Of all the errors common to the Windows OS, IP address conflicts are among the most challenging. They prevent the user from connecting to the internet, sometimes resulting in a total lockdown of your computer network.
There are many causes for this error, so it is difficult to pinpoint one, especially since there is usually a combination of issues to blame. If affected, you will see a message that reads: “Windows has detected an IP address conflict.”
What causes an IP address conflict?
An issue with your router is likely the cause of the IP address conflict. For example, it may be misconfigured, or critical network data might become corrupted. It is important to understand what an IP address is and how it works before attempting to solve the issue.
An Internet Protocol (IP) address is used to identify, send, and receive data from your system over the internet. It distinguishes your computer from the millions of other devices on the network.
There are two types of IP addresses in use these days. The first one is IPv4, which is now being replaced by the more recent IPv6 version because it offers a larger address pool. Since many networks and devices do not support IPv6 yet, your computer will likely support both.
The router and system configurations determine the type of address that your computer will use. When your system experiences an IP address conflict, its identity is lost, and no network will recognize your device as a valid node.
IP conflicts often result from misconfigurations. Sometimes, a malicious application may also attempt to raise IP conflicts, preventing the computer from connecting to the internet. You must resolve this issue if you wish to establish a solid connection moving forward.
How to fix the “Windows has detected an IP address conflict” error
1. Run the Windows Troubleshooter
Windows Troubleshooters provide simple fixes for errors like IP address conflicts. They are free to use and come built-in with all versions of the Windows OS.
Follow the steps below to run the required troubleshooter.
- Open the Settings application on your Windows computer.
- In the setting’s search bar, type “Troubleshooter”.
- In the troubleshooting window, locate the Internet Connections and Network Adapter troubleshooters.
- Click Run the troubleshooter to start the process.
- The troubleshooter will solve most issues present in the system. However, if the troubleshooter cannot solve a problem, it will recommend online resources or guide you to a solution.
- After the troubleshooter scans the system, you’ll receive a report of all the errors and issues it has fixed.
- Now, try accessing the internet on your computer again.
You can solve most networking issues in a system by running Windows troubleshooters, including the somewhat persistent IP address conflicts.
2. Restart your router
Restarting your router is the simplest fix for an IP address conflict, though you may continue to encounter the error if you fail to identify and solve the root cause. If you need to use the internet immediately, follow the steps below to restart your router.
- Turn off the router and remove the power cable to ensure the complete discharge of capacitors in the device.
- Wait for about 30 seconds, then switch on the router again.
- Try to access the internet.
This method may solve the issue for you temporarily. However, we recommend you follow the methods below for a permanent fix.
3. Renew your IP configuration
The Command Prompt is a powerful Windows tool that allows users to solve almost any issue with their system. However, it is vital that you understand what the commands do before executing them to ensure you do not worsen the situation. Consult a computer technician if you lack the appropriate IT knowledge.
Here is how to reset your IP configuration using the Command Prompt:
- In the Windows search bar, type “command prompt”.
- Open the command prompt using the Run as administrator option.
- Type the following commands into the new window that opens and hit Enter after each line:
- netsh int ip reset
- ipconfig /release
- ipconfig /renew
Once complete, check if the issue has been resolved. You don’t need to restart your system, but some users have reported benefits from doing so.
4. Reset both IPv4 and IPv6 separately
Similar to the method above, some users have reported benefits from resetting their Winsock catalog along with IPv4 and IPv6. Note that you must run the Command Prompt as the administrator to resolve an IP address conflict.
Open up the Command Prompt as explained in the previous method, then execute the following commands:
- netsh winsock reset catalog
- netsh int ipv4 reset
- netsh int ipv6 reset
Resetting both IP addresses will prompt the system to create new ones. In many cases, this will fix the conflict.
We have published a dedicated article about the netsh winsock reset command to give you more background about how that command works.
5. Use a dynamic IP address
Though highly unlikely, a static IP address may match that of another system in the world. The network cannot distinguish the devices when this occurs, leading to an IP address conflict. Using a dynamic IP address is the best way to resolve such issues. Follow the below steps to ensure your system uses a dynamic IP address.
- Identify your router’s brand and go to the login page in your preferred browser. Each router has a different login page that can be accessed even without an internet connection. The only requirement is that your computer is connected to the router either through Wi-Fi or Ethernet. The router’s address typically will look similar to 192.168.0.1.
- Enter the username and password on the login screen. If you don’t remember changing the username and password, try the default credentials written on the back of your router. If you changed the credentials but forgot them, you have to reset your router and set them again.
- Once logged in, navigate to the network configuration menu. You should see an option to use dynamic IP. In some routers, it may appear as DHCP.
- Enable DHCP to get a dynamic IP address.
- Try accessing the internet now.
If the “Windows has detected an IP address conflict” error remains, move on to the next method.
6. Set Windows to use a dynamic IP address
In the previous step, we configured the router to assign dynamic IP addresses to connected devices. Suppose at this stage you can access the internet on all other connected devices besides your computer where you see the IP address conflict error message. In that case, we recommend you follow the solution below.
- Type “Network Connections” in the Windows search bar.
- Click on the View network connections option that comes up as a result.
- Now, choose your current connection, right-click it, and open Properties.
- In the new window that comes up, select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and click the Properties button.
- Select “Obtain an IP address automatically”.
- Restart your PC and check if the issue is resolved.
7. Disable IPV6
If nothing has worked so far, try disabling IPv6. Since many networks still use IPv4, disabling IPv6 should not affect your computer negatively. The steps below should resolve the “Windows has detected an IP address conflict” message as a result.
- Right-click on the Start Menu to open the quick settings.
- Select Network Connections.
- Click the Change adapter options to open the list of available network connections.
- Right-click on the network adapter that you want to use and select Properties.
- Uncheck the Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6) option in the list.
- Click Ok to save the changes.
These steps will disable IPv6 and force the system to use IPv4, fixing many issues with the former. If you still see the “Windows has detected an IP address conflict” message, go to the next solution.
8. Update your network driver
An outdated network driver can easily cause internet issues, including IP address conflicts. Follow these steps to update your network driver.
- In the Windows search bar, type “Device Manager”.
- Locate the Network adapter in the window that pops up.
- Right-click on the network device that is experiencing the issue.
- Select Update driver from the options.
- A new window will open. Click on “Search automatically for updated driver software”.
Windows will attempt to update the driver to the latest version.
Additionally, some computers have built-in tools to perform periodic driver updates. Check your system if it has such a support tool preinstalled.
We hope that by using the methods detailed above, you have solved the “Windows has detected an IP address conflict” error with as little effort as possible. Please use the comment section to share which method has cleared the issue in your case.