Configuring direct access in SP2

ISA Server 2004 SP2 makes some changes to the way that destinations specified for direct access are handled.

The piece of UI in question is the direct access list in the Web Browser tab of the network properties. Under the heading Directly access these servers or domains.

Prior to SP2, if a requested destination name was in the list, it was accessed directly. With SP2 - a requested name in the list is accessed directly, unless IP addresses are included in the list. In that case, an attempt is made to resolve the site name to an IP address. Access is direct only if the resolved IP address is found in the list.

The bottom line recommendation is to add entries to the list as follows:

  • Either specify both the IP address and FQDN of the destination, or the FQDN only. If there are only FQDNs on the list, behavior remains as it was prior to SP2.

  • If you add any IP address to the list, then you should add all IP address ranges that you want the client computer to access directly. Otherwise, destinations that are not in the list will be routed through the ISA Server.

  •  If other IP addresses are added to the list, the address range of (127/8) are automatically added to the list.

  • If no IP addresses are in the list and you want to prevent requests from IP address from being routed, add as an FQDN to the list. 

Comments (12)

  1. Anonymous says:

    I think it was recognized that this would create confusion, but it was too late to change the model. Maybe in an upcoming version anonymous connections will only match anonymous rules? –Tom

  2. Tom Shinder says:

    Are there plans to provide a fix for the Direct Access functionality so that it works for creating Internet FQDNs in the Direct access list? Thanks! –Tom.

  3. Mike Malter says:

    Do you mind if I ask why you guys did it this way?  Now I have to list every internal web site I want accessed.  This has raised my administrative overhead in my consulting business because I have a lot of sites coming and going all of the time.

  4. ISA User says:

    It has been several months since this problem with ISA has been posted, is there an update?  This literally makes ISA useless to anyone wanting to use automatic configuration on it.  I have several internal and external sites that I need to configure for direct access.  Thanks.    

  5. Sorry for the delayed response. There is a fix for this, which you can get by calling Product Support and requesting the fix for KB 920716. The KB will be published in the near future.

    Thank you for your patience.

  6. Stefaan Pouseele says:

    I’ve looked at;en-us;920716 (revision 1.0) but I don’t find any reference to the Direct Access issue.

    What has changed to solve the Direct Access issue? Are we back to pre-SP2 behavior and if so, how? Do we need to specify URL’s (e.g. ‘**’) instead of FQDN’s (e.g. ‘*’) to get back the pre-SP2 behavior?


  7. Stefaan Pouseele says:

    Never mind! The new KB article;en-us;920715 explains it all.


  8. will says:

    I have applied this fix and it sort of works however not as described. Also my plain hostnames are no longer bypassed automatically, though this might have stopped working as soon as I added the first IP address tom the domains list.

  9. Stefaan Pouseele says:

    Hi Will,

    I have no problems with this fix. It works as advertised. Check out for full details.



Skip to main content