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D-Link DI-524: unable to contact DHCP server
added Tue May 24 2005 at 8:20 PM
For the past three weeks since Kevin arrive with his computer, this problem has eluded me, but it has really stumped me the last few days, because Will finally got his computer here. I spent a couple hours (somewhere between 2 and 4) fighting with Kevin's computer before giving up with the final diagnosis that his computer was just really, really messed up. And his computer *is* messed up. He has at least one virus running rampant, spyware galore, and running Windows XP on 256 megs of RAM means that it takes about 10 minutes just to start up. But that wasn't what was keeping it from connecting to the internet.

A couple days ago, I spent even more time fighting with Will's computer. Several hours, at least. I tried everything I could think of with ipconfig: ipconfig /release , ipconfig /renew , I manually set the ip address and set the router to give him a static DHCP, and reset the modem, router, and his computer about a hundred times. When I looked at his ipconfig -all, it said that his IP was 169.x.x.x, which as it turns out is the default that Windows uses if it can't get another IP.

I searched everywhere, but could not for the life of me find anything that worked. Finally, I gave up and tried plugging him directly into the cable modem (which is why I wasn't online yesterday evening), figuring that maybe it was something that a Windows Update would address.

This evening, I was listening to music and doing laundry (ugh) when I remembered an experience I had setting up the router in the first place. In setting up the security, I decided to try out the feature that allowed MAC filtering. I only allowed Eric's computer and my own, and I accidentally deleted my mac address from the list. I had to use Eric's comptuer to reinstate myself as an allowed user, and I felt very foolish.

But that wasn't nearly as bad as how I felt just now when I asked myself if I ever turned off the MAC filtering. I had searched for it as a possibility before, but had not spent much time on that, since I couldn't find it in the options. It turns out that I had to click on a radio button to view the settings. Because it was a radio button instead of a tab or something, I assumed that the radio was set to something else, therefore it was *not* set on MAC filtering.

Long story (very long story) short, the reason why my roommates couldn't get online was not because of their computer, or even because the router was malfunctioning. It was functioning exactly how I told it to.

BTW, if anybody finds this and is trying to figure out how to fix their own connection, go to (which is the address to your router). Sign in as the admin (you do remember the password, right?), Go to Advanced->Filters and click on the radio button that says "MAC filters." What you do with that depends on how you want to resolve the problem. You can either add the computer in question to the list by adding their MAC address, or simply select "Disabled MAC filters." I ended up doing the latter for now, just because that was a lot easier, and because I'm still not sure what other computers we're going to be adding on.

To find the computer's MAC address, click on Start and go to "Run..." Type cmd and push enter. This pulls up the command window. In that, type < ipconfig -all > (no brackets). The MAC address is called the Physical Address, and is a string of 6 groups of 2 hexadecimal numbers (0-9a-f).