Installing a DHCP server

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Installing a DHCP server

All computers on a TCP/IP network must have an IP address in order for the network to properly function. You can configure IP addresses manually at each computer, or you can install a DHCP server that automatically assigns IP address leases to each client computer on the network. Most client operating systems seek an IP address lease by default, so no configuration on the client computer is necessary to implement a DHCP-enabled network.

Before a DHCP server can start leasing IP addresses to client computers, you must create and activate a scope. A scope is a range of possible IP addresses for a network. Before you create a scope, make sure that the IP address range you want to use provides enough IP addresses for all of the computers on your network. Also, determine whether any devices on your network, such as DNS servers, WINS servers, or legacy printers, will need to use static IP addresses. If there are devices that need static IP addresses, create an exclusion range of IP addresses at the beginning of the IP address range. An exclusion range is a group of IP addresses that the DHCP server will not lease to client computers. Once the exclusion range has been defined, you can assign all statically configured devices an IP address from the exclusion range.

Some of the most common tasks are installing a DHCP server, creating a scope, and activating a scope. You can also perform these tasks from the Managing DHCP from the command line. For more information about other tasks for managing DHCP, see DHCP How To....

To install a DHCP server

  1. Open Windows Components wizard.

  2. Under Components, scroll to and click Networking Services.

  3. Click Details.

  4. Under Subcomponents of Networking Services, click Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), and then click OK.

  5. If prompted, type the full path to the Windows ServerĀ 2003 distribution files, and click Continue.

    Required files are copied to your hard disk.


  • To open Add/Remove Windows Components, click Start, click Control Panel, double-click Add or Remove programs, and then click Add/Remove Windows Components.

  • DHCP servers must be configured with a static IP address.

To create a new scope

  1. Open DHCP.

  2. In the console tree, click the applicable DHCP server.


    • DHCP/applicable DHCP server
  3. On the Action menu, click New Scope.

  4. Follow the instructions in the New Scope wizard.


  • To open DHCP, click Start, click Settings, click Control Panel, double-click Administrative Tools, and then double-click DHCP.

  • Depending on the starting and ending IP addresses for your scope, the DHCP console suggests a default subnet mask useful for most networks. If you know a different subnet mask is required for your network, you can modify the value as needed.

  • When you finish creating a new scope, you might need to complete additional tasks, such as activating the scope for use or assigning scope options.

To activate a scope

  1. Open DHCP.

  2. In the console tree, click the applicable scope.


    • DHCP/Applicable DHCP server/Applicable superscope (if used)/Applicable scope
  3. On the Action menu, click Activate.


  • To open DHCP, click Start, click Settings, click Control Panel, double-click Administrative Tools, and then double-click DHCP.

  • Activating a scope is needed only for new scopes to start lease distribution. You must activate a scope to make it available for DHCP clients.

  • Do not activate a scope until you specify the options you want.

  • The Action menu command changes to Deactivate when the selected scope is currently activated. Do not deactivate a scope unless you are retiring it permanently from use on your network.

  • If you want to use DHCP to assign IP address leases to clients on a subnet that is separated from your DHCP server by a router, you must have DHCP message forwarding enabled on the router. If you are using a computer running a member of the Windows ServerĀ 2003 family as a router, you can use the DHCP Relay Agent service provided with the Routing and Remote Access service. For more information, see DHCP/BOOTP Relay Agents and Configure the DHCP Relay Agent.

Information about functional differences

  • Your server might function differently based on the version and edition of the operating system that is installed, your account permissions, and your menu settings. For more information, see Viewing Help on the Web.