Ever got a message saying “Windows has detected an IP address conflict” when you boot up your computer or want to browse the web?
You’re not alone. Tons of people get this cryptic and annoying error. But don’t worry – we’ll show you how to deal with it in this guide.
What Does It Mean When Windows Has Detected an IP Address Conflict?
When you get that message, it means the router assigned your computer a duplicate IP address. By that, we mean you got an IP address that’s already assigned to another device on your network.
That’s a big problem because all devices on a network should have a different IP address. They can’t share them, otherwise networks can’t tell them apart. Also, routers might have a hard time directing network traffic to the right device.
What Causes the Windows Has Detected an IP Address Conflict Issue?
Normally, you shouldn’t get this message thanks to DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) since it helps routers properly assign IP addresses to devices on a network. Unless there are any problems with your router, it shouldn’t assign the same IP address to two different devices.
However, there are some situations when you might experience this problem:
- Your computer might actually have an IP address conflict with itself if you have more than one network adapter.
- If you manually assign IP addresses to devices instead of relying on DHCP, there’s a chance you might make a mistake – like assigning the same IP address to two or more different devices.
- When you have two (or more) DHCP servers on your network. Basically, the IP address conflict can happen if you use multiple routers connected to the network, and have DHCP enabled on more than one of them.
- When you put your computer or laptop in sleep mode for a longer period (like a few days). During that period, the router might recall its IP address (because its lease expires), and assign it to a different device. When you finally wake up the computer/laptop, it’ll still think it has its original IP address, resulting in the conflict.
How to Fix the Windows Has Detected an IP Address Conflict Message (12 Tips)
According to our research and tests, there are 12 things you can do to fix this problem. We’ll present them ranked from easiest to hardest.
1. Restart Your Router
Your router might sometimes experience glitches that cause this problem. You just need to restart it to fix it.
Do that by pushing the power button, and waiting a few minutes (five should be good) before turning it back on. If you turn it on immediately after shutting it down, it likely won’t solve the problem because it’s not enough time for your router and network to properly shut down.
Another thing you can try is turning off the router, disconnecting all devices from it (smartphone, laptop, computer, etc.), and turning the router back on. Then, connect all your devices one by one to the router.
Keep in mind this isn’t a permanent fix, but more of a temporary solution. You might get the Windows has detected an IP address conflict message again. If you do, you’ll have to restart your router again, or try the other tips in this guide.
2. Disconnect the Ethernet Cable and/or Disable then Re-Enable the Network Adapter
If restarting the router didn’t work, try disconnecting the Ethernet cable. Wait a few seconds or minutes, and plug it back in.
Alternatively, try disabling your network adapter:
- Open the Device Manager.
On Windows 10: press Win + X (it will open the Quick Access Menu) and click on Device Manager.
On Windows 7: open the Start menu (use the Win key), and type device manager in the search bar, then open the application.
- Look for Network adapters, and open the drop-down menu.
- Locate your network adapter, right-click it, and hit Disable.
Wait a minute or two, and start it back up by enabling it.
3. Using a VPN? Restart the Connection
VPNs are very useful, but when they replace your original IP address with a new one, you can cause this issue – especially when your device comes out of sleep mode.
Disconnecting from the VPN server, and connecting to it again should solve that problem since you normally get a new IP address. If it doesn’t, try restarting your computer and running a VPN connection after.
If the VPN you use lets you get a dedicated IP address, consider getting one if you get the Windows has detected an IP address conflict very often due to your VPN usage. It should prevent any future conflicts.
4. Using VZAccess Manager? Make Sure You Close the App
VZAccess Manager is a tool from Verizon that lets you connect to the Internet on your mobile device. It also lets you connect other devices (like your laptop) to the Verizon Wireless network through your mobile. Remote employees use it a lot.
Apparently, you can get the IP address conflict on Windows when you disconnect from VZAccess Manager but don’t turn off the app. When you reconnect, you’ll get the error message.
So if you use this app, make sure you close it when you disconnect from it. We recommend opening up Task Manager (Ctrl + Alt + Del on Windows 7 and 10), and checking the Processes tab (Click Show more details for that on Windows 10).
There, check if a background process for VZAccess Manager is present or not. If it is, it means the app didn’t close completely. Right-click it, and terminate the process (End Process on Windows 7, and End Task on Windows 10).
5. Disable IPv6
Not all devices are compatible with IPv6 addresses, and that can cause the Windows has detected an IP address conflict error. So a quick solution is to disable IPv6.
- Change adapter settings.
Windows 10: Right-click on the Network/Wi-Fi icon from the task bar -> Open Network and Internet settings -> Change adapter options.
On Windows 7: Go to Start > Control Panel > Network and Internet -> Network and Sharing Center -> Change adapter settings.
- Right-click on your active network adapter (Ethernet or Wi-Fi) and click on Properties.
Uncheck this option: Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6).
Hit OK and you’re all set.
If you have a lot of network adapters, you can automatically disable IPv6 for all of them by making changes to the registry.
To do this, press Win + R to open the Run box. Type regedit and hit enter.
On the left, navigate here: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SYSTEM \ CurrentControlSet \ services \ TCPIP6 \ Parameters.
On the right, look for DisabledCompenents with the Type REG_DWORD.
If you don’t have it, you need to create it.
- Right-click on that space, and choose New > DWORD (32-bit) Value.
- Enter DisabledComponents as the name.
- Now, double-click DisabledComponents, and replace the current Value data with this: 0ffffffff.
- Then, click OK.
Now restart your computer for the changes to take effect.
6. Update Your Drivers
Specifically your network card driver. If it’s too outdated, it can glitch out, resulting in this issue.
You can use third-party tools like ITL Driver Updater or Driver Booster. But you can also do that without installing and paying for third-party software. Just use Device Manager. Open the Start menu, look for it, and locate your network adapter. Right-click it, and hit Update Driver.
7. Make Sure You’re Using a Dynamic IP Address
Maybe you set up a static IP address that conflicts with an existing IP address on another device on your network.
You could manually check all IPs, and change the ones that are duplicates. Or you could do the easier thing, and set the IP address to be dynamic.
To do that, just head to your network adapter settings like we showed you at tip #5. When you get there, click Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4).
There, check the following options:
- Obtain an IP address automatically
- Obtain a DNS server address automatically
Hit OK to save your settings, and restart your device for them to take effect.
8. Release & Renew Your IP Address
Your device might have stored IP data locally for faster responses. However, that can also cause IP address conflicts.
So, you need to refresh your IP address. You can do that with Command Prompt. To access it, you’ll need to use Run (Win + R).
- Type cmd in the text field, and hit enter.
- Next, type this command: netsh int IP reset c:\resetlog.txt and hit enter. It will clear IP address data that was stored locally.
- Then, type ipconfig /release and hit enter again to release the current IP address the router assigned to you.
- And finally, type ipconfig /renew and hit enter to get a new IP address from the router.
If those commands don’t fix the Windows has detected an IP address conflict issue, try these ones instead:
- netsh winsock reset catalog
- netsh int ipv4 reset
- netsh int ipv6 reset
9. Tweak WiFi Encryption
Believe it or not, WiFi encryption can cause this problem. It usually seems to be the case if there are unauthorized devices connected to your network. Which can happen if you use the default SSID (network name) and password (or no password at all).
In that case, someone (like your neighbor) could force IP addresses to their devices by connecting to your network unannounced, causing this conflict. So you’ll need to change how your network is accessed to block unauthorized devices.
To make those changes, you’ll need to log into your router’s configuration page. You do that by typing an IP address into your browser, and logging in with a username and password.
You can normally find those details on the back of your router. If not, check your router’s manual (if you can’t find it, google the router model + “manual”) or contact your ISP and ask them how to do it.
How you change settings varies from model to model. But, usually, you can change encryption settings under a section called Wireless or WLAN.
Look for fields mentioning SSID, pre-shared keys, authentication, and encryption. When you find them:
- Change the authentication and encryption options to anything that includes AES and WPA2. Most people complaining about this issue said that switching from WEP to WPA2 solved this error.
- Type a new network name in the SSID field.
- Create or replace the existing pre-shared key with a new one.
Just make sure you don’t pick weak security options like WEP, WPA, or open (basically, zero encryption). If you do that, you’ll open your network to cyber attacks.
10. Manually Set Your IP Address Outside the DHCP Range
If making your IP dynamic didn’t help, it’s time to make it static again. But there’s a catch this time – you’ll set it outside the router’s DHCP range.
For example, if the DHCP range is 192.168.100.2 – 192.168.100.60, you would use 192.168.100.61 as an IP address since it’s outside it. That way, you will avoid IP conflicts with other devices on the network.
To find the DHCP range, log into your router’s configuration page. Look for a section that has LAN in the name, and you should be able to find a subsection about DHCP there. The DHCP range comprises fields talking about “Start” and “End” IP addresses, like so:
If you want, you can also change the DHCP range. Just make sure the manual IP address you’ll use will be outside it.
When done, head to your network adapter’s properties, click Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4), and select these options:
- Use the following IP address
- Use the following DNS server addresses
Type in the IP address and the other info, and hit OK.
Not sure where to get information on the subnet mask or default gateway? No problem. Head back to the network adapter menu, and select Details.
That will open a new window with all the details you need.
11. Change the DHCP Lease Time
The DHCP lease time is the period an IP address is assigned to a device on your network (one hour, for example). When the lease time is over, the router will replace the IP address with a new one.
Well, there’s a chance that if the lease time is too short, you might get the Windows has detected an IP address conflict error. So you need to make it longer.
According to most people who dealt with this issue, changing the lease to 86,400 seconds (24 hours) solved the problem.
To do that, log into your router’s configuration page and head to the DHCP options. There, you should see a field called Lease Time or similar. Either change it to 86400 seconds (without the comma, so not “86,400”) or 24 hours.
12. Change the Router’s Default IP Address
You might sometimes get the Windows has detected an IP address conflict message when you have a modem and a router. The best thing to do in that case is change the router’s IP address.
To do that, log into the router’s configuration page. You’ll normally find this option in the LAN section. In our case, this is what it looked like:
Type in the new IP address you want to use (a lot of people say “188.8.131.52” works really well), Just be sure to change the DHCP range to fit the new IP address. So, 184.108.40.206 – 220.127.116.11 if you use the 18.104.22.168 example we gave.
Nothing Worked? Time to Contact Tech Support
There’s really nothing else you can do at this point. That normally means calling or emailing your ISP’s support team.
If you have a third-party router, you’ll need to contact the store you bought it from or the manufacturer.
Know Any Other Ways to Fix the Windows Has Detected an IP Address Conflict Problem?
If you do, please go ahead and tell us about them in the comments. If they’re useful, we’ll include them in the article, and we’ll also credit you.
Also, if you want to share any other relevant info about this error message (other things that cause it, for example), we’re all ears.