Acquiring Network Address

My computer wouldn’t connect to the home network. It sees it just find, but hangs on “acquiring network address.” An hour of jiggering with various solutions, and nothing’s working. I reset the router, mess with the DHCP, restart miscellani, all to no effect.

Ultimately, in desperation I ran “Network Setup Wizard,” and it asked to restart. I clicked yes. Before it restarts it immediately connects to the network. This after an hour of work. All this for a machine that had previously been working on the same network weeks ago.

Windows XP is a very nice operating system, and Microsoft makes good products. As I tell my class, they make pretty good products that are pretty easy to use at a pretty good price. They are not the best in anything, but they are pretty good in everything.

But there’s still so far to go. Almost identical menus are strewn all across the Windows interface: some through control panels, some through the status bar, some through both, some through the help system.

290 thoughts on “Acquiring Network Address”

  1. You need to make sure you have the latest drivers installed, which most of the drivers address problems like this. I have XP Home SP3 and had a 2004 driver and the WZC had to be started each time, so I went to the manf. website and downloaded the latest driver which was from 2005 and I deleted the old drivers and installed the new drivers rebooted and that resolved the problem! I will be getting a PCI Wireless NIC, but this will serve as temporary solution.

  2. check out this page and maybe it will work for anyone who still has this problem, it was the only thing that worked for me after trying everything else. Goog Luck.

  3. I had this same issue for 2 nights now…. tried many different suggestions.

    Solution: I had missed a CAP in the WEP password. Double check your connection passwords!

  4. Same problem on two occasions. One still unsolved, other solved. Our set up is a peer to peer home network. Mix of CAT5 and wireless. All Windows (XP and Vista). With Netgear modem running WEP or WPA (not WPA2) could get all but one machine to wireless. All settings we could find on all machines were the same. If you switched all security off… that last machine also worked. Once security put back on, that one machine (a Dell Inspiron 9 netbook) wouldn’t connect again. All the others did. Problem unsolved because we then hooked up a newer DLink DIR300 instead. Same problem at first, except Dell worked and two laptops and one PDA didn’t. Two other laptops did. This one is fixed. EASY SOLUTION (I am stupid): there are two passwords. One to log in to the router to configure it and a DIFFERENT one for wireless. I was endlessly trying the first when it wanted the second. What I’d love to know (or maybe not) is why two other laptops work happily with the router log in and not the wireless log in. I am not complaining, I suppose! BTW, huge thanks to the many people who have contributed to this – you are wonderful people.

  5. Didnt bother reading the above wall of txt but I had a laptop also not moving past “Acquiring network address”. I changed the WPA – Shared key on both router and laptop and works fine now.

  6. My setup is Windows xp, Livebox – 57F8 supplied by Orange. I experienced the same problem as most people here. I had a Desktop & a Acer Aspire Laptop. Desktop was permanently connected via Local Area Cable. Laptop, I used via Wireless connection. Everything worked fine for years. I never actually powered up or used the desktop for months – in fact I can’t remember using it last. Everything was fine, until I dismantled and threw away the desktop. Just to check, I connected my laptop to the Livebox router via cable and all was fine for a whole day, but next day my Wireless Connection failed. Came up with same error as most people here: “Acquiring network address”. Then that would fail. I tried all sorts of solutions suggested on this forum. With some it would connect for a minute or two then fail. Finally I resolved the problem in the following way: Do the following:
    1) Start, Connect To.., Show all connection, Right click on “Local Area Connection, Properties, Advanced (tab). Here make sure th two boxes in “Internet Connections Sharing” are ticked. If not, ten tick them. Click on OK.

    2) In a word document, type your WAP key. You can obtain this from you router configuration document – e.g. 4EBBD043AE1442BFCBA216FA14
    (Don’t worry – this is not my genuine WAP key)
    Make sure it is all in CAPITALS and there are no gaps.

    3) Again do this.
    Start, Connect to, Show all connections.
    This time right click on “Wireless Network Connections”, Properties, Wireles Networks (tab), Livebox – 57F8 (Automatic), Properties.
    Now copy & paste the WAP key from your word document, to here in “Network Key” and “Confirm network key” areas. Click on OK.

    This worked for me. I hope it works for you too. Good luck.

  7. Martin’s solution worked for me, I found the ASD services were not running. The links to Microsoft fixed the problem. I had to re-install hidden files from the XP disc. Thanks for the web links Martin!

  8. I tried everything here to get a client’s laptop to connect. Had the same ‘Acquiring Network Address’ message ( IP).

    Solution was to change the WPA cipher type from AES to TKIP. I guess the internal NIC is too old to use AES (have the latest driver) even though it is an option in the NIC settings.


  9. Start-settings-network connections= double click network connections- click properties-click Microsoft TGP-IP-click install

  10. Many thanks Chris (7th from top)
    After weeks of trying other suggestions, I ran services.msc, wireless connections and found DHCp was disabled, I enabled it and set it to automatic and all was well. (I had previously set WAP password to 6 digits and 4 letters after an expert had told me that 8 digits was not enough even though my router said 8 to 64 characters)

  11. Most of the time deleting the “wireless profile” and starting over will fix this issue,
    Article here shows how to delete wireless profiles in windows xp or vista:

    Other than that its likely DHCP is stopped/disabled and so should be started and set its startup type to Automatic.
    To do that:
    control panel/administrive tools/services/locate and click once on DHCP Client, use the panel on the left to start the service, double click the entry to change the startup type, save the changes made.

  12. I suffered this problem too, tried many things in the site. Had a good connection for a month with new wi-fi, then all at once got the dreaded message. Solution for me, actually came from another board – From Rick at
    Sounds like your TCP/IP might be damaged in Windows.

    To fix this, repairing your Winsock might work. You can do so by opening the command shell (Start > Run > cmd.exe) and type netsh winsock reset and restart your computer. This command only works in Windows XP with service pack 2 installed.

    Alternatively, you can use a program such as WinsockXP, which makes the process fool-proof.
    I used the command, didn’t download anything and it worked. I also have XP with service pack 3. Thanks to Rick (message was posted September of 2006) and good luck to all!

  13. startting the “DHCP client” service worked for me.
    wallaaa…….. thanks for the advices… 🙂

  14. startting the “DHCP client” service worked for me.

    Thanks!!! 🙂 Been working on this for two (2) days.

  15. Not able to connect to wireless router, not thru ethernet cable too.
    It always stuck in acquiring network address status. Using netgear router.
    Have been trying all the options from last 2 days.
    Never had this problem in last three years
    with my compaq laptop. Now thinking of
    re installing the windows.

    Suggest me something plz

  16. Oh, the relief of getting this to working.

    Ivan Rodrigues, you’re a blessing!

    DHCP was off in services, now it’s not. You’ve saved me hours (more) of stuffing around while trying to get this to work! Won’t forget this fix in a hurry!


  17. DAN thanks 🙂 i tried re-entering my network key and it worked well.. thanks

    July 11th, 2007 at 12:00 am
    I was struggling with this problem on an acer notebook that had been fine for about 18 months. Admittedly, I had recently been messing with the wireless settings when I was on vacation, but I’m sure I did NOT change the WPA shared key…. or did I? Because when I re-entered the WPA shared key for my home network (open the Wireless Network Connection Status / click on Properties / Select the Wireless Networks tab / select the relevant network from the list under “Preferred Networks” / Select properties / Re-enter the Network Key — note: I found my network key in my router’s settings after connecting by wire to the router and visiting — the IP depends on your router), … then all was immediately solved. I had tried many of the things suggested above without any luck.

    Actually, there’s one thing I did not try: I did NOT re-run the Windows network setup wizard…. but if I had, I presume that would have solved the problem, because, I think, the wizard would have prompted me for the WPA key…

    This was a really tough problem for me… for days, I was connecting to my router by wire just because as hard as I tried, I could not find a solution.

  18. My God! This was the most frustrating 3 hours of my p*****g life! Thanks to somebody’s advice, I simply turned the sodding router off and on again, and the frigging thing worked. I was about to throw the damned thing out of the window.
    Thanks for everybody who’s advice I read!

  19. After 4 hours – this worked for me:

    Control Panel – Administrative Tools – Services; make sure TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper and DHCP Client services are started

  20. FIVE hours of trying every different tactic to solve this problem, yours was the only one that worked. Thanks much!

  21. hi i has a problem with my computer ive already tried alot of the stuff here bu nothing seems to fix this problem when i try to enable my DHCP client it sais “Error 1068: dependecy or group failed to start” can some one possibally give me information on how to do this plz ty

  22. omg.

    This article just made me $45. I agreed to help a friend install her a new Wireless Card on her Windows XP machine, and being so used to Windows 7 I almost forgot how retarded Windows XP is when configuring Wireless Networks. This page = Win. I would “favourite” it if I could.

  23. I literally went thru all of the advice in this extensive thread (thanks for those who offered help) and i am still having the same issue.

    A household member recently got a new laptop with windows 7. Before this the two existing laptops and one desktop all running win xp all worked at the same time. All from the wireless router, no problems.

    Fired up the new laptop with win7 and it knocked out all the other computers.

    Ended up getting a new router and it managed to get the desktop and other laptop as well as the new laptop all working fine with each other but my personal laptop is giving me the ‘aquiring network address’ that never aquires it.

    It detects our wireless network but it just hangs on the ‘aquiring network address’ bit

    I am at a loss as to what else to try.

    Any other ideas?


  24. I had an issue with an XP machine SP3 always “acquiring address” and found that the automatic NetBIOS over TCP was set to default in the TCP/IP connection settings under “advanced” button WINS tab NetBIOS setting.

    Set this to “Enable NetBIOS over TCP/IP” instead of “Default”

    Note: You might want to disable “LMHosts” if you aren’t using it. If this is checked nd no LMHost file exists it could cause delays in the query process.

  25. Managed to solve it in the end thanks people, PASSWORD is case sensitive and instead of telling you “invalid password” or “wrong password” it just says “aquiring network” which is no use to anybody!

    feel like a bit of a tit now! only spent about 20hours in total of my life trying to get back online.

  26. @ Justin,

    on the last laptop that cannot connect have you deleted all old wireless profiles and started from scratch? (see my post further up for steps on how to do this)
    *Be sure it is YOUR network it is trying to connect to and not a neighbours similarly named network.

    Also try with encryption disabled … in router setup turn off the need for a password to connect to the router … if you can then connect re-enable but try an alternative option; example wep/wpa etc

    Try a winsock repair ..just google for the steps.

    Temporarily disable firewall .. check firewall logs for signs of connection being blocked etc.

    Perhaps a driver update for the network card as a last resort.

  27. Hi,
    the DHCP did not work for me. However, another rahter simple approach solved it. I ran my internet explorer 8 and typed an address in. it obviously could not connect but offered to diagnose the connection problem. Running through its steps, the helper reported back that it was unable to fix the problem, when in fact it had! hope this helps someone. Cheers!

  28. Got a Belkin usb wireless adaptor with a linksys router. All other machines worked fine except one which hung on “Acquiring Network Address”. Spent hours (possibly days) trying to figure it out and eventually gave up about a year ago.

    Then accidentally found this site and Ivan Rodriguez’ suggestion:
    -Go to:
    Control Panel – Administrative Tools – Services; make sure TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper and DHCP Client services are started

    Ivan, THANKS A MILLION. All works fine

  29. I’m sure he won’t read this because his posting is so long ago but the_duck’s suggestion rescued me. I have spent days on this, rebuilding systems, etc. I was stuck on acquiring network address. So I changed the router to Security-Disabled and set 3 wireless computers to Open. They all connected. Then I changed the router to the Security I wanted and was able to connect with all three with the new security. Sometimes the simple suggestions do the job.

    Thanks again to the_duck

  30. I spoke too soon. I have 3 laptops that can run wireless. I was only having problems with 1. As soon as I rebooted that one, it went right back to the same old problem. Curious. So more work is required.

  31. One final posting. When I completely updated the XP system with all Windows Updates, the problem went away for good.

  32. @JB, thanks a heap, your response works like magic. I am a junior IT technician at this institution of higher learning and no doubt my superiors will have a higher opinion of me after solving this problem. And thank you to everyone who participated, thank you people. I would say God bless you, but i know some of you guys are atheists.

  33. I have tried renewing IP, rebooting router, changing network key but all didn’t work. The problem solved when I fix TCPIP by downloading winsocks. Try it.

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