›› Network Location Awareness (NLA)

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Today computers are often mobile and are connected to one or more networks at varying locations. Since many computer programs rely on network connections, like simple mail client applications, it is a problem when users expect applications to work flawlessly from one location to the next, but with differing network environments. The Network Location Awareness (NLA) service allows applications that make use of network resources to identify available networks and retrieve up-to-date network information. Through this service, applications are able to choose the network, based on the information that NLA has retrieved, that will suit its tasks best. It effectively eliminates the need for applications to randomly choose just any network connection. The Network Location Awareness service has made it easy for software developers to make their programs network aware and thus, more user-friendly.

In case all of this is still a little fuzzy, let's try an example. First, let's say that you have a laptop that travels from home to work and back again. On your laptop is a download manager application that is network aware and makes use of the NLA to retrieve network information. You decide to download some files from your home that only has one dial-up connection. This is when the Network Location Awareness service kicks in and retrieves the network characteristics and delivers it to the download manager so that it knows it only has one network to download files.

A few hours later, you take your laptop to work. Suddenly, the NLA can detect that a dial-up network, a wireless network, and a corporate network are all available for use. When you start up your download manager, the NLA will deliver all of the network information to the application to decide which network will work best for what it is currently doing. The download manager decides that it will use the corporate network to download files because it has the fastest speeds. In this way, applications become "intelligent" and better able to do their jobs.

Setting this service's startup type to Manual is particularly important if your computer is connected to a network(s), if you move between different networks, you use software that is network dependent, or if you have the Internet Connection Firewall (ICF)/Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) service enabled. Only Disable this service if your computer is not hooked up to a network, you do not use any software that is network dependent, or have the ICF/ICS enabled.

Service Name Nla
Display Name Network Location Awareness (NLA)
Executable File Name svchost.exe
Dependencies None
Reciprocal Dependencies Internet Connection Firewall (ICF)/Internet Connection Sharing (ICS)
Default Startup Type Manual
Recommended Startup Type Manual

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