How to Fix a 169 IP Address Error

Having trouble reaching your DCHP servers? There are ways around that

When you can't connect to the internet, and your computer seems to have an IP address that starts with 169, there's a simple explanation. This type of error happens when a Windows computer requests an IP address and doesn't receive one. To fix this sort of 169 IP address error, your computer must be able to obtain a valid IP address from your network.

Hands thrown up in frustration at a 169 IP address error.
Dmitry Ageev / Blend Images / Getty Images

Causes of 169 IP Address Error

For a computer to access the internet through a network, it needs a valid IP address. The easiest way to make sure this happens seamlessly is through the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), which is a setting that allows the router to automatically assign an IP address to each device on the network.

When a Windows computer isn't able to communicate with the DHCP server, something called Automatic Private IP Addressing (APIPA) kicks in. It assigns the computer an IP address that starts with 169.254. These IP addresses are only useful on local networks, not the internet.

Without communication between the computer and the DHCP server, and as long as the computer has a 169 IP address, it can't connect to the internet. That's why the fix for this problem involves making sure your computer and the DHCP server can communicate. When that happens, the problem basically fixes itself.

How to Fix a 169 IP Address Error

To fix an error where your computer has an invalid IP address that starts with 169, you need to make it so that the networking device in your computer is able to communicate with your network hardware.

Depending on the reason you experience this error, you may be able to accomplish this by resetting the network hardware, telling the networking device in the computer to request a new IP address, or changing some settings in the router.

  1. Power cycle the network hardware. Turn off and unplug your modem and router, and then plug both devices back in. When the network hardware starts back up, and your computer attempts to reconnect to the network, it may be able to obtain a valid IP address.

  2. Use the Windows networking troubleshooter. This automated process takes care of most networking problems, including ones that prevent a computer from obtaining a valid IP address.

  3. Request a new IP address. This is a little more complicated because you need to open a command prompt and enter a series of commands. In most cases, this allows the computer to obtain a valid IP address.

  4. Check the DHCP settings in the router. There are two ways that a router can assign IP addresses. Either the router dynamically assigns a unique IP address to each device, with no input from you, or you must assign a unique static IP address to each device manually.

    DHCP is the setting that allows a router to assign IP addresses dynamically. If this setting is turned off, and you haven't set a static IP address for the computer, you won't be able to access the internet.

  5. Disable the router. In some cases, you can fix this type of problem by disabling the networking device and then re-enabling it, or by uninstalling and reinstalling the driver. These are similar processes that both require you to access the Windows Device Manager.

  • What is an IP address?

    An IP address, short for Internet Protocol address, is an identifying number for network hardware connected to a network. Having an IP address allows a device to communicate with other devices over an IP-based network like the internet.

  • How do you disable DHCP?

    DHCP using automatic IP address assignment means the same device may have different addresses over time, and there are some reasons you might not want this. To disable DHCP on a Windows computer, press the Windows + x keys and click Settings > Network & Internet > Select a connection > Properties > Edit to access DHCP settings.

  • What Is a static IP address?

    A static IP address is an IP address that is manually configured for a device instead of one that is assigned by a DHCP server. It's called static since it doesn't change, unlike a a dynamic IP address that does change.

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