Windows Firewall/Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) (SharedAccess) Service Defaults in Windows XP

Provides network address translation, addressing, name resolution and/or intrusion prevention services for a home or small office network.

Default Settings

Startup type:
Windows XP HomeManual
Windows XP ProfessionalManual
Windows XP Home SP1Manual
Windows XP Professional SP1Manual
Windows XP Home SP2Automatic
Windows XP Professional SP2Automatic
Windows XP Home SP3Automatic
Windows XP Professional SP3Automatic
Display name:Windows Firewall/Internet Connection Sharing (ICS)
Service name:SharedAccess
Service type:share
Error control:normal
Path:%SystemRoot%\system32\svchost.exe -k netsvcs
Registry key:HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\SharedAccess

Default Behavior

Windows Firewall/Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) is a Win32 service. It won't start until the current user starts it in all editions of Windows XP SP0, Windows XP SP1. This service is starting automatically along with the operating system in all editions of Windows XP SP2, Windows XP SP3.

When the Windows Firewall/Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) service is started, it is running as LocalSystem in a shared process of svchost.exe. Other services and drivers are allowed to run in the same process. If the Windows Firewall/Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) fails to start, the technical information about the error is added to the Event Log. Windows XP startup should proceed, but a message box should be displayed informing the user that the SharedAccess service has failed to start.


Windows Firewall/Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) depends on the following system components:

Restore Default Startup Configuration of Windows Firewall/Internet Connection Sharing (ICS)

Before you begin doing this, make sure that all the services on which Windows Firewall/Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) depends are configured by default and function properly. See the list of dependencies above.

1. Run the Command Prompt.

2. Depending on the version of your operating system, copy the commands below, paste them into the command window and press ENTER.

For Windows XP SP0 Home, Windows XP SP0 Professional, Windows XP SP1 Home, Windows XP SP1 Professional:
sc config SharedAccess start= demand

For Windows XP SP2 Home, Windows XP SP2 Professional, Windows XP SP3 Home, Windows XP SP3 Professional:
sc config SharedAccess start= auto
sc start SharedAccess

3. Close the command window and restart the computer.

The SharedAccess service is using the ipnathlp.dll file that is located in the C:\Windows\System32 directory. If the file is removed or corrupted, read this article to restore its original version from Windows XP installation media.