Microsoft Games: Troubleshoot multiplayer issues

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Article ID: 819836 - View products that this article applies to.
Important This article contains information that shows you how to help lower security settings or how to turn off security features on a computer. You can make these changes to work around a specific problem. Before you make these changes, we recommend that you evaluate the risks that are associated with implementing this workaround in your particular environment. If you implement this workaround, take any appropriate additional steps to help protect the computer.
Important These steps may increase your security risk. These steps may also make the computer or the network more vulnerable to attack by malicious users or by malicious software such as viruses. We recommend the process that this article describes to enable programs to operate as they are designed to or to implement specific program capabilities. Before you make these changes, we recommend that you evaluate the risks that are associated with implementing this process in your particular environment. If you decide to implement this process, take any appropriate additional steps to help protect the system. We recommend that you use this process only if you really require this process.

Warning This workaround may make a computer or a network more vulnerable to attack by malicious users or by malicious software such as viruses. We do not recommend this workaround but are providing this information so that you can implement this workaround at your own discretion. Use this workaround at your own risk.
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SUMMARY

This article describes how to troubleshoot most of the known multiplayer issues in the Microsoft games that are listed in the "Applies to" section. If the methods in this article do not resolve the issue, the network setup may be configured incorrectly. Microsoft Games Product Support does not provide support for configuring your personal network, Internet service provider (ISP), firewall or routers. If you suspect that your personal network, ISP, firewall or router is the cause of your issue, contact the manufacturer of your hardware or software, or the provider of your Internet services for more information.

When you try to start or play the games that are listed in the "Applies to" section, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
  • You cannot connect to an online game site or session.
  • You cannot join a multiplayer game.
  • You cannot host a multiplayer game.
  • You are disconnected from a multiplayer game session.
  • You receive an error message when you try to play or connect to a multiplayer session.
  • You may experience slow performance during a multiplayer game.

RESOLUTION

To troubleshoot this problem, use the following methods in the order in which they are presented.

Method 1: Restart the computer by using a clean startup

When you start Microsoft Windows, other software may start together with the operating system. These programs may include antivirus software and system programs that can interfere with the game. When you perform a clean restart procedure, you prevent these programs from starting automatically. You must be logged on as an administrator or as a member of the Administrators group to complete this procedure. If the computer is connected to a network, network policy settings may also prevent you from completing this procedure.

For more information about how to perform a clean boot, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
331796 Perform a clean startup to determine whether background programs are interfering with your game or program

Method 2: Disable firewall or antivirus programs

Warning This workaround may make your computer or your network more vulnerable to attack by malicious users or by malicious software such as viruses. We do not recommend this workaround, but are providing this information so that you can implement this workaround at your own discretion. Use this workaround at your own risk.

The game may have problems connecting to multiplayer services if you have an antivirus program or a firewall program installed. For example, firewall programs that allow access or block access to the Internet on a per-program basis, such as Zone Alarm, MacAfee Personal Firewall, Norton Internet Security, Black Ice Defender, and so on.

To determine whether the problem is occurring because of antivirus software or a firewall, temporarily disable your antivirus or firewall software. Contact the program manufacturer to help you disable the program. Icons for these programs may appear in the Notification area in the lower-right corner of the screen. You may be able to disable the program by using these icons.

If disabling the firewall resolves the issue, contact the firewall software manufacturer for instructions about how to configure your firewall to work with your game or simulation. See the "References" section in this article for links to other articles that contain ways to contact hardware and software manufacturers.

Method 3: Bypass the router

If you connect to the Internet by using a router, there may be a problem with the configuration settings that requires that the settings be updated. To determine whether a network connectivity problem is caused by a misconfiguration or by a problem that affects the router, try bypassing the router by connecting your computer directly to the modem. Remember that this test only verifies that the router is configured correctly. If the game connects to the Internet without a problem when you bypass the router, reconnect router immediately, and then contact the router manufacturer or your ISP for help to configure the router correctly.

Method 4: Download and install Microsoft DirectX

We recommend that all participating players use the same version of DirectX. To download and install the latest version of DirectX, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/directx/default.mspx
If you have the most recent version of DirectX installed, reinstall DirectX after you perform a clean restart on the computer. For information about how to restart the computer by using a clean restart procedure, see the “Restart the computer by using a clean restart” section in this article.

Method 5: Open the required ports

Certain ports may be required to connect to the game server that you want to reach.

To view the specific ports that your game requires, search the Microsoft Knowledge Base by using the game name and the keyword "ports."

Different routers and firewalls can be configured to either allow or block a port. Because there are many kinds of routers and firewalls, you should contact your ISP, or firewall or router manufacturer to make sure that the required ports for that game are open.

You can find many third-party Web sites that provide “test ports” or “port scanning” tools to determine whether the appropriate ports are open in your system. To locate these sites, search on the keywords "port scanning tool."
Note In a client/server environment, port configurations can be changed only by a network administrator.

Method 6: Run the Internet Connectivity Evaluation Tool

The Microsoft Internet Connectivity Evaluation Tool runs several tests to make sure that you are connected correctly to the Internet. To use the toll, visit the following Web site:
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/using/tools/igd/default.mspx
Follow the instructions on the Web site to test your connectivity.

Additional information

The following information describes network configurations and the problems that may affect the configurations.

Internet Connection Firewall (ICF)

The latest version of Microsoft Windows includes ICF software that you can use to restrict the information that is communicated between the Internet and your home or small office network. ICF also helps protect a single computer that is connected to the Internet through a cable modem, a DSL modem, or a dial-up modem. Do not enable the firewall on any connection that does not directly connect to the Internet. ICF is not required if the network already has a firewall or proxy server.

For more information about Internet Connection Firewall in Windows XP, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
283673 How can I turn on or turn off the firewall in Windows XP Service Pack 2 or later versions?
For more information about Internet Connection Firewall, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
320855 Description of the Windows XP Internet Connection Firewall

Wireless connection

Depending on the distances involved, the construction of your home, and sources of interference, you may not experience the best performance from a wireless network connection. For basic information about the quality of your connection, follow these steps:
  1. Open Network Connections. To view the status of a network connection, follow these steps:
    1. Click Start
      Collapse this imageExpand this image
      Start button
      , and then click Control Panel.
    2. Click Network and Internet, click Network and Sharing Center, and then click Manage network connections.
  2. Double-click the network connection that you want to check.
  3. Note the status in the Connection pane.
For more information about how to troubleshoot a wireless network connection, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
313242 Two resources to troubleshoot network connection problems in Windows XP

Dial-up connection

Contact your modem or computer manufacturer to obtain the latest driver update for your modem. See the "References" section in this article for more information about how to contact the manufacturer of your hardware. If the issue continues to occur, try another ISP. There are many free ISPs available on the Internet.

Note If you use a dial-up connection, and if the procedures in this article do not resolve the issue, you may have to use a faster Internet connection. DSL or cable connections are a great way for users to see better or faster performance.

UPnP-compliant network

UPnP is more than only a simple extension of the Plug and Play peripheral model. It supports zero-configuration networking that you cannot see, and automatic discovery for a breadth of device categories from different vendors. With UPnP, a device can dynamically join a network, obtain an IP address, communicate its capabilities, and determine the presence and capabilities of other devices. This is done automatically, enabling true zero-configuration networks.

UPnP lets devices communicate with one other directly. This may enable peer-to-peer networking. If you are buying new hardware, look for the UPnP logo on the box. If you have UPnP hardware as part of your existing network, confirm that it is enabled in the settings, or contact the manufacturer for more information. For more information about Internet Connection Sharing, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
234815 Description of Internet Connection Sharing
Note A firewall helps protect the computer from attack by malicious users or by malicious software, such as viruses that use unsolicited incoming network traffic to attack the computer. Before you disable your firewall, you must disconnect the computer from all networks and from the Internet.
The third-party products that are discussed in this article are manufactured by companies that are independent of Microsoft. Microsoft makes no warranty, implied or otherwise, regarding the performance or reliability of these products.

REFERENCES

For information about how to contact your hardware manufacturer, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://support.microsoft.com/gp/vendors
Microsoft provides third-party contact information to help you find technical support. This contact information may change without notice. Microsoft does not guarantee the accuracy of this third-party contact information. To learn more about troubleshooting games in Windows Vista, follow the instructions in the "Troubleshoot game problems" topic in Windows Vista Help and Support. To view the topic, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start
    Collapse this imageExpand this image
    Start button
    , and then click Help and Support.
  2. In the Search Help box, type Troubleshoot game problems, and then click Search Help.
  3. Click the appropriate topic.

Properties

Article ID: 819836 - Last Review: September 28, 2011 - Revision: 31.0
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Keywords: 
dftsdahomeportal kbnetwork kbhowto kb3rdparty kbinfo KB819836

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