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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