Configure TCP/IP Settings in Vista

Before you start

Objectives: learn where and how can we configure TCP/IP settings in Vista

Prerequisites: you should know which parameters are required for TCP/IP connection. Also, you have to know about IP addresses and MAC addresses.

Key terms: configuration, server, settings, address, alternate, ip, vista, tcp, option, properties, dhcp, status

Network and Sharing Center

First, we will go go to Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center.

Network and Sharing Center in Vista

Image 237.1 – Network and Sharing Center

Notice that the connection that we are using is Local Area Connection. To view details about this connection click the ‘View status‘ link.

Connection Status

Image 237.2 – Connection Status

We can see that we do have connectivity. Our speed is 1 Gbps. To see even more details we can click on the Details button.

Connection Details

Image 237.3 – Connection Details

Interesting things here are the MAC address, DHCP status, IPv4 address, Link-local IPv6 address, etc. We can close this window now. To change settings on this connection we have to click the Properties button.

Connection Properties

Image 237.4 – Connection Properties

In our case we want to check IPv4 settings so we will select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) option from the list and click the Properties button. The following window will appear.

 IPv4 Settings

Image 237.5 – IPv4 Settings

In our case we currently have the default settings. Our computer will try to obtain an IP address automatically. When this option is set, notice that we have an Alternate Configuration tab visible. Only if DHCP fails, our computer will use the settings from the Alternate Configuration.

Alternate Configuration

Image 237.6 – Alternate Configuration

In Alternate Configuration tab we have two options that we can use. We can use APIPA or Automatic Private IP address or we can set our own IP settings. This second option (User configured) is also often called Alternate Configuration. If we don’t want to use DHCP we can use static configuration. To do that, in General tab we simply check the ‘Use the following IP address’ option.

 Static Configuration

Image 237.7 – Static Configuration

Notice that the Alternate Configuration tab is not visible in this case. Let’s cancel all changes that we made for now.

Another way to get to our network connections is to go back to the Network and Sharing Center and then from the left menu select the ‘Manage network connections’ option.

 Manage Network Connections

Image 237.8 – Manage Network Configurations

Here we can right-click it and go to the properties of the connection, disable it, diagnose any problems, check the status, etc. Let’s open the properties of our connection and open IPv4 configuration.


Image 237.9 – IPv4

Notice that the current configuration is set to obtain the DNS server address automatically. If we go to the details of our connection we can find the address of our DNS server.

 DNS Server

Image 237.10 – DNS Server

In our case the DNS server is also the Default Gateway as well as our DHCP server. Remember that the DNS server IP address can be on different subnet than our computer is. Notice also that we can have proffered and also alternate DNS server configured.

DNS Prefered and Alternate

Image 237.11 – Preferred and Alternate DNS

Now, let’s try and use the static configuration. We will use the network. Our subnet mask will be The IP address will be Default gateway as well as our DNS server will be Alternate DNS server will be

 Example Configuration

Image 237.12 – Example Configuration

After we hit OK, our computer will be able to communicate with all devices on the network.


We can configure TCP/IP settings for particular connection trough Network and Sharing Center. We have to have administrative rights to make changes. If we have DHCP server on the network, we will use the ‘Obtain an IP address automatically’ option. If there are some problems with DHCP, our computer will use APIPA or Alternate Configuration (if it’s configured). Another option is to use Static Configuration, where we have to manually enter IP address, Subnet Mask, Default Gateway and DNS Server. In that case we will use the ‘Use the following IP address’ option.

Paths that are mentioned in this article
  • Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center – path to the Network and Sharing Center