Tech Tip: Switch from static to automatic IP addressing

There are benefits of automatically assigning IP addresses to network hosts. However, one task you face when switching from manual to automatic addressing—either to the IP autoconfiguration feature of Windows 98 or to a DHCP implementation—is reconfiguring all the Windows 9x PCs on the network to the new scheme.

Do it manually

One method of switching over is to manually reconfigure each PC, but this is time-consuming and inconvenient for both you and your users. In fact, it's practical only for small networks. Here's how:

  1. Open Control Panel and choose the Network applet.
  2. Highlight the TCP/IP protocol, and open the Properties page.
  3. Select the Obtain An IP Address Automatically option, and Windows will look for a DHCP server the next time the system boots. If Windows 98 fails to find a DHCP server, it assigns itself an IP address automatically through IP autoconfiguration.
Use the Windows Scripting Host (WSH)

A more efficient way of switching your Windows 98 PCs over from static IP addressing to a DHCP or IP autoconfiguration scheme is to employ the Windows Script Host (WSH) to run a script on the PCs, perhaps as part of the login script. First, make sure WSH support is installed on the Windows 98 PC by checking the installation options in Add/Remove Programs in Control Panel.

Microsoft has provided a sample VB script that you can test and alter to your own requirements. You can find this script in Microsoft Knowledge Base article Q197424.

The net effect of this sample script is to check the PC's TCP/IP registry settings so that it looks for an IP address through DHCP instead. By changing the value of the static IP address and subnet mask to, the Obtain An IP Address Automatically option is switched on.

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