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Why Can’t I Connect with a 169.254 IP Address?

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My computer’s IP address was 192.168.x.xx, and somehow it was changed to something beginning with 169.254. Because of this I can’t access the internet. Any ideas?

Your computer’s IP address wasn’t “changed” so much as it was broken.

If your computer ends up with an IP address beginning with 169.254, then something is definitely wrong.

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Where IP addresses come from

Typically, the IP address of your computer is assigned when you boot your machine: using DHCP, your computer asks for an IP address.

If you are connected to a NAT router, it’ll be the one acting as a DHCP server and handing out IP addresses. In cases like this, you’ll most commonly get an address in the 192.168.x.x range.

If you’re directly connected to the internet, your IP address could be almost anything, but it’ll be assigned by a DHCP server run by your ISP.

Conceptual DHCP

IP addresses beginning with 169.254, however, are special.

Limited Connectivity

Almost all situations that result in a 169.254 IP address are flagged as “limited connectivity” in Windows. If you’re seeing that status text associated with your network connectivity, then you’re facing the problem discussed here.

When there’s no answer

This difficulty arises when your computer asks for an IP address, and no one responds to the request.

Whether due to a network problem, maybe not being on a network at all, or perhaps there’s no DHCP server to hand out IP addresses, the result is the same: the request for an IP address assignment goes unanswered.

Your machine waits for a while, and then gives up.

But when it gives up, it invokes what’s called Automatic Private IP Addressing, or APIPA, and makes up its own IP address. And those “made up” IP addresses all begin with 169.254.

Almost as good as no IP at all

The problem is that while making up an IP address actually does solve a few obscure problems, they’re all problems you and I don’t really care about as we try to use our computers normally. A 169.254 IP address is pretty close to useless.

The reason that IP addresses are assigned in the first place is so the networking equipment knows where to send or how to route packets that are destined to reach your machine at a particular address. In other words, when things work, the networking equipment knows your machine has this address. If your machine makes up its own address, no one else knows. As a result, there’s no way to know how to get to your machine.

It’s like having an unlisted phone number that’s so unlisted, even the phone company doesn’t know it. No one can call you.

Something’s broken

Getting a 169.254 address simply tells you that the machine cannot reach the DHCP server over the network.

Something isn’t working, but exactly what is difficult to say.

  • If you’re connected via a NAT router, then either your computer is not actually connected on the network to that router, or the router itself isn’t responding to the DHCP request. I suggest triple-checking your cabling and wireless settings, and perhaps rebooting the router and/or wireless access point. If you have a wireless connection, sometimes simply disabling and re-enabling it can resolve some situations, as might rebooting your computer.
  • If you’re connected to the internet directly, then there’s a problem with that connection. Check the cabling to your broadband modem, and check the cabling from your broadband modem to your telephone or cable line. And, if all else fails, call your ISP – it may actually be their DHCP server or some other item they control that’s at fault.

Bottom line: if you’re getting a 169.254 IP address, something about your network setup isn’t working, and you probably want to investigate what and why.

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55 comments on “Why Can’t I Connect with a 169.254 IP Address?”

  1. Hmmmm – is home your local machine or your home router? A good coffee conversation! It gets really weird when you consider IPv6..

  2. this is all makes sense, i have a spanner thrown into my works. i’m running a wireless network in my home. for some reason a few days ago my Desktop stopped connecting to the internet. phone my isp and we ran through a number of things. the computer wouldn’t run either through ethernet or usb to the modem. there appears to be nothing wrong with the computer tried going bac to a restore point when everything was working and this didn’t work there is nothing wrong with the router or the modem as i am still able to connect wirelessly from my laptop, actually what i’m usiing now to write this. but my desktop won’t connect to the router or the modem either through ethernet direct cable, usb or wirelessly i am stuck and don’t know where to turn now. have unistalled firwall and virus (after doing checks!) cann’t see any reason why adawre or spyware would actually try to stop me connecting. does anyone have any ideas?

  3. I Read the article with interest on the IP addreses and learned something new. Good explanation, have never been caught up in this sitiuation but now I know about and IP address that just will not work.

  4. The evening after I read this article, two of the computers in my home network started displaying this. I was so grateful I’d read the article because I knew (sort of at least) what was going on. Thanks for all the great information.

  5. Tobie, try new port on router? new cable? diffrent computer, connected to the router hardwired? Reset your router? manually configure your ip on that comptuer? Run->CMD->ipconfig /release (Enter) ipconfig /renew (Enter)? 30 sec power cycle? Finally Baseball bat, bet u could hit a home run!!!!

  6. —–BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE—–
    Hash: SHA1

    Ex, you’re ahead of your time. To bad your home isn’t widely available yet.

    Someday.

    Leo

    —–BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE—–
    Version: GnuPG v1.4.7 (MingW32)

    iD8DBQFGzKDGCMEe9B/8oqERAkPBAJ9XgWdx1IT9GCf6tFs9UWtEkw9gBgCggOSw
    PhS+NrTmugnCMTyYhctjMn4=
    =uU2Z
    —–END PGP SIGNATURE—–

  7. hi, i wanted to know why i am receiveing a message like this (the server name or address could not be resolved) . this happens when i try and conncet with just 1 website , ultimate baseball online, everything else works , it doesnt make any sence to me. please help me . thannk you

  8. I had the same problem with this wrong 169.254 ip address. Please check if you have set up WEP. If yes, check the authentication type; it must be “Open Authentication” on your wireless PC, otherwise the router can’t send the right ip address acording to the DHCP range, and the PC assumes the 169.254 managed by APIPA. It’s possible also to set up static IP address, but is not a good solution, and the conection is also very unstable.good look

  9. I seem to have found a solution to ip address 169.254.x.x following guidelines by leo.
    I simply went to services in administrative tools,right clicked on DHCP client stopped,waited for 5 secs and restarted DHCP client,unplugged ethernet cable from pc,restarted pc and router.
    Turned on the router first and plugged in the ethernet cable back in as pc started again.
    Checked ip address and pc picked up the right ip address letting me reconfigure the router.

  10. I RUN A INTERNET CAFE SOME TIMES MY COMPUTERS THEY GET APIPA.MOST OF THE TIME IT IS RESOLVED BY DISABLING & ENABLING THE NIC>A RELEASE RENEW>WINSOCK RESET>SWAPPING OF LAN CABLE> HARD RESET OF ROUTER.ALSO I DO CHECK THE LAN ADAPTOR BY PINGGING 127.0.0.1 . AM I FOLLOWING THE CORRECT TROUBLESHOOTING STEPS?IF NOT THEN WHAT ARE THE STEPS I SHOULD PERFORM?PLEASE REPLY.MY EMAIL ADDRESSS IS [email address removed]

  11. using router and switch connect with 6 pc with wired,3pc have ip:169.254.x.x why,
    I did power cycle, winsock, ipconfig/release/renew, …etc. still don’t fix.
    Please help me out.

  12. Indy – I got 169.254 on Dec 1 2008 on my 3rd day down – Im connected wired from the cable modem to the computer – when I remove the coax to the modem I get the IP for the modem – when I connect the coax back in the modem I get 169.254 again – using Charter internet – Thanks

  13. I have now experienced this problem with two clients and its the same problem with both wireless and wired pc and laptops. Something strange is going on here. I have tried every possible solution on google. I got so pissed I finally just reload XP on the computer and all was good. But I still haven’t come up with a solution. But I’m on the job and I will post the solution here on this site.

  14. Well I guess I was wrong. To get my client back on the net. I looked up his Ip address via his router then I regedit the registry and I searched for 169.254.16.119, his current stuck address and replaced it with and ip address in the real range of addresses and default gateway of 255.255.255.0 and ran winsockfix. I found on google and I am writing this fix on right know on his computer and he is very happy. It worked! I will do more research on this cause I want to know why this is happening.

  15. I am trying to recocnise a Vivotex PT 7137 PTZ camera usung supplier install software.
    All is fine, with an IP Address of 10.0.0.8 from a router DHCP server, in ipconfig until I run the discover program, then I end up with the following ipconfig

    Windows IP Configuration

    Ethernet adapter Local Area Connection:

    Connection-specific DNS Suffix . :
    IP Address. . . . . . . . . . . . : 169.254.19.220
    Subnet Mask . . . . . . . . . . . : 255.255.0.0
    IP Address. . . . . . . . . . . . : 10.0.0.8
    Subnet Mask . . . . . . . . . . . : 255.255.0.0
    Default Gateway . . . . . . . . . : 10.0.0.2

    Is this a standard problem for the discover programs?

    Thanks
    Rod

  16. I solved the problem pretty easily (I have vista though). The only thing I did is clicked ”diagnostic and repair” on the connection menu and chose ”get an ip address for the connection”. I actually tried it a couple of time yesterday night and it didn’t work. I just waited until this morning and it worked the first time I tried. It’s probably because I left my laptop closed for several hours. Good luck to all!

  17. The best way I have found this issue to be resolved if all wlse fails like
    netsh winsock reset catalog (vista)
    or netsh winsock reset (XP)
    try resetting the TCP/IP Stack in cmd prompt which is netsh int ip reset resetlog.txt
    see if that works. Sometimes as i have learnt Winsock does not always repair the issue even though it’s a last resort cmd. but resetting the tcp/ip stack can sometimes resolve this issue.

  18. Thank You, Thank You, Thank YOU to “Mark H”!!!
    I’ve just spend 8 hours in hell (can I say that word?), trying to revive my system from restore points and backups from (fortunately only) a week ago, but keeping track of everything … well long story short, my problem was this “dead network” connectivity with the 169.254.x.x IP address.
    Well, Mark H’s comments to the rescue, the command: “netsh winsock reset” for my XP did the trick! I’ll also look at the other command, “netsh int ip reset resetlog.txt” as I’m curious about that one.
    Also, does anyone have more info on “WINSOCKFIX” program, is it anything more than just these two commands above? I’m leery of a downloaded program from the web (e.g. the DLL fixers) as you hear such war stories about them.
    Best Regards to all, and again THANK YOU for having a site with such valuable posting, and to Mark H for the “winning” post!

  19. Microsoft offers a utility that will “hard reset” an IP address that has ‘defaulted’ to a bad ip address.

    Generally you can get the system to reconfigure itself… the issue is caused from a timing issue and static charge.. When you tell the system to reset the IP address it may not work.. do it several times.. then before trying to connect online power cycle your machine.. turn the machine completely off and even unplug it/remove battery. It may take several cycles of this.

    The windows utility and directions for a manual stack dump can be found here:

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/299357

  20. I have two other laptops connecting fine. Except this one with default ip address of 169.254.145.125.. I tried the above “netsh winsock reset” and “netsh int ip reset resetlog.txt” rebooted and still not able to connect to Wireless Network for 192.168.2.1…using WinXP Svc 1.

  21. 169.254.x.x IP denotes a faulty network cable.

    Ta daaaa nice short answer 🙂

    Not always. There are many other reasons that a 169. address can happen. (Rarely are answers relating to computers short and simple :-).

    Leo
    17-Nov-2010

  22. I have Telus High Speed ADSL coming into my Cisco modem, which is then connected to my in-home router, which in turn connects to an assortment of WinXP, WinVista, Win7, and Mac OSX 10.6.x PCs (not all at once).

    About once a week, sometimes more often, the ADSL modem link to Telus appears to lock up, so my network loses Internet service. When this happens, my in-home network is still functioning, so I suspect the problem is either my router or the ADSL modem.

    I’ve recently replaced the old LinkSys router with an Apple Airport Extreme, but the problem continues, except *maybe* not as frequently.

    When I inspect the Airport router TCPIP setup, it shows an address of 169.254.x.x, and I notice that the last logged connections were an attempt to get a network time update (may be coincidence).

    This interruption process is REALLY annoying, requiring a power cycle of the Airport router, and sometimes of the ADSL modem. Any suggestions? Thanks for any help you can provide!

    Actually I suspect the modem. A 169. address is what many devices fall back to if they cannot get an IP address from where they’re supposed to – typically indicated that the connection has failed.

    Leo
    04-Dec-2010

  23. Hello, I am getting 169.254.112.94 However, I can connect using other ISP’s and not my new charter service. They have sent 3 techs over and all get it to work for maybe 1-2 minutes tops. Then all of a sudden, crap again. I need help.

  24. I’ve been trying to fix a problem with my wireless printer. It took a while, but I finally was able to get the Netgear router to see it, and configure. But when I changed a router setting, the printer went away. Now having a hard time again.

    Reason I mention all that is that my printer’s IP address is 169.254.55.43. Which is probably appropriate for a printer … but I thought I’d mention it.

    Cheers!

    A 169 address is appropriate only for a device that has been unable to connect to the network. In otherwords it’s an error condition if your expecting the printer to work over the network.

    Leo
    14-Apr-2011
  25. Thanks, Leo. That said, do I need to change the IP address on the printer to get it to work? Is it possible to do that? If so, not sure I know how.

    No, it means that the printer is unable to communicate on your network. Normally it asks for an IP address, the router supplies one. 169 is what it does when the router doesn’t respond, so you have some kind of connectivity/communication issue going on.

    Leo
    14-Apr-2011

  26. ipv4 connectivity limited
    ipv6 connectivity limited
    media state enabled
    my freind has broadband and lets me use it on my pc and i live next door iv allways being able to connect because he gave me his password but now it saying what iv typed at the top of this commentin what can i do to get the internet connection thanks leo

  27. Getting an ip of 169.254.x.x on one computer out of the 4 PC, on iMac, 2 iphones and an ipad… it was working earlier this week and noticed today via TeamViewer that this one computer was offline… After resetting the modem, router (even though all else worked fine) and rebooting the failing pc – still no luck. Any idea why just one computer would not resolve to the 192.168.0.x that it should have…

    Thanks,

    Chet

    Check the cable and the ethernet adapter in the affected computer. Try swapping which port in the router it connects to as well.

    Leo
    02-Apr-2012
  28. I am having the same problem as Chet. My Acer computer didn’t go online when I started it last week. After checking ipconfig /all it had the 169.254.x.x address. It’s the first time this has happened and my other computers (these are all wireless# can access the Netgear router and get on the Internet. I tried puting in a static IP #192.168.1.x) but that didn’t work either.

  29. I have a cisco access point(wap200 wireless-G) and sometimes laptops and phones get ip but others don’t.I made some tests with an ipad nad it gets the ip 169.254.215.133 which as I understood from the aricle means that the ipad doesn’t get ip. On the other hand my network is OK because at the same time my phone is connected on internet.What should I do to solve this???thanks

  30. If your computer thinks there should be a cable connection and no cable is connected or it is a faulty cable then you can get the 169.254 IP (even if you want to be wireless).

    If wireless, you might get 169.254 if you didn’t enter your wifi security code properly, but more likely it will just keep asking you for it.

    I have a user who is getting a 169.254 IP and gets different errors, one of which is “IP address conflict”/ “another device is already using that IP address”. What is interesting is he (says he) can get out on the internet (amazon.com). I haven’t figured that one out yet.

    Other things to consider are your router isn’t set up to provide an IP address (you want to control who can use your network / DHCP is disabled in the router). You may have assigned MACs to each IP address and no available IPs are left (you have to assign an IP in the router’s configuration table). Your router is not broadcasting its presence (you may have to enter the network name and password). Another device (computer) is responsible for assigning IPs and that device isn’t seen. The ISP limits the number of computers or assigns only specific MAC addresses to the connection (you have to tell the ISP which MACs are present).

  31. Hi!
    When i got home yesterday my Iphone wouldn’t connect to the wifi. I tried every option on the apple support site, but nothing worked. But then i came across this article, and i have the same problem as many here, the ip-adress starts with 169.254.xx.xx. I have tried everything; restart my iphone, restart the internet, deleted the network… The wifi works fine on my mac.. Right now i feel kind of helpless..
    I hope someone answers me, altho this post is old..

    (and sorry for my bad english, i come from Norway)

  32. My Domain controller (also handling DHCP&DNS) received 169.254.172.97 after a reboot. (thinking some other device grabbed the static IP???) However, I can get onto another server on the domain using a local account (Domain users not authenticating as DC is 169.254.172.97…..) but cannot seem to connect using RDP and the 169 address, is this normal behavior because they are not in the same subnet?

    My question is:
    How do a connect to my server remotely (using a PC that is on same network as the server) so I can make it re-try its static IP?

    Hoping this makes sense… cannot believe this is so frigging difficult…

  33. One scenario of this I helped someone fix was caused by drivers. A lot of troubleshooting steps I tried were not working, and device manager showed that it was working correctly. Weirdest of all, the icon displayed”limited connectivity” when I unplugged it, and the slot was lit up like it was still plugged in. As a last resort, I went to device manager and uninstalled this Intel Ethernet card. After a reboot, it was replaced with a Realtek Ethernet card and the internet worked fine.

    To this day, I still don’t know what caused the problem in the first place; Windows Update didn’t show any driver updates, and I don’t think anyone that used the machine knew how to do anything with drivers.

  34. The most common IP issue I run into is people who are connected wirelessly (WPA usually) who close their laptop instead of turning it off. When they open and “Resume”, the NIC assumes it will have the same IP address as before. If powered off then booted up, the system re-establishes connection via DHCP. Many times a slumbering laptop’s IP address is re-assigned to another device while it’s asleep. Sort of like waking in a different bed….

  35. You are a treasure at explaining technical things.
    Here’s one I really like:
    “It’s like having an unlisted phone number that’s so unlisted, even the phone company doesn’t know it. No one can call you.

    • But unfortunately, the autodialers and spambots can somehow come up with your phone number and email addresses 🙁

  36. I had the same problem! Tried all of the fixes above to no avail, but then I stumbled upon a fix that worked well. The problem was that my built in NIC had lost it MAC/physical address. Manually assigning a MAC address solved the problem immediately and hopefully, permanently. When doing an ipconfig, and the result show “……ethernet adapter…..” with a physical address of 00.00.00.00.00.00, there is a real good chance that your hardware has lost its MAC address. Hope this helps.

  37. I had this problem and spent a total of 2 1/2 hours between the ISP and computer manufacturer trying to fix it. It the end, the only thing that worked was to “System Restore” my computer.

  38. How is it possible to connect to internet with a private address?? Either u require nat device to translate private ip addresses or have a dhcp server

  39. Your statement: “Getting a 169.254 address simply tells you that the machine cannot reach the DHCP server over the network.” may be true. But, what about a 169.254.. Ipv4 when I use Chrome to search google.com to search something that is _not_ in the cache and it gives me good results? Stay on google sites and I am fine. Off Google and DNS server not found.

    All cables are working have to be working. Googles DNS server is working. Why isn’t the default server working? All ipconfig commands have been tried, etc, Restarting the modem may (or may not) give this computer work. Other computers on the local net may (or may not) work. The net offers a mulitude of ipconfig commands to fix this. They may work for some. I have not found a solution for my net.

    Your article basically states: If you get an ipconfig with 169.254.. then something is broke. Not very helpful.

  40. Xbox one saying same number IP address 169.254 and when I try to connect to internet on my hot spot tells me I am already plugged in I have reset it and gives me an option to change my IP but I do not know what to put

  41. I have an I Phone 5 IPod touch and Xbox 360. All three were connecting fine until last night. And I am the only one in the house having a problem with it. All other devices never lost connection. I am able to connect to the wireless network but something is blocking the internet after that point. I have reset the router, reinstalled network configurations, tried setting dns server to 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.8.4. Nothing gets me past the router. I am able to connect on other wireless networks and there are no new devices or equipment on my home network. Only my devices are affected. Any suggestions as to what it could be or what else to try? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  42. I keep getting an error message saying there is another computer with the same address on my network. when I ran ipconfig /release…then ipconfig /renew, i also ran ipconfig /all and saw this address as well 169.254.90.149. My modem keeps rebooting now. My ISP says the line outdoors needs to be upgraded and then buried immediately. Any thoughts?

  43. What if you have set up a static IP, while connected to a correctly configured Cisco switch, and the ipconfig still shows a 169.254 (preferred) AND the static ip (duplicate). Pings return general failure, but port responds to pings from other machines on the subnet. Replaced mobo, but apparently not hardware issue.

  44. Hi, my computer had a similar problem. an error message said “Wifi does not have a valid IP address.” I looked and saw my default gateway was missing and the IP address was 169.254.xx. I tried system restore but that didn’t fix the problem. What actually worked for me was uninstalling and reinstalling my antivirus software.

  45. I do have a real-practical use of the APIPA: when I must contact a door access controller that has been factory defaulted, I can use the device virtual port 169.254.242.121. I guess that many IP devices may have a virtual port like this to be used for first time configuration.

  46. I was having this problem today seemingly out of nowhere. but only on my laptop wireless (when I used an ethernet cable DHCP would give it an address without a problem). I wasn’t able to fix the DHCP issue but got around it by using a static address. I checked the windows event viewer and it revealed that the DHCP service was refusing to give out the requested address to the wireless adapter, even though it was within the allowed DHCP range and not leased to any other devices. I tried a hard reset on the router and put in all of the settings again. The wireless adapter in my laptop obviously isn’t ‘broken’ because it works fine on the network with a static address.

    Needless to say this is a really strange issue.

  47. This is genius! I have been having problems with my HP Printer for months and I have tried all sorts of things to get it to work.
    IP address was 169.254…. I stopped trying to fix the problem on the computer, disconnected the printer from the wireless network, reconnected and problem solved!
    Interesting it didn’t get repaired when I powered on and off the printer and router – I had to actually disconnect from the network and reconnect.
    Thanks for this!

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