Are you getting this error message: Ethernet doesn’t have a valid IP configuration – when trying to diagnose network issues in Windows? This means your computer couldn’t get a valid IP address from the DHCP server, which could be the modem, wireless router, or switch. Let us explain the reason why this network error occurs on your Windows computer and how you can fix it.
When your computer connects to a wired network through an Ethernet cable (or a wireless network through a wireless router), it sends a request to the DHCP server and asks for an IP address and related information. The DHCP server responds to this request with an IP address, subnet mask, default gateway, and DNS server. Your computer uses this information to configure its network settings automatically and connect to the network.
Unfortunately, your Windows computer can’t receive network configuration information to set up the network connection for some reason. That’s why you get this network error on your Windows computer. As a result, your computer can’t access the internet or communicate with other devices in the same local network.
The good news is, in the most cases, this is a software-related issue, which you can quickly resolve with a few simple steps. In this article, we want to give you a few useful methods that you can use to fix this network error on your Windows computer.
Methods To Fix Ethernet Doesn’t Have A Valid IP Configuration Error In Windows
Some reasons could lead to this network error, for example, problems from the DHCP server, expired network cached files on your computer, incorrect settings in the network adapter, or a faulty network driver.
To get rid of this network error, you can try to reset the Winsock protocol, reset TCP/IP settings, clean up network cached files, or manually configure network settings. However, we would recommend restarting your Windows computer before using any of the methods below. Besides, it would help if you also reboot your modem or wireless router, the one that is acting as the DHCP server. Occasionally, you only need a reboot to get rid of the most common errors.
Note: This error can also happen when you use a wireless network. In that case, the error message will be “WiFi doesn’t have a valid IP configuration”, instead of “Ethernet doesn’t have a valid IP configuration”. Whether it’s “Ethernet” or “WiFi”, it’s still the same network error we are talking about.
1. Reset Winsock Protocol & TCP/IP Settings
Winsock, also called Windows Socket, is a technical specification that describes the data in the Windows operating system that programs use to access the network. Any program, for example, a web browser or an instant messaging application, that wants to go online must use Winsock.
The netsh winsock reset command reverts the Winsock Catalog to its default settings. It helps your Windows computer to recover to the normal state from any socket errors. This is a common problem-solving step for networking issues that is effortless. One more thing, performing this command won’t cause any additional problems.
To get started, press Windows + X on your keyboard and select Command Prompt (Admin) option from the popped-up menu. This action launches the Command Prompt program with administrative privilege.
In the User Account Control window, click on the Yes button to confirm that you want to open the Command Prompt program.
In the next step, type: netsh winsock reset command into the Command Prompt window and press Enter to execute it.
Next, execute the two following commands: netsh int tcp reset and netsh int ip reset to reset TCP/IP settings.
Once you have executed the three commands above, restart your Windows computer to take effect.
If the “Ethernet doesn’t have a valid IP configuration” network error persists, you can go to the next solution.
2. Flush All The Network Cached Files
If reverting the Windows Socket to its default settings couldn’t help to resolve this network error, then you can try to execute the three commands below, in order.
- The first command is: ipconfig /release, to clear IP configuration of your computer from the DHCP server.
- The second command is: ipconfig /flushdns, to clear all DNS cached files on your computer.
- The last command is: ipconfig /renew, to broadcast a DHCPDISCOVER packet and then start to establish IP address and DNS information on your computer.
After executing these Command Prompt’s commands, restart your computer and check again whether your internet connection is back to the normal state.
3. Manually Configure TCP/IP Settings
If the “Ethernet doesn’t have a valid IP configuration” network error remains after performing two above solutions, you should try to set up TCP/IP settings manually.
To do so, open the Network and Sharing Center by right-clicking on the network connection icon at your Windows taskbar.
In the network connection status window, click on the Properties button to open the properties of the current network adapter.
From the network adapter properties window, double-click on the “Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)” option. If you use IPv6, then select the “Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6)” option instead.
From this step, there are two cases:
Case #1: Clear All Static IP Settings
If you have set up your network adapter with a static IP address, you should clear them out and let the DHCP server assign an IP address automatically. Sometimes, malicious apps have adjusted the settings of your network adapter on purpose, silently. Therefore, if you don’t use a static IP address, you also should check this section to ensure everything is good.
Select two options as the following images below to allow the DHCP server to assign the IP address and related information, such as subnet mask and default gateway automatically.
Switching back to the automatic configuration mode will help you to get rid of the “Ethernet doesn’t have a valid IP configuration” network error if this is the real cause.
Case #2: Set Static IP Address Correctly
If your network adapter is in the default state, but your computer is still getting this network error, set a static IP address for it.
The properties you need to set are IP address, Subnet mask, Default gateway, and DNS server.
- IP address: 192.168.1.66
- Subnet mask: 255.255.255.0
- Default gateway: 192.168.1.1
- DNS server: 18.104.22.168, 22.214.171.124
Look at the image below to see the way we have set everything up:
In this case, the default gateway is the IP address of the DHCP server. Depending on where the DHCP server is running, it could be your modem or router. When setting up a static IP address for your network adapter, you can use any IP address you want, but make sure it follows the IP address range of the DHCP server.
Like the example above, the default gateway address is 192.168.1.1, and so your IP address must be in the 192.168.1.xxx form. This [xxx] number can be from 2 to 255 but must not be the same number that other devices are using because that will lead to an IP conflict problem.
These values must change accordingly, follow the IP form of the DHCP server. For instance, if the DHCP server is running at the IP address: 10.0.0.1, then you can’t configure the IP address of your network adapter as 192.168.1.66.
It should be:
- IP address: 10.0.0.66
- Subnet mask: 255.255.255.0
- Default gateway: 10.0.0.1
- DNS server: 126.96.36.199, 188.8.131.52
With the new DHCP server, here are the new properties of your network adapter:
Once you have filled all essential details, tick the “Validate settings upon exit” checkbox and click on the OK button to save the changes. After that, restart your Windows computer and recheck whether your internet connection is back to the normal state.
4. Update Or Reinstall Network Adapter’s Driver
If all the above methods can’t help you to fix the “Ethernet doesn’t have a valid IP configuration” network error on your Windows computer, then there could be an issue with the network adapter’s driver. The driver could be damaged by viruses or malware. This error can occur due to incompatibility because the network adapter’s driver is outdated.
Therefore, you need to update the network adapter’s driver to the latest version or reinstall it if there is no new update available. To do so, press Windows + X on your keyboard and select the Device Manager option from the pop-up menu.
From the list of devices, find your network adapter, right-click on it, and choose the “Update driver” option.
In the next step, there are two options to choose:
- Search automatically for updated driver software: Search for the valid driver from the repository of Microsoft and update it automatically.
- Browse my computer for driver software: Select the driver from your computer, the one that you have downloaded before.
Select the option you want to use and then update the network adapter’s driver. Besides, you can uninstall the network adapter’s driver, go to the manufacturer’s website to get the latest version of the network adapter’s driver, and then install it again.
After updating or reinstalling the network adapter’s driver, restart your computer and check again whether this network error persists.
5. Check Your Ethernet Cable & Reboot Your Modem Or Wireless Router
It’s also possible that your network cable is loose or partially damaged. You should double-check the connection from your computer to the DHCP server (which is the modem or wireless router, and so forth) and make sure it’s fine. If you suspect your cable has been broken, replacing it would be a wise choice.
Besides, as we mentioned earlier in this article, a reboot of your modem or wireless router can be helpful in many cases. Sometimes, these devices aren’t stable because having been working 24/7 for weeks or even months and need a break to release occupied resources like RAM. According to many reports from users, this network error often goes away after rebooting their modem or wireless router.
If you have any questions about this article or the “Ethernet doesn’t have a valid IP configuration” network error, don’t hesitate to let me know by leaving your comment below.