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Convert Win95 machines from Static IP to DHCP

Novell Cool Solutions: Trench
By Edward Falzon

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Posted: 18 Jun 1999

Current Version: ZENworks 2

Jonathan F., has created a slick tool that will let you convert a Win95 computer from static IP to DHCP. It promises to save lots of shoeleather and administrator-grief. Which is, of course, the very definition of a ZENworks cool solution, and our complete raison d'etre.

Jonathan works for Chatham County Government in Savannah, Georgia, USA, and he reports that they "LOVE ZENworks -- it allows us to manage our skyrocketing number of desktops with a very limited staff. It's fun, too!" He's responsible for the server, desktop, and network infrastructure group. "Whew," he says, "We got a whole lotta geekin' goin' on!"

While he's not hanging around with his Hyper-Cool family ("My spouse and I are the proud parents of two hyper-energetic boys."), he does a bit of network consulting and technology writing on the side. He maintains a technology tips site that's packed full of juicy networking stuff, so pop over there sometime and check it out. We thought it was a very cool place, and we're adding it to our Hot Links page. Thanks, Jonathan!

ZEN is a cool way for a network administrator to convert statically-addressed Windows 95 workstations into DHCP stations. (A technician used to have to "touch" each machine, yuck!)

You can't do this directly from ZEN, but you can use a program I wrote as a "Forced RunOnce" ZEN application object. (The reason that you can't do it from ZEN is that there's registry enumeration involved; there's no one-to-one key mapping.)

My "DHCPME" program will deal with the enumeration, and convert a Win95 computer from static IP to DHCP. I recommend that it be put into SYS:\public\local -- I usually specify a local tools directory under public, because when you move servers, you can easily bring your local tools with you by copying one directory, instead of sifting through the bazillions of files in PUBLIC.

To-do for the App object:

  • Obviously, point at your f:\public\local\dhcpme.exe.

  • This tool does NOT check for the OS version. You MUST check for Windows 9x in the System Requirements page, and disallow running from NT. Failure to do this will lead to unpredictable results.

  • Naturally, you want to check "Run Once" on the Identification page.

  • When you associate the app, make sure to "force run" it.

We've used this with good success internally, but of course, other people's mileage may vary. Cheers, and enjoy!

Editor's Note: Neither Jonathan F. nor Novell, Inc., are responsible for any ill effects that might be experienced by users of this tool. Proceed at your own risk.

Download DHCPME.

More on this topic

Another reader has contributed an AXT file that works with this solution. Check out Using ZEN to convert from Static IP to DHCP Also on that page you'll find another solution involving the Microsoft Scripting Host.

And if you want to know how to do it on Win NT, check out this article.

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