What is the IPsec Policy Agent (PolicyAgent) service?

An explanation of the IPsec Policy Agent (PolicyAgent) service in Windows 7.

What does the IPsec Policy Agent (PolicyAgent) service do?

IPSec stand for Internet Protocol Security. IPSec is a framework developed to provide authentication (login/password) and encryption at the network layer level rather than at the transport or application layer levels.

The IPsec Policy Agent (PolicyAgent) service is responsible for authentication. When you purchase something online the page used to check out is usually encrypted (HTTPS). Business people might connect to their office via a secure VPN connection. All of these are used rely on this service.

IPsec Policy Agent (PolicyAgent) service details

  • Service name: PolicyAgent
  • Description: Internet Protocol security (IPsec) supports network-level peer authentication, data origin authentication, data integrity, data confidentiality (encryption), and replay protection. This service enforces IPsec policies created through the IP Security Policies snap-in or the command-line tool “netsh ipsec“. If you stop this service, you may experience network connectivity issues if your policy requires that connections use IPsec. Also,remote management of Windows Firewall is not available when this service is stopped.
  • Path to executable: C:\windows\system32\svchost.exe -k NetworkServiceNetworkRestricted
  • Startup type: Manual

Does my computer need the IPsec Policy Agent (PolicyAgent) service?

Your computer doesn’t need the PolicyAgent service to run, but some advanced networking functionality will not work.

Should I disable the IPsec Policy Agent (PolicyAgent) 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 PolicyAgent service alone.

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