Solution for an empty “Network Connections” in Windows

Yesterday, I had to do some work on our Forefront Threat Management Gateway machine. When I brought up the TMG console, it gave me a strange error: “Refresh failed” with an error code of 0x80004005. It was inexplicable. A few days earlier, we noticed that the “Network Connections” in control panel showed no connections at all, but ipconfig showed them as expected. I ended up placing a call to Microsoft support. They suspected that the TMG console issue was caused by the inability to enumerate the network connections, and I was inclined to agree. Their specialist for these things said that there’s a registry key which sometimes gets corrupted, and you can delete it and reboot the server to fix the issue. After carefully reviewing to ensure that nothing else was the issue, that’s just what we did. After the reboot, the network connections showed, and the TMG console issues were solved as well. To do this fix yourself (the usual disclaimer: back up your registry before editing!), look up the following key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Network and delete the “Config” value.


7 thoughts on “Solution for an empty “Network Connections” in Windows”

  1. Unfortunate that I read this article after I had a similar problem with a corrupted VM this weekend. The OS was Windows XP so I chanced it and re-installed Windows XP to fix the problem. This worked as well.

    I would have rather liked to have something similar so that I could have avoided all of this mess.

  2. Absolutely brilliant!

    Thank you for chasing this problem down. I’ve been searching for hours for a solution to this problem, (no icons in the Network and Sharing Center appellate), and your fix worked perfectly.

    Thanks Justin.

  3. This one did not work for me. I uninstalled the NIC and re-installed it. The network Incerface re-appeared in the console. Happy days!

  4. Thank you J.Ja, you are a life saver. Your solution works on a W2K8 SP2 server after the network connection comes up empty. Loaded an Intel X520-T2 NIC on the server and rebooted it, uninstalled the NIC driver and rebooted the server to get stuck in this problem.

  5. Using Windows Server 2003 , Cannot see any Networking Icons in Network Connections , also when i try to access the connections Tab , Error c:\windows\system32\shell32.dll

    Hello ,

    Using Windows Server 2003 , the Problem since last 1 week, very frustated.

    Cannot see any Networking Icons in Network Connections , Icons do appear in Networking Safe Mode , becasue of same i cannot connect to Internet . Have run Anti Virus software , no use , also have uninstalled Network adapters and resinstalled them , No use . In Networking Safe mode icons do appear .
    Also when i try to access the connections Tab, doesnot open with Exception , Error c:\windows\system32\shell32.dllcontrol_run dll c:\windows\system32\inetcpl.cpl.
    Have tried all steps in article ID 825826 not helping,
    – Cached – Similar
    Can some help to fix this issue .

    Plz reply on my email :

    Thanks & Regards

    Rohit Bahl

  6. This helped for my VM Server 2K8 R2.
    The reason was the ungracefull shutdown of the Host machine.
    Hopefully only this VM server suffered.

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