Softether VPN and Netlimiter 4 cause issues with Forza Horizon 4

I’ve discovered a critical issue with Forza Horizon 4 and Softether VPN or Netlimiter 4. If you are having issues with Forza Horizon and use either of these programs, please try uninstalling them to see if it resolves issues.

This past week I installed Forza Horizon 4 through the Xbox app on Windows 10 using my Xbox Game Pass subscription. I expected this to play through like any other game as I had already tried out Forza 7 on this PC, and it runs with excellent stability on full graphics settings. However when I loaded into Forza Horizon 4 for the first time it seemed to be stuck at about 35 FPS.

I know my PC exceeds the recommended specs for Forza, and should be able achieve more than 60 FPS even on maximum graphics settings. So something must be causing the issue. After proceeding through typical troubleshooting steps with no luck, I decide to check the Event Viewer. The Event Viewer showed the same errors repeated over and over in an endless loop.

The first error reads:

DCOM got error “1068” attempting to start the service XboxNetApiSvc with arguments “Unavailable” in order to run the server:

or that same error might look like this:

DCOM got error "1068" attempting to start the service XboxNetApiSvc with arguments "Unavailable" in order to run the server:

As well as another error:

The IKE and AuthIP IPsec Keying Modules service terminated with the following error:
Load failed

The Gaming section of Windows 10 Settings may show the following errors:

NAT Type: Teredo is unable to qualify. This could block you from playing multiplayer games
Server connectivity: Blocked
This could block you from playing multiplayer games

A Google search for the second error lists a Forza forum thread that shows the cause of the issue.

When programs are installed that may interface with the network connection like VPNs or traffic monitoring tools, the programs may disable the IKE and AuthIP IPSec Keying Modules service also known as the IKEEXT service. This service is required for Xbox Live connectivity in certain Windows games.

As the service is disabled by the third party network programs it cannot be started (even manually) and will always fail to start.

Forza Horizon tries to start the IKEEXT service to connect to the Xbox Live servers. However as the service cannot start it repeats attempting to start it several times per minute. This appears to lower the framerate of the game significantly. In my case to speed of 30 to 35 FPS. Forza Horizon did not show any show any errors in game. The only visible errors are listed in the event viewer.

Two of the programs that I have discovered to cause issues with the IKEEXT service are Softether VPN and Netlimiter 4.

However this issue may also be caused by any program that creates a virtual device that appears with a hostname of “securenat” which is listed on a router’s web interface. If you see this device on your router’s devices list please attempt to remove the virtual device or program to resolve issues with Forza Horizon.

Typically I could just uninstall whatever program I believed was causing the issue, however the “securenat” virtual device persisted even after I had uninstalled
Netlimiter 4. The securenat device was not visible in network connections, device manager, or the list of installed programs. I could not find any method to remove or disable this securenat device and unfortunately the only resolution I could find for fully removing it was to reinstall Windows 10.

I believe it is not a good idea for third party programs to disable critical Windows core services without the user being aware of potential issues. At the same time I place the blame on Microsoft and the design of the Xbox app and Windows games for relying on such close integration with the operating system for a gaming platform. I’ve honestly never had the level of issues I’ve had with the Xbox app and Microsoft’s games with any other gaming platform including Steam, Epic Games, or EA’s Origin.

I don’t want to speak negatively of Softether VPN or Netlimiter as I believe they are both useful programs. I created a post regarding this issue on Netlimiter’s support forum and have not received a response.

Issue thread on Forza Official forum:

poor fps performance – Page 3 – Forza Horizon 4 Discussion

Issue post on Netlimiter support forum:

Netlimiter blocking access to Windows 10 Xbox Live servers? IKE and AuthIP IPSec