

  11. Bill W.
    September 6th, 2012 at 20:41 | #15

    @MSH
    Actually it is not “breaking the law” to do this. Microsoft is a corporation not a government entity. So, they do not have the power to create law when they write their user agreements. Doing this simply violates the license agreement, which is not law.

    The real issue, if it ever gets to court, is whether or not you intend to, or actually, deprived Microsoft of their just due. (Payment for a license.)

  12. June 10th, 2013 at 02:30 | #16

    I’m about to set this up on our hospital’s network. I have a Windows server (2003 OS). Way too many headaches and overhead to keep it continuously running. Latest MS firewall auto updated and blocked every PC from accessing the practice management software (PMS) we run on the server. We use a common user account login on all 10 PCs. It’s the PMS that we log into with unique IDs. One of the notes above indicated that with all the user logins and passwords, this was a bad idea. I’m just commenting that there are possibly other scenarios where a small business has a single user login to get onto the Domain, then uses unique ID’s for their management software.

  13. Mohammad Akram
    August 4th, 2013 at 08:35 | #17

    I did it in windows 7 32bit it was not working..

  14. Sriram N
    August 29th, 2013 at 17:03 | #18

    You saved my day ! Thanks

  15. David Matarasso
    April 11th, 2014 at 15:22 | #19

    Hi, I am wondering if this solution still works with Windows 7 pcs and Windows 8 pcs?
    Have you tried this with those OS’es.
    In addition, generally, is this still a solution that works?
    It is a big headache when I max out at t10 simultaneous connections and the 11th person cannot get in.
    I now have a mix of xp, win 7, and win 8 in my network

  16. David Matarasso
    April 11th, 2014 at 16:31 | #21

    Thank you very much.
    I noticed just now, when I went to one of my Windows 7 machines, and one of my Windows 8 machines, that the default registry setting, before I change it, is still 10.

    I had expected it to say 20, because I keep reading everywhere that the max sessions in windows 7 was increased from 10 to 20. Does that make sense to you that the registry entry still says 10 and not 20? Or does that mean I am looking at the wrong registry entry?

    This is enormously helpful and useful … I have looking to see how to overcome the limit for years and have never found an answer until I found your site.

    Thank you again.

    • April 11th, 2014 at 20:31 | #22

      I’ve never understood that either, because it always says 10. Somebody told me the setting I mention is not doing what I think it’s doing, which is entirely possible. But, nevertheless it works, so it must be doing something good.

  17. Daniel
    August 29th, 2014 at 10:36 | #23

    Does not work. open a command prompt and type: net config server. you will see the actual number of users that are equal to 10. sorry.

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