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Computer cannot get an IP address from DHCP server

July 13th, 2009

My office-mate had this weird problem with his computer: It cannot get an IP address from our DHCP server.  The motherboard of his PC is an Asus P5GC-MX.  He runs VMWare Player and Virtual Box, desktop virtualization software necessary for job, and all virtual machines have IP addresses, except the host machine.  To cut the story short, we did the following to diagnose the problem:

  • checked the UTP wire;
  • checked Windows XP’s firewall and network settings;
  • checked that the computer is set to automatically obtain an IP address;
  • used his wire with another computer;
  • used a virtual machine in his computer to get an IP address;
  • reset the computer a lot of times;

All steps failed to get an IP address for his computer from our DHCP server.


He had this problem for a couple of days before we decided it needed to be fixed.  We noticed something odd about the PC’s MAC address, it’s value is ED-0B-00-00-E0-00.  Now I’ve had enough experience in networking computers to know that this value is not unique and way out of line.

We searched the internet thru Google for the above MAC address and Asus P5GC-MX motherboard and found the following:

Sure enough, that Asus forum has the same problem as his PC and even detailed the solution.

My office-mate’s Asus P5GC-MX motherboard has a problem, perhaps the MAC address that Asus put on his board got a duplicate somewhere, or whatever.  Knowing that it was a MAC address problem, we fixed it this way:

1. Launch System Properties thru Win-Break combination (or thru control panel).

2. Goto Hardware tab.

3. Click the Device Manager button.

xp-system-properties-hardware1

4. Select the Network Adapters.

5. Right-click on the network adapter and select Properties.

xp-device-manager

6. On the network adapter properties window, click the Advanced tab.

7. Select Network Address.

xp-network-adapter-property-1

8. Set Network Address to a value like: 08-00-27-73-39-6B (warning, don’t use this value for your MAC address, this is just for example purposes).

The problem is: How do you set a MAC address value?  Remember that this must be unique for any network adapter out there.  What we did is use Virtual Box’s MAC creation tool.  Here’s a link to help you out: http://forums.virtualbox.org/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=19266.  You could randomize a value then use that as the PC’s MAC Address.

Here are some pictures of it in Virtual Box:

virtual box

vbox-settings

vbox-additional-options

After we changed the MAC address of my office-mate’s computer, it successfully got an IP address from our DHCP server.

I hope this post will help others on a similar problem too.

Author: Cyril Pauya Categories: Network Tags: , , ,
  1. July 13th, 2009 at 21:44 | #1

    Nice post. It’s really a help for us who are regularly troubleshooting PCs. Btw, this is already out of topic, can you set your VM(Sun VirtualBox) machine to fullscreen? I wonder if you can also do that like in VMware’s fullscreen option.

  2. July 15th, 2009 at 20:00 | #2

    @ianemv
    Yes, it fully supports setting to full screen. It also supports seamless mode, which integrates the VM with the host’s desktop. VBox was also the first to release a feature that automatically resizes the guest OS’s screen resolution as you resize the VM’s window. The latest release of Virtual Box 3.0.2 has better 3D acceleration support.

    And… the best is… it’s open-source. :D

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