How to troubleshoot ‘Unable to contact DHCP server’ error?

April 12, 2019 |

greater than 4 minutes

Major corporates, organizations and home networks use DHCP servers to automatically assign IP addresses to all the connected devices. A DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) server provides clients with IP addresses that fall within the same IP network ID as the scope it is servicing.

But what if DHCP servers can’t be contacted?

Well, if your Network Internet Controller (NIC) is unable to communicate with the DHCP server, it means you can’t access the internet or resources on your network. Our experts investigated this problem, and here are the best solutions to resolve the ‘Unable to contact DHCP server’ error.

But before we go any further, you need to understand what a DHCP server error means and what causes it.

What Is a DHCP Server Error?

When you try to access the internet on your home or work computer and you get the ‘Unable to contact DHCP server’ error, it means the DHCP server failed to create a new IP address.

This error usually appears when you try to execute the “ipconfig /renew” command in Command Prompt.

How to Fix ‘Unable to Contact Your DHCP Server’ Error On Windows 10

Solution 1: Run Windows Network Diagnostics or Network Troubleshooter

This is the first simple solution that you can employ when the ‘Unable to contact your DHCP server’ error appears.

  1. Right-click the network icon in the Windows Notification area.
  2. Select “Troubleshoot problems”. This opens the “Windows Network Diagnostics” window.
  3. Follow the instructions to allow Windows to diagnose and repair the network issues that you’re having.

After completing the process, the communication between your NIC and DHCP server should now be restored.

Solution 2: Register Your DNS

With this method, you can execute a simple command that could provide the solution to your DHCP errors.

  1. Open Command Prompt with administrator privileges.
  2. Carefully type in this command followed by “Enter”: ipconfig /registerdns.
  3. Check for the “Operation completed successfully” message before you exit Command Prompt.

Your internet connection problems should now be gone. If not, move on to the next solution.

Solution 3: Update or Reinstall Network Drivers

Problems with your network drivers could cause DHCP server errors. If they are broken or missing, you can uninstall and reinstall them. If they are outdated, the only solution is to update them.

To reinstall your network drivers:

  1. Launch Device Manager by right-clicking the “Start” menu.
  2. Expand “Network adapters”.
  3. Right-click the network adapter that you want to reinstall and click “Uninstall”.
  4. Exit “Device Manager” and restart your PC.
  5. Windows will automatically reinstall the driver for you.

To update your network drivers:

  1. Repeat Steps 1 and 2 above.
  2. Right-click the device whose driver you want to update and click “Update driver”.
  3. Choose “Search automatically for updated driver software”. Windows will attempt to search for and install the latest driver from the internet.

However, Windows doesn’t always find the latest driver versions and you could try a third-party tool like Auslogics Driver Updater to automatically install new official network drivers from the manufacturer’s website.

This is an intuitive tool that will first analyze your system to detect the device drivers that need your attention. After the scan, you can view the details of your device drivers by clicking “Overview”.

Now you can choose if you want to update only the network drivers or all the outdated device drivers.

Here’s the most important part. Auslogics Driver Updater creates a backup so that you can always go back to the previous driver version if the latest one develops issues or you simply don’t like it.

This application ensures that you don’t encounter compatibility problems or device conflicts.

Solution 4: Roll-Back Network Drivers

If the ‘Unable to contact your DHCP server’ error started after updating your network drivers, a rollback might help to get things back to normal. To do so:

  1. Right-click “Start” and run “Device Manager”.
  2. Expand “Network adapters”, and select the device whose driver you want to roll back.
  3. Open “Properties”, and then go to the “Driver” tab.
  4. You should see an option titled “Roll Back Driver”. If the option is grayed out, it means the device was not updated recently, and therefore, there isn’t an older version of the driver.
  5. If the option is clickable, then select it and follow the instructions provided.
  6. Restart your device and check if the error still occurs in the Command Prompt window after executing the ipconfig /renew command.

Solution 5: Disable and Re-Enable DHCP

  1. Press the Windows Key+R simultaneously on your keyboard and type in ncpa.cpl.
  2. Hit “Enter”, and you’ll be taken to “Network Connections” in Control Panel.
  3. Right-click your active network adapter and open “Properties”.
  4. Find “Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6)” and highlight it.
  5. Next, click “Properties”.
  6. Select “Use the following IPv6 address:”. For this option to work, you need to enter the correct network settings.
  7. Now select “Use the following DNS server addresses:”, and enter the correct values.
  8. Click “OK” when you’re done.

Repeat the same process for the “Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)” option.

To enable DHCP:

  1. Repeat Steps 1 through to 5 above.
  2. Select the “Obtain an IP address automatically” and “Obtain DNS server address automatically” options.

Restart your computer and check if this method resolves the ‘Unable to contact your DHCP server’ error.

Solution 6: Restart Your DHCP Client Service

Sometimes, the DHCP Client Service may malfunction and stop unexpectedly. If that’s the case, then you can restart the service by following the steps below:

  1. Press the Windows Key+R, and type in services.msc.
  2. Hit “Enter” or click “OK”.
  3. Navigate to “DHCP Client” and right-click it.
  4. Click on “Properties” and be sure “Startup type” is set to “Automatic”.
  5. Click “Stop” to stop the service.
  6. Now click “Start” to restart the service.

You should now be able to access the internet without issues.

Lastly, we like to encourage our community to keep their device drivers updated to improve system stability and efficiency. This also ensures that your device works seamlessly.

Do you have any other solutions that helped to fix the ‘Unable to contact your DHCP server’ error on Windows 10? Please share with us via the comments section below.

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