IP homeless
November 17, 2009 8:59 PM   Subscribe

Out of nowhere I cannot renew my IP address and thus cannot connect to the Internet at home. Please hope me!

My problem is very similar to this in terms of symptoms -- cannot connect to the internet, have traced the problem to "cannot renew an IP address." Except I have no earthly idea what precipitated this.

* I am using Windows XP on a Dell Vostro, which I got about 2 years ago.

* I have not installed any new software this month.

* I am connecting via a wireless router connected to my new cable modem connection which I've only had for a couple weeks. My roommate can connect to it without incident.

* I first noticed the problem on Monday -- I brought my laptop out of the house and used it at a coffee shop without incident. I then brought it back home and started having IP address renewal problems. I tried ipconfig/release and ipconfig/renew, as well as powering down the modem and plugging it back in, but no luck.

* Last night I did a full scan on Housecall, a full adaware scan, and a Malware bytes scan; that got it working again.

* Tonight I was using it again fine, but then got a phone call and left the computer unattended and the screen went into hibernate mode -- and when I brought it out of hibernate mode, I'd lost the internet connection, and I'm back to not getting it back because it cannot renew an IP address.

Please help. Right now I am only connecting via the DSL I wanted to get rid of.

(P.S. -- PLEASE, PLEASE no cracks about how I should buy a Mac instead, unless you are willing to give me the money to do so. Thank you.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos to Computers & Internet (27 answers total)
when I brought it out of hibernate mode, I'd lost the internet connection, and I'm back to not getting it back because it cannot renew an IP address

I've seen hibernation do this to wireless on a Dell laptop. The only workaround I ever found was to shut it down, then power cycle it to restart.
posted by flabdablet at 9:11 PM on November 17, 2009

YOu mean just turn it off and turn it on again? That didn't work either.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:13 PM on November 17, 2009

Does it have a manual wireless on/off switch on the side? Try turning that on and off.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:14 PM on November 17, 2009

How would I ascertain whether it has an on-off switch on the side?...
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:15 PM on November 17, 2009

Look on the left side next to the lock hole.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:17 PM on November 17, 2009

I appreciate your help, burhanistan, but that picture does not show where that on-off switch would be.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:21 PM on November 17, 2009

(the Wi-Fi catcher)
posted by Burhanistan at 9:23 PM on November 17, 2009

Turn the modem off, turn the router off, turn the computer off. Then turn the modem on, turn the router on, turn the computer back on.

If the modem has a battery in it, make sure you unplug the power and remove the battery, slow count to 10, then put the battery back in and plug the power back in.

After everything boots back up, if you still don't get an IP address, right click on the wireless icon in the system tray and choose repair from the context menu.
posted by rsclark at 9:25 PM on November 17, 2009

You could try telling it to have a static, rather than a dynamic, IP address.

Pain in the backside when you go roaming, of course, but there are some tools available online that let you swap between multiple network profiles.
posted by turgid dahlia at 9:28 PM on November 17, 2009

burhanistan: Ah, gotcha -- except I just thought that let you LOCATE wireless signals?

rsclark: I've tried using the repair tool before a few times over with no joy. I've actually now turned the modem off and will leave it off overnight; my computer is now connecting via a neighbor's unsecured channel now, and I'll turn that off when I go to sleep. Then I'll turn the modem back on in the morning, followed by turning my computer back on.

A general question -- I'd also like to see whether any of my drivers need updating, but I cannot for the life of me find a place that will scan your system and tell you "ah, you need to download the driver for thus-and-such which we have detected is on your system." Does such a site exist?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:40 PM on November 17, 2009

Does such a site exist?

Windows Update might find an updated driver (and it's actually fairly reliable nowadays). You can also go to support.dell.com, put in your service tag (on the bottom of the laptop) and download the latest driver revision for your wireless card.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:42 PM on November 17, 2009

You may have to turn on Mac Address Cloning on your wireless router
posted by bitdamaged at 10:06 PM on November 17, 2009

1. Open up command prompt
2. Type "netsh w r" and enter (resets windows winsock catalog)
3. Type "netsh i ip r log.txt" and enter (resets tcp/ip)
4. Restart computer
posted by sunshineunderground at 1:42 AM on November 18, 2009

Try downloading and running Winsock XP Fix, which basically does what sunshineunderground suggested.
posted by aheckler at 3:31 AM on November 18, 2009

For the record:

* I'd downloaded Winsock XP Fix the first time things went down, but hadn't run it; I did try running it this second time, but it didn't work.

* But I turned everything off overnight -- I even turned off the wireless router as well first thing when I got up -- and just turned everything back on and it works again, so this seems to be fixed.

I'm leaving this thread back up for a while in case anyone has other general "where would I find drivers/why does this happen" ideas.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:41 AM on November 18, 2009

I'm leaving this thread back up for a while in case anyone has other general "where would I find drivers/why does this happen" ideas.

If you just want to update the drivers for your wireless adapter,

-Right-click My Computer
-Click Manage
-Click on Device Manager in the list in the left pane
-Find your wireless adapter in the list on the right pane and right-click. Select Update Driver. Windows will go out and search to see if there's an updated driver for it.

If you want to see if there's updates for all the drivers in general, go to the Dell Support site.
posted by weesha at 4:26 AM on November 18, 2009

Weesha, that was exactly the driver hunt I've been looking for. Thanks!

The fact that I had this problem TWICE this week has me a little spooked - even though plausible explanations exist in both cases (spyware in the first case, the hibernate-kills-it thing in the second). Should I be concerned by the fact that this went wonky twice this week, or was that just coincidence? Any other maintenance tips I may want to consider, aside from updating drivers and running full scans on everything just in case?...
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:08 AM on November 18, 2009

While you're in the Device Manager looking at your wireless card properties, click on the Power Management tab and see if the box "Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power" is checked.

If so, uncheck it and restart to see if that makes a difference in the ability to get an ip address from your router.

Good luck.
posted by not.so.hip at 8:36 AM on November 18, 2009

You're router might be getting flacky. It's the router that assigns the IP address to your computer, not the modem. Next time this happens, just reset the router and see if it cures the problem. If so, and you are having to reset the router on a regular basis, it's probably time for a new router.
posted by rsclark at 8:49 AM on November 18, 2009

rsclark, just checking which bit of equipment is which: the MODEM is the box that my cable company sent me, and the ROUTER is the box I bought to let me use it wirelessly. So I have the MODEM hooked up to the cablefeed, and an ethernet cable stretching from the MODEM to the ROUTER. The ROUTER then beams the signal out into the ether for my roommate and I to connect to wirelessly.


If I have the router right: I just got the damn thing two weeks ago. Do they flake out THAT quickly?....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:04 AM on November 18, 2009

Make sure you try upgrading the firmware in your router before you go buying a new one.
posted by vsync at 5:19 PM on November 18, 2009

You've got the right names. Re-reading your question, it sounds like everything in new, so no, I wouldn't expect the router to be going bad. But it is the router that provides the IP address. I have 4 or 5 computers connected to my wireless router and at the end of last week I was having to power the router down every few hours to get a connection on some of the computers. Of course, this weeks its working fine. And the router is only a few months old.

Who knows with computers. You didn't have a big project due did you. I find that my computer always knows when I'm running late on a project and then it starts to act up. :)
posted by rsclark at 7:09 PM on November 18, 2009

Oh, and I agree with vsync above. Upgrade the router firmware if you keep having trouble.
posted by rsclark at 7:10 PM on November 18, 2009

....What's "firmware"?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:59 AM on November 19, 2009

Oh, and things seem to be behaving themselves now, save for the fact that now my computer doesn't seem to be automatically connecting to the signal when I boot it up, even though I have automatic connection set as a preference (but that's remedied by just manually clicking 'connect' and it does so in a matter of seconds). I can live with that for now.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:02 AM on November 19, 2009

"Firmware" is basically "hard" software that sits on a chip inside a modern piece of electronic equipment (it's firmer than soft because it's hard to get rid of once you've upgraded it). LCD TVs have it, blu-ray players, modems, mobile phones, etc. It upgrades functionality and sometimes performance, and clears out problems.

You want to upgrade the firmware on both the modem and the router. Even if you don't want to, it never hurts and can sometimes take you from a state of stress to one of hindu zen. So check the make and model of both pieces of equipment and post them here and we can help you more if you want it.
posted by turgid dahlia at 5:35 PM on November 20, 2009

Last update: things have been behaving themselves thus far. In retrospect, whenever I was powering down and turning things on again, i was doing that to the modem and the computer -- but not the router. And on one later occasion when I was having a problem again, I just turned the router off and on again, and bang, it worked.

So I think this is officially solved, but I'm keeping note of this for the driver update advice. Thanks.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:28 AM on December 1, 2009

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