Picture this: You’ve just connected your PC to the internet, and your Windows throws the warning error, which reads, “Windows has detected an IP address conflict.” After this, your access to the internet breaks off and you can’t go online despite having a secured network connection.
What is the “Windows has detected an IP address conflict” error and how do you fix it?
On Windows, several IP address conflicts usually get resolved by themselves, and you don’t even get a warning error.
You need to know exactly what has caused your computer’s IP address to clash with that of another system connected to the same network.
So, let’s take a look at how a Windows computer faces an IP address conflict and how you can get this error fixed to resume internet access.
“Windows has detected an IP address conflict” – What Does it Mean?
The meaning of “Windows has detected an IP address conflict” error is easy to decode. In simple words, it tells you that your computer’s “unique” address for internet connectivity is no longer exclusive.
As we all know, a computer’s IP (Internet Protocol) address is its identity to communicate with connected systems through the internet. Each computer must have a unique 8-bit (octet) number which represents a 32-bit address to communicate within a network.
This basic function and characteristic of an IP address are applicable to both, networks and hosts.
In a network-connected environment, when your computer and some other computer share the exact same address, both systems face an IP address conflict.
Sometimes, the warning error also reads – “There is an IP address conflict with another system on the network.” This message is more self-explanatory.
So, Why Has Windows Detected an IP Address Conflict?
In most cases, IP address conflicts are temporary errors. Windows resolves them quickly with its built-in network troubleshooter. But, when the operating system can’t identify the cause of the conflict, it leaves you stuck with the cryptic error message.
To figure out why Windows has detected an IP address conflict, you can bear the following in mind –
- Windows computers can forget their configured IP addresses if they are back online after an extended standby period or left in the hibernated mode for too long
- If someone manually assigns an IP address to a computer that’s exactly the same as yours, you face the overlap. This is the most common cause and happens in small home/business networks where a DHCP manages the IP addresses of connected systems.
- When bridging the connection between your computer and the router, you can face a Network Bridge failure. Your Windows system is unable to get its own IP address.
- A static IP address assigned to even a single connected device.
- A power outage can reset your network server. Thereafter, the server is unable to set a unique IP address by itself.
- DHCP server embedded with multiple wireless access points may hand out matching IP addresses to systems
Keeping these in mind, it is time to find the best way to fix “Windows has detected an IP address conflict” error on your Windows PC.
Here’s How to Fix “Windows has Detected an IP Address Conflict” Error
IP address conflicts are temporary and happen to most of us. But, when this cryptic Windows error doesn’t get resolved by itself, you need to work your way out by trying some of these solutions.
1. Disable Static IP
Your first shot to resolve the IP address conflict is simple. By disabling the static IP address on your system, you’ll allow Windows to obtain a unique IP address.
- Open the Run dialog (press Windows + R keys)
- Type “ncpa.cpl” and hit the Enter key
- In the Network Connections window, right-click on your current connection and click on ‘Properties’
- Click on ‘Yes’ if a UAC prompt shows up
- Now, in the Properties window, browse the items list under the Networking tab
- Double-tap the Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) item to open their properties’ window
- Enable the following options – Obtain an IP address automatically and Obtain DNS server address automatically
- Click on OK and exit the windows
To put the change into effect, restart your Windows and see if you still face an IP address conflict.
Static IP addresses are simpler and can be easily duplicated. Unlike a dynamic IP address, static IPs poses security risks. However, the only downside to removing static IP is you may lose stability when your service provider automatically changes the address regularly.
2. Renew/Release the IP address
Routers use DHCP servers to automatically connect multiple computers to a network. In this process, identical IP addresses get assigned to different computers automatically.
To fix this, you need to allow your router to release the current IP address and renew it thereafter.
- Go to the Start menu and type “cmd” in the search box
- Right-click on the first result and click on ‘Run as admin’ option from the menu
- In the Command Prompt window, key in the following commands and hit the Enter key after each line
netsh int ip reset c:\resetlog.txt
Test your browser to load a web page after this method. If it works, then you don’t need to try out other fixes any further.
Also, if your Windows 10 PC is connected in a business network that has leased IP addresses, then you can use this fix to renew the IP addresses once the DHCP lease expires.
3. Turn off IPv6
Next, you could try changing the default IP address on your latest Windows 10 computer. Since the onset of Internet Protocol Version 6, each PC has a dynamic IP address by default.
Removing this IPv6 address can sort the conflict on your PC.
To disable IPv6, follow the steps (1) to (5) from the first solution shown above.
Now, in the items list, uncheck or deselect the option that says Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6). To confirm this, click on OK and close all the windows. Restart your PC and see if this resolves the IP address conflict on your system.
4. Update Network Adapter
Sometimes, an outdated driver is all you need to fix to resolve an IP address conflict. If you don’t recall the last time you updated the network adapters on Windows 10, get them upgraded immediately.
Here’s how to update network adapters on Windows 10 –
- Open the Run dialog (Windows + R)
- Type “devmgmt.msc” and hit the Enter key
- Browse through the devices and expand the list for Network adapters
- Right-click on the current network adapter (driver software)
- Click on ‘Update Driver Software…’ from the drop-down menu
- Follow the onscreen instructions and select – Search automatically for updated driver software
Now, restart your Windows 10, open your web browser and see if you’re still facing the conflict of IP addresses. If this fixes your issues, then you can also update your network drivers automatically with free driver updater tools.
5. Reboot your Router
Finally, you can restart your router to fix the conflict. When the router reboots, it assigns a new IP address to your computer. So, the ‘Windows has detected an IP address conflict’ error gets instantly resolved by pressing the power button of your router and restarting the device.
Pro Tips on How to Avoid IP Address Conflicts
The “Windows has detected an IP address conflict” error can put a stop to your Internet use. The above fixes can resolve the conflict, but it becomes frustrating to repeat them when you keep facing IP address conflicts on your Windows 10 PC.
Once your IP address conflict is resolved, you can avoid these complicated solutions by keeping a few things mind. Below, you’ll see a list of things to do to avoid IP address conflicts on Windows 10.
- Restrict others from re-configuring your IP address – Do not allow admin privileges to other end users, which would stop them from manually changing the IP address of your computer
- Only use DHCP servers for network connections – Unlike DNS servers, IP address management is the biggest advantage of DHCP servers
- Use reserved IP addresses – Learn how to reserve IP addresses and make proper documentation to enable them whenever needed
- In a home or business network, prefer working with multiple DHCP servers – If one DHCP server mistakenly assigns the same IP, another DHCP server connected in-line can fix this duplication instantly
- Shorten your DHCP leases (for enterprises) – Set the DHCP lease time to 2 days so clients can start a new lease without losing the IP address
- Keep a regular back up of your DHCP server – Use data recovery tools to restore the IP address database whenever a DHCP server crashes
- Enable your server with IP address conflict detection tools – Use DHCP server-side IP scanner tools to avoid IP address conflicts at the outset
Put a check on the particulars of this list and you’ll not face an IP address conflict, again and again.
Let’s hope you enjoy a seamless internet access going forward.