Windows

Automatically assign IP addresses to Windows 2000 Professional computers

Automatically assigning addresses and other IP properties when your Windows 2000 Professional system boots may be the easiest way to go, but don't be fooled into thinking you need new equipment to do it. Here's how you can configure your computer to do it -- without a separate server.

If your network uses TCP/IP, you have three options for assigning IP addresses to Windows 2000 Professional computers on the network. First, you can assign addresses statically, allocating a specific address to each computer. This is the least attractive means because it makes network administration more difficult. When you need to assign an address to a new computer, you have to make sure it's one you haven't already assigned.

DHCP offers a better solution because it assigns addresses and other IP properties (like DNS servers) automatically when the computer boots. Using DHCP, however, requires a DHCP server. In a small network you might not have the capital for a Windows 2000 Server system to do DHCP. As long as you don't need routable public addresses, however, you don't need a DHCP server, because Windows 2000 supports APIPA (Automatic Private IP Addressing).

If you configure a Windows 2000 Professional computer for automatic IP address assignment and no DHCP server is found on the network, Windows 2000 Professional automatically assigns itself a unique address in the 169.254.x.x class B address space (subnet mask 255.255.0.0). It scans the network periodically for a DHCP; if one is found, it takes an address lease from the server. Otherwise, it continues using its APIPA address.

To configure a computer for APIPA, simply open the Properties sheet for the network connection, double-click TCP/IP, and enable the Obtain An IP Address Automatically option.

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7 comments
ServiceTech
ServiceTech

Buy a used $5 linksys router from eBay. Why bother with anything else? At least you'll get a little firewall protection as well. What happens when your automatically assigned address for your network printer changes? As stated earlier, it's only useful for knowing that you have DHCP or connectivity problems. If your network is that small, what's the problem with setting static IP's?

michaelburton01
michaelburton01

I'm saddened that an editor of Jim's stature would reduce himself to exploitation of the obvious. Apearantly just for filler. Show me a Windows version that is in use today which doesn't perform this feat.

Merlin the Wiz
Merlin the Wiz

I have found this function of windows to be in-valuable when activating / troubleshooting wireless networks. Some wireless adapters do not have a connection indication. When the wireless adapter fails to negotiate an IP address with the server / router, a quick check with ipconfig shows an IP address starting with 169.XXX.XXX.XXX. This is usually an indication that there is a problem with the wireless adapter setup. Sometimes this requires removing and re-installing the entire software package for the wireless adapter. I have not found a quicker tool that always shows a failed wireless connection.

packetpusher
packetpusher

...the scenario where one would want to use APIPA is so rare as to barely need mentioning. When a machine I'm troubleshooting connectivity on sets itself up with an APIPA address, I know that's no good!

Your Mom 2.0
Your Mom 2.0

"When the machine I'm troubleshooting sets itself up with an APIPA address, I know that's no good!" So APIPA is useful as a troubleshooting tool that tells you when a NIC doesn't obtain an IP address. Is that all it's good for? That's how it appears to me. Auto-configuring the NIC with an address that's outside of the network scope doesn't seem to be of much use, or am I missing something? Where's the value in using APIPA?

martian
martian

With the one exception of the default view of "hiding file extensions" in Windows Explorer, this has got to be the most annoying "feature" that M$ has implemented. Personally, if I can't get an address from a DHCP server, it would be MUCH better to just not get one and instantly know there's an issue. Stupid M$ engineers... And I agree with the first poster, since when is this new and/or not the default? Must have been a slow day.

RACook
RACook

I imagine the thought was that in a small network, where an admin would want the machines to be able to communicate via TCP/IP, here's a means of getting all players on the same page. Even if you're setting up a closed-system test network, at least you wouldn't have to worry about including DHCP as a variable. And, no, I can't quite imagine actually using this. Anybody feel like just slipping back into NetBios land?

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