How to Disable DHCP

Give your computer a permanent IP address

What to Know

  • Press the Windows + x keys and click Settings > Network & Internet > Select a connection > Properties > Edit to access DHCP settings.
  • Alternatively, go to Control Panel > Networking and Sharing Center > Change adapter settings.

This article explains how to disable DHCP, why you'd want to do this, and how to re-enable it if things don't work out.

Disabling DHCP for a Connection in Windows

If you're running a typical home network, then your devices receive their IP addresses via the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP). This means they're assigned an IP address when they connect to the network, and may in fact receive a completely different one the next time.

Whether or not your device will use DHCP or not is a setting unique to each connection. In other words, if you turn off DHCP for your wired connection, all your wireless connections will continue to use DHCP until you do the same.

To turn off DHCP for a connection in Windows:

  1. Press the Windows + x keys, then select Settings.

  2. Click to the Network & Internet item.

  3. Click on the (wired or wireless) network connection (such as Ethernet) you want to configure, then click the Properties button.

    Selecting a Network Connection from Network & Internet in Windows Settings.
  4. Within the details for the connection you'll see the IP settings section. Click the Edit button you'll find there.

    Configuring a Network Connection in Windows Settings.
  5. In the Edit IP settings dialog the connection will most likely be configured as Automatic. Click the drop-down and change it to Manual.

    Switching the IP Settings from Automatic to Manual in Windows Settings
  6. You'll see two toggle switches show up, one for IPv4, and one for IPv6. You can enable either or both of these, the process is the same for each. We'll click the one for IPv4 for the purposes of the next step.

  7. A slew of new fields will appear. you'll need to fill these out to include at least the IP address (the address you want the machine to have, of course), the Subnet prefix length (this describes the class of the network, try 24 here, and if that doesn't work, 16), Gateway (the address of your router device, most likely 192.168.0.1), and Preferred DNS (you can use one provided by your ISP, or try Google's if you can't find one: 8.8.8.8).

  8. Click Save to commit the change.

You can also set the same setting for a network connection from the Control Panel > Networking and Sharing Center > Change adapter settings. Select your desired connection and click the Change settings of this connection button. Then click the Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) option (but don't clear the checkbox), and click the Properties button. This will give you a dialog similar to the one you saw in Settings, just in the "old school" Windows style. Note you can set IPv6 in the same way.

Enabling DHCP in Windows

While it's something of an undertaking to disable DHCP for a connection, it's much easier to re-enable it.

  1. Return to Settings > Network & Internet, and click the Properties button for network connection.

  2. Click the Edit button in the the IP settings section for the connection.

  3. The Edit IP settings dialog will contain your prior configs. Click the drop-down at the top of the dialog and switch it from Manual back to Automatic.

How DHCP Works

Most modern networking equipment is configured to act as a DHCP server by default. These devices, like your home router, will listen for new devices on the network that are requesting an IP address. They'll then assign that address, and make sure it's reserved and doesn't get assigned to anything else.

On the flip side, most computer and mobile device OSes are also set up by default to be DHCP clients, or to request an IP address from a DHCP server as soon as they connect to a network. This is what allows you to simply plug in an Ethernet cable or connect to a wireless network and be "on the 'Net" – no fuss, no muss.

Reasons to Turn DHCP Off

But DHCP by its nature means your device may have different addresses over time, and there are some reasons you might not want this. A prime example is if you're running a server, such as a self-hosted web server.

You'll need a consistent way to contact said server, and the easiest path to achieve that is to give it a static IP address, i.e. you'll actually configure the machine with an IP address yourself. On the plus side, this means you have control over which address your machine receives. However, you'll need to be careful with those configurations, especially when it comes to not duplicating any addresses.