Weird IP address picked using DHCP

When I was home for the Easter weekend, I set up a wireless network for my parents. I tested everything before I left and it all seemed to be fine. A couple of days after I left, my Mum couldn't connect to the network anymore. After talking her through a few things, I discovered that she was getting assigned some really random IP address (something like

169.255.etc) instead of what the network was set up on (standard 192.168.etc). I got her to change the settings to choose a manual address which was OK for a day or so, then she had issues as it claimed there was a conflict of addresses (she had good signal strength, but limited or no connectivity because of this issue). I'm hesitant to get her to try another manual address because I only set up a limited range of trusted IP addresses for her firewall, and she will find it too hard to add more (can't talk her through it as I've only seen her firewall software twice, so I can't remember where everything was). This seems really random to me, and I'm not sure why the address she is getting assigned isn't correct - their network is the only one listed in the network list to automatically connect to. Any thoughts?
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Windows will drop in a address as an autoconfig address. It uses these if it cannot get a response out of a DHCP server.

I'd instruct her to power cycle the wireless access point and hope for the best.

Best Regards,

Reply to
Todd H.

Restore the Windows operating system to a point when you know it was working. I run into this 169.x.x.x thing all of the time. You'd think at Microsoft they could design a pop-up message that wasn't cryptic nonsense, but if they did that, they wouldn't be Microsoft.

There are a few things you can try to rebuild to reset the protocol stack, but they rarely work in fixing this problem, in my experience. If the restore point doesn't work I almost always have to run a "repair install" with XP. The downside to that is you will spend a few hours or more as the system re-downloads the numerous bug fixes, patches, and upgrades after the re-install.

Another thing that works about 80% of the time is to use a new, different card.

Again, if you search the Microsoft (lack of) Knowledge Base, you will find instructions for running a command line program to reset the protocol stack. Give that a try first. This is the URL that gets bandied about the most:

formatting link
Good luck.

Reply to
Maxwell Edison

All good advice from my experience too, though a "repair install" of XP seems drastic.

Yep, getting that 169.255... address means it's broken, but they are not admitting it; The router is not giving one out or the client software is tweaked. The stack, or whatever.

Reboot router. Reboot pc, try again. Might just do it.

Toggle from windows zero config to the manufacturer's client software and reboot. Do that a couple of times...

Run that MS stack fix Maxwell linked to.

Try a different wireless adapter. Sometimes using another adapter fixes it for the broken one too.

Uninstall and reinstall the current adapter.

Have you mom turn in a circle three times and say the secret words. Three days later it will magically work again.

Cheers, Steve

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On 16 Apr 2007 22:18:57 -0700, seaweedsteve wrote in :

Agreed. Recommend against it.

Probably a problem with the wireless router.

Likely to solve the problem. Usually the best course of action.

Probably not a wireless client or stack problem.

Make sure the wireless router has the latest firmware. If that doesn't help, replace the wireless router with a different better unit (e.g., Buffalo high-power).

Reply to
John Navas

On 16 Apr 2007 00:04:06 -0500, (Todd H.) wrote in :

Yep. And if that helps, replace the wireless router/access point with a different brand and model (e.g., Buffalo high-power).

Reply to
John Navas

I am pleased with our Buffalo (running DD-WRT firmware), BUT I have also had this happen at least once with the Buffalo.

It was a Belkin pcmcia adapter that, after working for months, suddenly could not get a lease anymore. Assigning an IP address did not help. No ping to the router. Rebooting the router did not help. Then, installing the same adapter on a different pc at the same location, it worked ! Reinstalling a different version of the adapter driver on the problem pc seemed to be what fixed it.

Perhaps it's better to say that this was the time that rebooting did not help. There have been other times/problems when rebooting did the trick. This time I attributed the problem to the laptop going in and out of standby frequently during a lease, sometimes very roughly, while downloading. If I remember correctly. Something about that adapter on that pc with that driver installation got skewed, or looked wrong to the router.

Since you got your mom's to work again briefly with an assigned address, then it broke again, you might ask your mom about how they manage shutdown/standy/hibernate for their pcs. Question what they are they doing in that dimension and maybe change it to hard shutdowns?

Perhaps, just as John says, it is an indication that her router's firmware is not working right...

Oh, one more thing, since you are not present to solve problems, you might want to make sure there is an ethernet cable alternative as a backup when the wireless fails. Even if they have to temporarily run the cable through the hallway or something, at least they can get online.

Cheers, Steve

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The 169.x.x.x thing is not always easily solved. If the other remedies described don't work, I know from experience the repair install will work most of the time. It is nowhere near as drastic as restamping the machine.

No, not probably. In fact, almost never.

No, not likely. I've run into the 169.x.x.x issue hundreds of times. That

169.x.x.x address is Microsoft's cryptic way of saying, "You're f***ed."

No, no, no! It almost always is a wireless client problem -- a desktop problem. Again, I've fixed this problem many times by simply restoring the system to a check point when the system was known to have functioned properly.

Reply to
Maxwell Edison

On Tue, 17 Apr 2007 13:09:04 -0400, "Maxwell Edison" wrote in :

My own experience is that Repair Install is massive overkill that usually has nothing to do with the real problem, which is usually a problem (firmware, settings) with the wireless router.

My experience is just the opposite of yours.

Again, my experience is just the opposite of yours.


It's actually Microsoft's way of making a LAN workable with DHCP configured but no DHCP available.

Yes, yes, yes.

That's not my experience.

I've fixed this problem many times with the advice I posted. In my experience, System Restore rarely does any good, and can result in other problems.

Reply to
John Navas

On Apr 18, 12:42 am, seaweedsteve wrote:

Yep, I've got her using an ethernet cable as a temporary solution which works fine. I guess I'd be a little surprised if it was a router problem given that my Dad's laptop connects without any problems. My gut feel is that it is something to do with her laptop - whether it's a problem with the installation of the adapter or some other conflict or whatever. I will get her to check the standby issue stuff - I hadn't even considered that as a potential cause. I've got her to reboot everything to see if that worked, but she's had no joy with that. It's just all very irritating because I tested it before I left and it was working fine, so I know that it CAN work. I've got to the point where I've suggested she get someone to come out and have a look at it (much cheaper than flying me back for a weekend when I certainly can't promise that I can do anything that she hasn't!). She mentioned last night that her laptop didn't even detect that our network was within range (usually it detects it, but can't assign an address for whatever reason). I find this very weird since at the moment, her laptop is within a metre or so of the router! I know this is stupid, but could there be any issues from being TOO close?! Or maybe having some other sort of equipment around that might be interfering with the signal and creating too much noise. I know I'm reaching here... Anyway, thanks for all your suggestions guys. I know wireless networks can be a bit funny at the best of times, but will keep plugging away.

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Still, have them unplug the router and replug it. It's too easy to do. What IS the router, by the way? Linksys WRT54G v6? Netgear XXX or what?

Right. After trying the powercycle on the router, I would then be uninstalling the adapter's driver and reinstalling. Knee-jerk reaction perhaps, but...

Also, as I said, Toggling between windows zero config and the adapter's client manager. Sometimes these things get crossed and nobody has proper control.

IF this theory is true, I think that once it's screwed up, then rebooting the pc doesn't necessarily fix it. It's more of an idea for preventing reoccurances. I could be totally off-base on this.

Also, have you tried another adapter yet? I know, not easy to install at a distance.....

You can, but yes, I suppose I'd let them call Geek Squad or whomever. They may make a mess of things and sell her more products, but it will probably work until you come through again.

That's a possibility. Maybe somebody else who has experience with interference could address that.

Worst case#1: Stays on Ethernet (assuming that the cables are a mess) Worst case #2: Geek squad sets her up with a usb adapter for now.


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It's a Belkin Wireless G Plus Mimo router.

There's no way I could get my Mum to do that. She's scared enough when I get her to go into Command and get the current IP configuration! She does OK, but not THAT well! :-)

This is out of my league - haven't really had much experience with networking, so not really sure what you mean.

She's happy enough to use cables for now - it's not a big deal, but there are a couple of things that make it annoying for her.

Thanks again :-)

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It could just be a bad configuration in the card manager. We still haven't figured it out, but I helped a friend get an old dead laptop working. I could connect to her AP with no problem, she on the other hand kept getting the MS default address. I rebooted my machine a few times to make sure I could still connect - no problems. Her AP was set to give out 100 DHCP addresses, so it wasn't out of addresses. She could still connect to open systems, even hers when we turned off WEP. I didn't have time to trouble shoot her card manager, but that is a HBH (Huge Black Hole). Moral - get someone else to connect his system to your AP to confirm that it is working. Start from scratch, one easy step at a time.

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