Direct Access Issues fixed with Dec. 2022 Updates

Windows[German]The security updates from November 8, 2022 for Windows, caused Direct Access connection issues. Microsoft had already confirmed this for Windows 10 and Windows 11 as of November 13, 2022, and wrote, that preview updates from October 2022 was the root cause of the problem. As an emergency measure, the problem created by the update could be rolled back via KIR. Now Microsoft has provided a final fix with the December 13, 2002 security updates.


Direct Access connection issues

As of ovember 8, 2022, yes, a number of security updates have been released for Windows versions in support. German blog reader Bembel pointed out early in a comment that there were issues with DirectAccess as a result of the November 2022 security updates for Windows. I had then reported in the post DirectAccess fails after Windows Updates from November 2022.

Microsoft had then subsequently confirmed these issues, see Microsoft confirms Direct Access issues after Nov. 2022 updates. In the Microsoft article Direct Access might be unable to reconnect after your device has connectivity issues, the following Windows client versions were listed as affected.

  • Windows 11, version 21H2, 22H2
  • Windows 10, version 20H2 – 22H2
  • Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2019

Of the server operating systems, Windows Server 2022 and Windows Server 2019 were affected. Below are the updates that I listed as the culprit in my blog post – later updates also contain the problematic fix.

  • KB5019509: Windows 11 22H2 (Oct. 18, 2022)
  • KB5018483: Windows 11 21H2 (Oct. 25, 2022)
  • KB5018485: Windows Server 2022 (Oct. 25.10.2022)
  • KB5018482: Windows 10 20H2 bis 22H2 (Oct. 25, 2022)
  • KB5019966: Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2019, Windows Server 2019 (Nov. 8, 2022)

The list shows that a fix rolled out with the preview updates in October 2022 was probably the cause. The fix was then widely distributed with the security updates in November 2022. As a workaround, a Know Issues Rollback (KIR) solution was provided to roll back the problematic fix.

Direct Access issues fixed

With the Dec. 2022 updates, fixes were then executed to address the Direct Access issue in various versions of Windows. I had already pointed out in the blog posts Patchday: Windows 10-Updates (December 13, 2022) and Patchday: Windows 11/Server 2022-Updates (December 13, 2022) that Direct Access was working again because Microsoft had fixed it.


In the meantime, Microsoft has confirmed in the post Direct Access might be unable to reconnect after your device has connectivity issues that Direct Access in the Windows versions listed above has been fixed with the December 2022 updates. So the issue is considered fixed as of December 8, 2022, and a KIR fix is no longer required. Only problem: The December 2022 patches cause their own issues (for example, with Hyper-V, see Windows Server 2019/2022: December 2022 security updates cause Hyper-V issues).

What is DirectAccess?

DirectAccess is a proprietary solution from Microsoft that was first introduced in Windows 7 / Windows Server 2008 R2, then improved in Windows 8.1 / Windows Server R2, but is also supported in current Windows versions. It is a VPN-like solution that transfers data via IPv6 using an IPsec tunnel. To access IPv4 servers, DirectAccess uses bridging technologies. Unlike VPN, Direct Access does not require user initiation of a connection, but automatically connects to the corporate network as soon as the computer starts up if a client is outside the corporate network. By automatically connecting clients to the network, it is possible to manage external computers for the enterprise.

Microsoft DirectAccess
DirectAccess, Source: Microsoft

When a client computer starts, it tries to reach the "Network Location Server" (NLS) (is a website accessible on the domain network, which can be served by any web server). Connections to corporate networks without domains are also possible. DirectAccess allows user-independent authentication of the device. Microsoft has provided this web page with information about DirectAccess.

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