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Converting Static IP to DHCP on Win NT

Novell Cool Solutions: Trench

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Posted: 10 May 2000

Current version: ZENworks 2

We've had a number of questions about how to convert workstations from a static IP address to a DHCP address. We've previously published some solutions for Win 95, and now we've got something for Windows NT as well. Here are two solutions, from some of our coolest ZENmasters.


James H. wrote: This is a question for the ZEN Guru's out there! I'm currently at a client site working on deploying ZEN and GroupWise, but the question regards ZEN and DHCP. I'm converting the workstations here from a static IP to a DHCP address, I have seen your Helps and Hints on doing this on a Win95 platform and I think the dudes who wrote the DHCPme.exe and the ones who shared the DHCPit.AXT need to be thanked a million times.. =) But that does not cover the side of the NT Workstation. Both solutions do not touch an NT enviroment so I'm still with over 75% of my workstation with static IPs.


Stefan E. wrote: I want to change from static IP to DHCP enabled. I also want to disable DNS. I have seen some apps about it, but I am not pleased with them. We use ZENworks 2 with Win 95-98 and NT 4 on all ws. Maybe there are some apps out there, please let me know.


Lupe N. wrote: Hey guys! I have a situation that I'm hoping you can help me with. Our company is getting ready to go from Static IP's to DHCP. We were hoping we could use ZENworks to accomplish this. We are currently using ZENworks 2 and all of our workstations are running Windows NT 4.0. We were wondering if you guys had an answer for this. I saw an entry for Windows 95, but we need an NT fix. Is it even possible? Any help would be greatly appreciated as many projects are on hold until we can find a solution. We have 600+ machines we need to switch over.

Solution #1

By Gary Busby


You've seen a few Windows 9x DHCP enablers, but not one for NT 4. Well, this one is the crown jewel. This one is for Win9x AND NT 4. It is completely silent and automated without any user interface which is ideal for pushing it out with ZENworks. In addition, it has its own OS detection process. Great to use to setup with a "lights-out" distribution overnight. Just ensure you set it to reboot upon completion and for NT it will need Admin rights (you can use several ZENworks features to accomplish this).

Go get the zip file from Gary's site,

Solution #2

By Craig Wilson

Recently I received a request to find a way to automatically update NT stations from static IP addresses to DHCP. I was also requested to find a way to guarantee that all workstations were running a specific IPX frame-type.

Normally, this would require a technician to visit each PC, logon as an administrator, and manually change the settings. If you have 1000s of PCs in multiple locations, this can be quite expensive. Using ZENworks, however, this can be accomplished quite quickly and easily.

Changing an NT workstation to use DHCP and use a standard frame-type only requires a few registry changes. The tough part, however, is that these changes are not the same on all machines but vary depending on the NIC manufacturer, model and driver. The changes required would be different for each different NIC driver used in all your workstations.

I have developed a ZENworks application that is able to perform the different registry updates on any NT station regardless of the make, model, or driver version used by workstation.

To Change a PC to use DHCP the following registry entries must be made.

  1. Key=HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ CurrentControlSet\Services\DHCP


    This setting will force the DHCP service to automatically start.

  2. Key=HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ CurrentControlSet\Services\XXXX\ Parameters\Tcpip


    This setting will force an empty subnetmask setting for the workstation. (Note: XXXX in this and all other examples is the name NT gives to the NIC card.)

  3. Key=HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ CurrentControlSet\Services\XXXX\ Parameters\Tcpip


    This setting will force an empty IP address setting for the workstation.

  4. Key=HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ CurrentControlSet\Services\XXXX\ Parameters\Tcpip


    This setting enables DHCP for the specific NIC specified.

  5. Key=HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ CurrentControlSet\Services\ NwlnkIpx\NetConfig\XXXX

    Value=31 00 00

    This setting has nothing to do with DHCP, but will set the NIC card to use the IPX Frame type 802.2. A value of 30 will set the card to Ethernet_II and a value of 32 will set the card to 802.3.

The NAL object is quite simple. It simply has registry entries and default values for all of the above settings. The value of XXXX is discovered by querying the registry using the REGREAD command in a pre-launch script.

REGREAD "HKLM,SOFTWARE\Microsoft\ Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ NetworkCards\1,ServiceName"


The lines above will set the variable "MYNIC" to the name of the 1st NIC card in the workstation. Simply replace XXXX with the variable "MYNIC" and you are done. Below is a copy of the AXT and the associated files to allow you to update your workstations.

Go get the zip file from Craig's site,

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