What is the IKE and AuthIP IPsec Keying Modules (IKEEXT) service?

An explanation of the IKE and AuthIP IPsec Keying Modules (IKEEXT) service in Windows 7.

What does the IKE and AuthIP IPsec Keying Modules (IKEEXT) service do?

The IKE and AuthIP IPsec Keying Modules (IKEEXT) service is responsible for authenticating VPN connections and Internet Connection Sharring (ICS).

IKE and AuthIP IPsec Keying Modules (IKEEXT) service details

  • Service name: IKEEXT
  • Description: The IKEEXT service hosts the Internet Key Exchange (IKE) and Authenticated Internet Protocol (AuthIP) keying modules. These keying modules are used for authentication and key exchange in Internet Protocol security (IPsec). Stopping or disabling the IKEEXT service will disable IKE and AuthIP key exchange with peer computers. IPsec is typically configured to use IKE or AuthIP; therefore, stopping or disabling the IKEEXT service might result in an IPsec failure and might compromise the security of the system. It is strongly recommended that you have the IKEEXT service running.
  • Path to executable: C:\windows\system32\svchost.exe -k netsvcs
  • Startup type: Automatic

Does my computer need the IKE and AuthIP IPsec Keying Modules (IKEEXT) service?

Your computer doesn’t need the IKEEXT service to run, but if you disable it you won’t be able to connect to a VPN or share your Internet connection.

Should I disable the IKE and AuthIP IPsec Keying Modules (IKEEXT) service?

First off, I have to say that it’s best to leave service optimization up to Microsoft. With that said; I would leave the IKEEXT service alone.

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One Response to “What is the IKE and AuthIP IPsec Keying Modules (IKEEXT) service?”

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  1. blah blah says:

    I don’t agree with leaving service optimization up to Microsoft. At least not for power users. MS designed Windows to install as a swiss army knife / jack of all trades. This means it can do a lot of things at start. But, if you’re only using your computer for specific activities, then some of this stuff is pointless. The double-edged conundrum to this is that a) we’re in an age where a lot of hardware, even small hardware, has a lot of system resources, so the avg user can just leave things alone and let Windows handle it all. (eg: tiny htpc with 6gb ram .. just let windows do its thing). But, we also have people repurposing older devices for specialized tasks (eg: an old pc as an nes/snes emulator, or torrent server, or boinc science project cruncher, etc). In those cases, power users can min/max performance on their custom-role devices by tweaking services, especially services that happen to be cpu/ram hogs (either at startup, or constantly by tying up resources even after they finish.) The issue with that is that if you expand the roll of the device a little, then you may run into a situation where something simple doesn’t work. (eg: an old pc tweaked for pure htpc duty, but then you want to plug in a usb gamepad to double-duty the device as an emulator. If you disabled HID service, then you’ll be pulling your hair out wondering why the usb gamepad isn’t recognized.) In tweaking services, I would recommend looking at Process Explorer and only targeting the big offenders.. things like Media Player service starting up when you’re just using your pc as a gaming rig for yourself. Or, if you’re customizing a pc for a specific roll, just look at the services that seem to be using an extraordinary amount of cpu/ram compared to what the device can offer. (EG: if the pc has 2gb of ram, and you’re running Win 7, maybe set services like BITS and Windows Update to manual startup, so they only start up when you manually check for updates, not automatically starting up and tying up internet and cpu and ram when booting the computer each time. Once you do an update, you can restart the pc to have them clear out anyways). In an age of repurposing old devices, it’s good to know what services do what, b/c microsoft has decided to hyper-fragment tasks out in order to specialize computers to rolls. So, power users can take advantage of that. But, if a layman is tweaking their uber-rig to try to eek out a couple of MB’s of ram when they have 16gb loaded… maybe don’t tweak the services. As I said, a computer that gets used in jack-of-all-trades fashion will just cause headaches later when you try to do something different with it and the services you shut down prevent you from doing it but you don’t know why.

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