Should you disable IPV6 on my SBS server? No!

Today, I learned something the hard way.  While most post on this blog are the result of research to meet an interesting challenge, today’s entry is the result of frustration.  I was troubleshooting my SBS 2008 server, and while running a self test in Exchange 2007 I saw an error with IPV6. 

I made the mistake not to do some research first.  I was in a hurry to fix any problems present – last week, I’ve seen more computer / server / software probems than in the past 3 months – so I thought it would be a smart move to disable the protocol on our NIC.  What damage could it do?  I’ve yet to see IPV6 in action, so I assumed that if it wouldn’t help, it wouldn’t hurt either. 

Don’t make that same mistake, my friends.  Shortly after I disabled the IPV6 protocol, all hell broke loose.  The Active Directory Services were failing; Exchange started failing, OWA started failing… I made another mistake by searching the solution in the wrong direction, and rebooted the server during the process. 

Big mistake.  The server got stuck during booting, on “Applying Computer Settings”.  Apparently, that’s what an SBS Server does when you kill some of it’s most critical services.  I quickly learned that disabling IPV6 on an SBS 2008 server is extremely dangerous.

Stopping IPV6 leads to multiple failing services, and will cause your server to hang during booting as a result

The solution

so, I had to re-enable IPV6.  The fastest – and probably only – way was to boot the server into Safe Mode with networking services enabled.  It’ll allow you to re-enable the protocol.  Start the server again, and give it some time.  Booting will take a few minutes longer than usual, but all your problems caused by disabling IPV6 should be fixed now. 

Can you disable IPV6?  Yes.  Should you? Absolutely NOT

I’m kind of dissapointed in MS on this one.  You’ve got to confirm every stupid action on your SBS 2008 server (“Do you REALLY want to add a printer?”), yet you can disable a crucial protocol with a single click, without being questioned.  Ugh.

4 thoughts on “Should you disable IPV6 on my SBS server? No!”

  1. Marco Cavazza

    Procedure to remove ipv6:

    1. Open Registry Editor.
    2. Locate the following registry subkey:HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Tcpip6\Parameters
    3. In the details pane, click New, and then click DWORD (32-bit) Value.
    4. Type DisabledComponents, and then press ENTER.
    5. Double-click DisabledComponents, and then type 0xffffffff in Hexadecimal or 4294967295 in Decimal.

    remove IPv6 entry from “hosts” file available at %systemroot%\system32\drivers\etc and create these line: localhost

    And If you plan to enable VPN on your server, you MUST also Export and then Delete the following registry key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\RemoteAccess\RouterManagers\Ipv6

    1. Marco,

      Thank you for that guide on disabling IPv6 on SBS 2008. In my opinion, however, there’s no reason to disable IPV6 on your SBS 2008 server.
      There’s nothing to win by disabling it. Maybe that’s the lazy admin in me, but why go through all those steps when doing ‘nothing’ in the first place leads
      to the same result?

      Still, good guide! 😀

  2. Actually, I’ve found that in order to run BES Express on SBS 2008 you have to disable IPv6. It seems to run correctly so far and has allowed me to use BB on SBS 2008. I used the registry method described in the Microsoft KB above.

    1. And by BES, you mean ‘Blackberry Enterprise Server Express’? I have yet to install that on a server (I had to Google it first), so I take your word for it. It’s kind of bothersome that a protocol that isn’t fully supported yet, is so tightly knitted into SBS 2008. Thanks for your input, I’ll make an update to the articlke ASAP 🙂

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