Installation and Upgrade

Frequently Asked Questions

Bugs, glitches, and other problems

Additional support resources

To find additional questions and answers, and/or to ask your own questions, see the AUTAPF Support Forum.

To see a quick example of how to use this program, click Here.


How do I import my old settings or port forwards?

There are various methods of importing old settings and port forwards. Different methods apply to different scenarios.

If a previous version is already installed, then choosing the Import settings from previous version installation option during installation will automatically install the new version with the previous settings.

.NAS settings file location when the program is installed normally:
Program Files Settings File Location

.NAS settings file location outside of Program Files (portable mode):
AppData Settings File Location

If the new version is being installed manually instead of using the built-in installer, then the old version's .NAS file can be copied to the C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Roaming\NetworkActiv AUTAPF folder and renamed based on the new version number. For example, if you previously had version 1.1.2 installed, it would normally have a settings file called NetworkActivAUTAPFv1.1.NAS located in the program's Program Files subfolder. If upgrading manually in this case to version 2.0, the aforementioned settings file would be copied to C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Roaming\NetworkActiv AUTAPF and renamed to NetworkActivAUTAPFv2.0.NAS. Note that version 1.1 and older stored their settings in their Program Files subfolders while version 2.0 and higher store the settings in C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Roaming\NetworkActiv AUTAPF, with one important exception: When the program is run from outside of Program Files, the settings are stored in the same folder as the executable file.

Copying PFOs to the clipboard (version 2.0 and higher):
Copying PFOs to clipboard

Pasting the copied PFOs into a text editor:
Pasting the PFO text

Pasting the PFOs into AUTAPF:
Pasting the PFOs into AUTAPF

If the new version has already been installed and configured, the old PFOs (port forwards) can be copied into the new installation by copying the old PFO entries into the clipboard and pasting them into the new version via the PFO menu, by choosing Paste PFOs from clipboard. If the previous version is 2.0 or higher, then the PFOs can be copied to the clipboard via the Copy all PFOs to clipboard option in the PFO menu. If the previous version is 1.1 or older, then the PFOs will need to be copied from their old .NAS settings file using a text editor (such as Notepad). Those lines beginning with PFO are the PFOs. It may sound tricky, but really all you need to do is copy the text containing the PFO lines to the clipboard and then use the option in AUTAPF to paste the PFOs. They will be added to the list of PFOs from the clipboard. Be careful not to paste the PFOs multiple times unless you want multiple instances of the same port forwards.

Copying or pasting PFOs from .NAS file using a text editor:
Viewing .NAS file in Notepad

Alternatively, PFOs can be copied from one .NAS file to another -- of the same or a newer version. Naturally, the program should not be running during this procedure as the .NAS file is likely to be overwritten upon program exit.

How do I use this program?

Make sure you follow the below steps very carefully:

  1. Download program.
  2. Run the program.
  3. Examine the user interface.
  4. Realize there is a button titled New.
  5. Press the button titled New.
  6. Realize a new dialog window has come into view.
  7. Examine this dialog window, then think for a while.
  8. Realize the new dialog is a form with settings (entry fields).
  9. Fill out this form (the one which has recently come into view).
  10. Realize there is a button titled OK.
  11. Press the button titled OK.
  12. If the program states a field to have not been filled out correctly, think for a while, then continue from step 7.
  13. Realize there is a button titled Start.
  14. Press the button titled Start.
  15. If the status indicator located at the left side of the list item indicates Error starting, realize there is a button titled Edit, press the button titled Edit, and then continue from step 6 but fill the form out differently when you again arrive at step 9 (that is, if you make it there).
  16. Try using application(s) and/or multiplayer game(s) for which you have set up port forwarding (contact the respective technical support team(s) if necessary (this does not include NetworkActiv)).
  17. If it seems as though the newly set up port forwarding is not working correctly, think for a while, then realize there is a button titled Edit, press the button titled Edit, and continue from step 6 but fill the form out differently when you again arrive at step 9 (that is, if you make it there).
  18. If things are still not working out and you believe you have set up the port forwarding correctly, think about your other network settings and arrangements, fix them if you see fit, then continue from the correct step.
  19. If all seems to work well with the newly set up port forwarding, be thankful.

Congratulations! You have now set up port forwarding.

How do I know which ports are available or in use?

Use Microsoft's free utility, TCPView (linked below), to see in real-time which ports are in use and by which processes. This tool can be very useful for diagnosing Error starting messages in AUTAPF.

Why does the Status state Error starting?

This means NetworkActiv AUTAPF was unable to listen on the selected local interface IP address and/or local port.

Follow these guidelines:

  1. Make sure the selected local interface IP address is valid: You can do this on the configuration dialog for the selected entry (right-click and choose Edit). Currently available local interface IP addresses show in the Local interface IP address drop-down list.
  2. Make sure the selected local port is not in use (by another instance of AUTAPF, or by any other program). See How do I know which ports are available or in use? for help.
  3. For certain protocols and/or ports, you may need to be logged-on with an Administrative user account.

How do I resolve Error starting with a UDP port when is in use?

If there is already a process on the system listening on a particular UDP port on the catch-all interface, AUTAPF can still bind to a specific network interface on that port. To accomplish this feat, simply enable the checkbox titled Allow local interface addresses to be re-used, available through the Advanced options button on the Port forwarding options window.

Click Advanced options

How do I configure AUTAPF while it is running as a Windows Service?

On Windows Vista, 7, and 8, services may not be allowed to directly access the normal desktop. This is because the services are running on session 0, separate from the standard login, which runs on session 1.

You may, however, be able to access session 0. Depending on your current system and AUTAPF configuration, accessing session 0 may require a few changes. Note the following requirements:

  1. The NetworkActiv AUTAPF service must have the Allow service to interact with desktop option enabled. This option is accessible by right-clicking the AUTAPF service in the Windows Services Manager and choosing Properties, and then going to the Log On tab.
  2. The Interactive Services Detection service, which is part of Windows, must be running. This service can be found either under the Services tab of the Windows Task Manager, or in the Windows Services Manager (available through Control Panel). Its short name is UI0Detect. If this service fails to start successfully, giving the error Error 1: Incorrect Function, it means that Interactive Services Detection has been disabled in the Windows registry, which may be the default on Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012. Proceed at your own discretion and risk when re-enabling this feature (click here for details). To re-enable it, set the following registry value to 0 instead of 1, and then reboot the system.
  3. AUTAPF must be configured to NOT hide in the system tray upon startup. To check this, stop the AUTAPF service, and then run AUTAPF as an application via its shortcut. Be sure to right-click the AUTAPF shortcut and choose Run as administrator so that your settings will be saved successfully. Once AUTAPF is open, go to the Settings menu and choose Miscellaneous; and make sure that Start the program minimized is not checked. Once done changing this setting (if needed), exit AUTAPF and restart the service.

Once the above requirements have been satisfied, you may proceed to configure the AUTAPF service in session 0. To access session 0, simply run the following command at the Command Prompt:

For ease-of-use, you may want to create a batch file for switching to session 0. Alternatively, you may download one here. Be sure not to minimise AUTAPF on session 0 since this will make the window inaccessible. When you are done changing settings, you may want to stop the Interactive Services Detection service, which can be done using the Windows Task Manager.

When running as a Windows Service, any changes I make to the configuration don't take effect. What's wrong?

This is normal.

The nature of this problem is that when you run the program while the Windows Service instance of AUTAPF is running, there are technically two instances running, in which case the later one (AUTAPF started manually) will probably not be able to listen on the ports - since they're being listened on by the service instance of AUTAPF. This would be indicated by Error starting in the Status field of AUTAPF when run manually in this case for those ports which are already being listened on by the service instance of AUTAPF.

When logged-on to Windows through Terminal Services (or running AUTAPF on a Windows version higher than XP) and running AUTAPF as a Windows Service, you may not see the AUTAPF icon in the System Tray, even though AUTAPF is running (as a Windows Service). To be able to configure AUTAPF in this case, you would need to either log-in to the machine via another means (not Terminal Services) and configure AUTAPF, or you would need to stop the AUTAPF service, start the program manually and configure it, then preferably close the program, and start the AUTAPF service again so that the service instance can load the latest settings from the settings file.

Also to note is that the settings are stored in a file named after the executable but ending in .NAS. Be sure that the instance you run manually is of the same executable file as the instance running as a Windows Service. This is the case by default, but if you have installed AUTAPF more than once, it may not be. You can check which executable is run as a service by right-clicking the service entry in the Windows Services Manager (Start->Settings->Control Panel->Administrative Tools->Services) and choosing Properties. You can check which executable is run manually by right-clicking its shortcut and choosing Properties. Make sure that they are in the same folder-path and named the same.

When I start AUTAPF, my previous settings are all gone; what is wrong?

NetworkActiv AUTAPF saves your settings when the program is closed via File->Exit, right-click Close, or the standard X. The settings are saved in a file located in the same folder as the executable and so it is necessary that AUTAPF have write access to this location.

AUTAPF may be unable to save your settings successfully if it is run from a write-protected location, such as from a CD ROM.

On newer versions of Microsoft Windows, such as Windows 8, the default user account does not give AUTAPF the permission to change its settings file, so the settings will not be saved upon restarting AUTAPF. To resolve this issue, simply run AUTAPF as Administrator. This can be accomplished by right-clicking on the installed AUTAPF shortcut and choosing Run as administrator from the drop-down menu.

When the program is running (configured and already started) as a Windows Service, it is important to remember that starting AUTAPF from its shortcut will actually start a new instance of the program. This act can create a troublesome situation since both instances (both the service and the app) will be saving to the same settings file, but at different times, leading the settings file to reflect the settings from the instance closed most recently.

I wish for the program to be automatically started, listening, and minimized when I log on to my computer. How would this be accomplished?

With service installation (Windows NT/2000 or higher)
  1. Either install the program with the Install NetworkActiv AUTAPF as a Windows service option selected, or run the program and go to Settings->Miscellaneous and enable the This program is installed as a Windows service option (and then click the Okay button).
  2. Start the program (unless it's already started).
  3. Go to the Settings menu, and choose Miscellaneous.
  4. [Old version only] Make sure the check box titled Automatically start previously running port forwarding operations is checked.
  5. Make sure the check box titled Start program minimized is checked.
  6. Additionally, if you wish for the program to startup minimized to the System Tray, also check the boxes titled Show icon in System Tray and Hide taskbar button when minimized.
  7. Press the OK button.
  8. Close the program if you started it via its shortcut (in the Start Menu, in the Quick-Launch, on the Desktop, etc.).
  9. In the Windows Services Manager, available through Start->Settings>Control Panel>Administrative Tools>Services, find NetworkActiv AUTAPF Service in the list of services, right-click its entry and choose Properties and then set the Startup type (on the General tab) to Automatic and press the Start button (on the dialog) if it's not already started (and then click the OK button and close the Windows Services Manager).
  10. The program should now start when Windows boots up, start the previously running port forwarding operations (if the interface(s) and port(s) are available), and minimize itself; All in automation.
Without service installation (such as on Windows 95/98/ME)
  1. Either install the program (choosing to create a start-menu shortcut), or manually create a shortcut to the permanent location of the executable.
  2. Copy the shortcut to your start-menu's Programs\Startup\ folder. This may be done by drag and drop.
  3. If you have installed the program, skip to step number 7.
  4. Right-click on the shortcut and choose Properties.
  5. In the Shortcut tab (default), locate the field titled Target.
  6. Without altering the quoted executable path, append (add to the end (after the last quote)) a space followed by "-NoInstall" (excluding the quotes).
  7. Run the program (unminimize if necessary).
  8. Go to the Settings menu, and choose Miscellaneous.
  9. [Old version only] Make sure the check box titled Automatically start previously running port forwarding operations is checked.
  10. Make sure the check box titled Start program minimized is checked.
  11. Additionally, if you wish for the program to startup minimized to the System Tray, also check the boxes titled Show icon in System Tray and Hide taskbar button when minimized.
  12. Press the OK button.
  13. The program should now start when you log on, start the previously running port forwarding operations, and minimize itself; All in automation.

Can I have AUTAPF forward (redirect) a range of ports?

Not exactly, the only way to accomplish this would be to explicitly create a port forwarding operation for each port in the range. With the later versions of AUTAPF, this can be accomplished more easily via a text-editor and the .NAS settings file. Do note, however, that it's not recommended to have more than several hundred port forwarding operations in a single instance of the program. To do this, first create a PFO in AUTAPF to see the format, and then copy and paste in the text-editor program (after you close AUTAPF). Be sure to include any invisible tabs that might be on the PFO line made by AUTAPF.

Are there any command line options (switches)?

Yes, run AUTAPF with the command line option -? for a list of available command line options.

Are there any known bugs and/or issues?

Yes, there are a couple of known issues:

1. [Outdated] When the program is started, the previous settings and previously set up port forwarding operations are not restored. To resolve this problem, set up the port forwarding operations as you wish, then set up the other settings as you wish, then close the program by choosing File--Exit. When you have done this, the program should have saved the settings and port forwarding operations to the main settings file located with the executable file. Next time you start the program, the settings and port forwarding operations should be restored. If they are not, try deleting the .NAS extension file located in the same directory as the executable, and then proceeding from the first mentioned step.

2. The program seems to not be forwarding the TCP traffic. It seems as though the client connects but never receives the data sent by the server. A known cause of this problem is having your MTU (Maximum Transmission Unit) set too high (or not having one set). To resolve the problem, set the MTU of the server system and possibly of the client system to be 1500 bytes or less. Various programs are available for this task, or you may set it directly using the Windows(c) Registry Editor (NOTICE, use the registry editor at your own risk, damage may occur if used improperly, such damage may require you to re-install Windows(c) before the system is again usable). The location of this setting in the Windows(c) 2000/XP registry is HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SYSTEM \ CurrentControlSet \ Services \ Tcpip \ Parameters \ Interfaces \ [Interface GUID]. In the GUID subkey of the adapter you wish to modify, create a REG_DWORD Value named MTU (if one does not already exist). Then, set the value of this Value to 1500 (Decimal) for Ethernet / non-PPPoE Cable / non-PPPoE DSL / Other non-PPPoE broadband connections, 1492 (Decimal) for PPPoE Broadband connections (contact your Broadband provider to determine if your connection uses PPPoE), or 576 (Decimal) for dial-up connections. Please note, the system must be re-booted before the MTU setting(s) take effect.

3. Windows 7 (and higher) users: The current version of AUTAPF, (v1.1.2) as of this writing, does not properly support binding interfaces based on MAC addresses. The interfaces may show up but will appear Unavailable (and hence unusable) even when the interfaces really are available and connected.

If you find a bug or issue that you believe is missing from this documentation, please notify NetworkActiv.

I have a dynamic IP address, how do I make AUTAPF update when the IP address changes?

With old AUTAPF or with Windows 95

If you have a dynamic IP address, especially one that changes often (such as dial-up), it is recommended that you set the local interface IP address to (or just leave it blank). When the local interface IP address is set to or is blank, the program will listen on all available local interfaces at all times, even new ones that come to be while it is listening.

If you do not wish for clients from other local interfaces to be able to connect, you can set up filters to control access to the server. For security reasons, this may not be enough in some situations and so Windows port blocking or the like may be necessary.

With later AUTAPF on Windows 98 and up

For the local interface IP address and/or for the remote host address, use one of the MAC Address based entries (those ones that look like 1A-2B-3C-4D-5E-6F-00) that show up in the Local interface IP address drop-down list. Copy-and-paste to use one of these for the remote host address (if you use a local interface IP address for the remote host address). These MAC addresses remain the same for each local interface, even when the local interface IP address changes. AUTAPF will continue to listen on the interfaces immediately after IP address change.

How do I install and run NetworkActiv AUTAPF as a Windows Service?

Service Installation (during install)
On Windows NT/2000 (or higher than 2000), you should be able to install/run AUTAPF as a Windows Service by downloading and installing version (Custom build 2005.04.04) or newer. While installing, be sure to choose the Install NetworkActiv AUTAPF as a Windows Service checkbox option on the installation dialog.

Service Installation (when program is already installed and running)
On AUTAPF's main screen, select the Settings menu and choose Miscellaneous.

On the settings screen that comes up, check the box that reads This program is installed as a Windows Service.

After the service has been installed, you can start it via the Windows Command Prompt by typing net start AUTAPF:

To run it as a service
When installed as a Windows service, the service can be started via the Windows command prompt with the command: net start AUTAPF . By default, the command prompt shortcut is located in Accessories; Windows 2000 (and higher) users, click Start, open Run..., type cmd.exe, and then press the Enter key.
Automatic service start with Windows start
To have the AUTAPF service start automatically while Windows boots, see the Windows Services Manager, found through Start->Settings->Control Panel->Administrative Tools->Services. In the Windows Services Manager, find the service named NetworkActiv AUTAPF Service, right-click it and choose Properties. On the properties dialog, select Automatic for the Startup type and then click the OK button.

Why is there no option for forwarding port ranges?

AUTAPF is an active port forwarder. What this means is that when a connection is established to a port being forwarded by AUTAPF, AUTAPF then establishes its own connection to the remote host (that of the forward to host). AUTAPF listens with Winsock on each port of each started port forwarding operation. To forward a range of ports would require that the program listen on each port in the range.

The problem is that most folks wanting to forward a port range are doing so because of old and outdated protocols such as FTP that choose effectively random port numbers in a very large range (usually thousands of ports large). Since each port being forwarded takes at least one thread to run, it would require thousands of threads for such a range (and a very large amount of system resources), but even advanced operating systems such as Windows 2000 and XP only support up to 2000 threads per process, and even if the range were only 2000 ports, there would be no room left for session threads. Regardless, experienced network admins know that having thousands of ports being listened on is not a good idea because things like netstat become very annoying to use.

Recommendation: Either don't use old and outdated protocols such as FTP, but instead switch over to SFTP, or have FTP (either client or server, depending on whether active or passive connections are used) start at a specific port number, preferably in the thousands or ten-thousands, and then have AUTAPF forward a smaller range beginning at that port number, such as a range of 100 ports. Not all FTP software lets you configure the dynamic port number it starts at, so this option depends on the FTP software used.

I am having a problem with it stopping on busy TCP PFOs, how can I resolve this problem?

Try downloading and using the latest available version of NetworkActiv AUTAPF.

NT says that AUTAPF is not responding while running as a service when logging in and/or out, what should I do?

Try unchecking (disabling) the option that tells the program to Minimize on 'Close' / 'X'. This option is located on the Miscellaneous Settings dialog.

How can I hide the window when running as a service?

Under the Log On tab of the properties dialog for the AUTAPF service, uncheck the Allow service to interact with desktop checkbox. This dialog is found through the Windows Services Manager, available through Start->Settings->Control Panel->Administrative Tools->Services (find the NetworkActiv AUTAPF Service in the list, right-click it and choose Properties).

How can I control or create port forwards from an external program or script?

See the explanation on the Common Uses page.

While running as a service, periodic pop-ups or system events talk about AUTAPF requesting attention.

Under Windows Vista and higher, running AUTAPF version 1.1.4 (or older) as a system service may result in periodic pop-ups saying that the AUTAPF service is requesting attention or user interaction. There are two general ways to resolve this issue while using the older versions of AUTAPF. The first involves disabling the option to Allow service to interact with desktop. The second involves stopping the UI0Detect service.

Solution 1: Disable Allow service to interact with desktop. The service options for the AUTAPF service can be found in (the Windows) Control Panel->Administrative Tools->Services module. After right-clicking the AUTAPF service and choosing Properties, select the Log On tab, and then disable the Allow service to interact with desktop option. [See example screenshot below]
Desktop Interaction Disabled

Solution 2: Stop UI0Detect. The Interactive Services Detection service is part of Windows. It watches programs running as Windows services and notifies the user whenever one of these programs tries to display a message box or otherwise beckon user interaction. The short name of the service is UI0Detect since it detects interaction on User-Interface Zero (where service windows reside). This service may be stopped via the Task Manager, the Services module, or a command prompt using net stop UI0Detect.

On NT 4.0, I get errors talking about ipconfig.exe and kernel32.dll upon system restart or shutdown.

On Windows NT 4.0, you may receive one or more error message (pop-up) to the effect of "ipconfig.exe - DLL Initialization Failed" with "KERNEL32.dll ... The process is terminating abnormally". [See screenshot below]
Error in ipconfig.exe, KERNEL32.dll

If this error begins being displayed after installing AUTAPF version 1.1.2, the cause could be AUTAPF's MAC-based binding system.

This issue may be at least partly resolved by disabling MAC-based binding in Preferences and restarting AUTAPF. [See example of disabled option below]
MAC-Based Binding Disabled

Naturally any PFOs using MAC-based binding should be either disabled or changed to another mode of interface resolve after MAC-based binding has been globally disabled. One alternative is to use hostname-based interface binding, where a NetBIOS name or hostname (such as "MyComputer01" or "localhost") is given, rather than an IP address, for the local interface. [See example of hostname-based interface binding below]
Hostname for Local Interface

On Windows 7 and 8, AUTAPF v1.1.2 is unable to listen when I select an adapter.

AUTAPF v1.1.2 is unable to support binding via MAC address on Windows 7 and 8. The adapters will all show as having an unavailable IP address. To resolve this issue, either use AUTAPF version 1.1.4 (or higher), or place the NetworkActiv IPConfig Substitute (sig) into the folder containing the AUTAPF v1.1.2 executable.