Microsoft DHCP bugs make Windows lose networking

Scott spanbauer
By Scott Spanbauer

Numerous perplexed Windows users have discovered that attempting to connect their PCs (especially Vista) to their existing networks or Wi-Fi hotspots results in flaky or nonexistent connections.

One reason: a change by Microsoft in Vista’s Dynamic Host Control Protocol (DHCP) is causing conflicts with some networking hardware, which can require a Registry edit to fix.

The many reports of Vista networking snafus range from the gravest of symptoms — no Internet connectivity at all — to occasional connection drops:

  • No-Fi when in power-saving mode. Microsoft acknowledged last year that wireless connections on portable computers running Windows Vista would slow down or disconnect completely when battery management kicks in.

    The culprit is that, unlike Windows XP, Vista assumes that all wireless routers correctly implement Wi-Fi’s power-save protocol. Unfortunately, many access points don’t support this spec. The solution? Plug your laptop into an AC outlet or modify the notebook’s power-saving plan, as described in Knowledge Base article 928152.

  • Vista insists on the “broadcast flag.” The same skewed reasoning led the wizards of Redmond to another infuriating decision, which Microsoft only belatedly explained. You bring home your new Vista computer, or you upgrade your XP system to Vista, only to discover that the machine won’t connect to your local network or the Internet.

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