When you're having trouble connecting to the Internet or encountering limited network connectivity issues, and you try to diagnose the problem, the Windows Networks Diagnostics might show the 'DHCP is not enabled for "Wi-Fi"' error message.

This error indicates that your computer is unable to obtain an IP address and other network configuration from the DHCP  (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) server.

This message can also appear as:

  • DHCP is not enabled for "Wireless Network Connection"
  • DHCP is not enabled for "Ethernet"
  • DHCP is not enabled for "Local Area Connection"

The error messages may vary, but all the "DHCP server is disabled" errors can be resolved using the troubleshooting methods described in this article.

Why does the 'DHCP is not enabled for WiFi' error occurs?

Several factors can lead to DHCP not being enabled or functioning properly on a Wi-Fi network. Here are some common causes:

  • DHCP Server Configuration: The DHCP server responsible for assigning IP addresses and other network settings may not be set up correctly. This could mean it has the wrong IP address ranges, subnet masks, or gateway settings configured.
  • Router or Access Point Configuration: Your router or access point, which provides Wi-Fi, might not have DHCP turned on, or it may be set up incorrectly. This is common when users try to create their own Wi-Fi networks without configuring DHCP properly.
  • IP Address Exhaustion: If your DHCP server has run out of available IP addresses to assign to devices, it won't be able to provide new addresses. This can happen when there are lots of devices on the network or if DHCP lease times aren't configured correctly.
  • Firewall or Security Settings: Sometimes, the firewall or security settings on your router, access point, or DHCP server can block DHCP traffic, stopping it from working properly.
  • Network Misconfiguration: If your network settings are incorrect, including subnet masks and gateway addresses, DHCP might not work properly. When network settings are misconfigured, devices might be able to communicate with the DHCP server as they should.

Fix the 'DHCP is Not Enabled for WiFi' Error in Windows 11

Now that we know the possible causes behind the error, it's time to fix it.

1. Run Network Troubleshooter

The built-in network troubleshooter in Windows 11 can help users identify and resolve common network-related issues. When you encounter a network problem, running the network troubleshooter is often one of the first steps to diagnose and resolve the issue.

Right-click the Start menu and select 'Settings' to open the Settings app.

On the 'System' tab, scroll down, and choose 'Troubleshoot'.

On the next screen, click on 'Other troubleshooters'.

Afterward, click the 'Run' button on the Network and Internet option.

Windows will troubleshoot and provide recommendations for it. Apply any recommended solutions to fix the problem.

2. Enable DHCP via Network Adaptor Settings

Enabling DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) via Network Adapter Settings is a common step if it's disabled or not functioning correctly on your computer. Here's how you can enable DHCP through the Network Adapter Settings on Windows:

Press Windows+R, type ncpa.cpl and hit Enter.

In the Network Connections windows, locate your WiFi adapter (or the network adapter that is currently experiencing the DHCP issue). Right-click on the WiFi adapter and select 'Properties' from the context menu.

In the Wi-Fi Properties window, select 'Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)' and click on 'Properties'.

After that, make sure the option 'Obtain an IP address automatically' and 'Obtain DNS server address automatically' are selected, and click 'OK' to save the settings.

Now restart your computer to ensure that the changes take effect. After completing these steps, your computer should try to obtain an IP address from your network's DHCP server the next time you connect to your WiFi network.

3. Restart DHCP Client Service

The DHCP client service plays an important role in managing your computer's IP address and updating its internet address book (DNS). If this service is disabled or stopped, your computer won't receive the right IP address or keep its DNS up-to-date, which may result in the DHCP is not enabled for WiFi error.

Press the Windows +R keys simultaneously to open the Run dialog box. Type services.msc into the Run dialog box and press Enter to open the Services console.

In the Services window, scroll down to find 'DHCP Client' in the list of services. Right-click on it and select 'Properties'.

In the DHCP Client Properties window, go to the 'General' tab. Select 'Automatic' in the Startup type drop-down menu. This setting ensures that the DHCP client service starts automatically when you boot your computer. Click 'Apply' to save the changes you made to the startup type.

If the DHCP client service is not running, click the 'Start' button in the Service status section. If the service is already running, you can click 'Stop' and then 'Start' to restart it.

4. Turn Off Proxy Settings

In some cases, a misconfigured proxy server could interfere with DHCP settings or cause network connectivity problems. When you turn off the proxy server temporarily, you can see if it's causing the issue. Here's how to do it:

Press the Windows+I keys to open the Settings app. Go to the 'Network & Internet' tab and click on the 'Proxy' tile on the right-hand side.

On the Proxy settings page, click on the 'Edit' button next to the 'Use a proxy server' option.

In the Edit proxy server window, switch off the 'Use a proxy server' toggle. Then, click 'Save' and then close the Settings window.

Now, try to connect your computer to the Internet and see if the error has been resolved.

5. Reset Winsock and TCP/IP

Resetting Winsock (Windows Sockets) and TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) can help resolve network connectivity issues on Windows computers. These commands can be useful if you are experiencing problems like no internet connection, slow network performance, or other network-related issues. Here's how to reset Winsock and TCP/IP on a Windows computer:

Search for cmd in the Start menu and click 'Run as administrator' on the right pane.

In the Command Prompt window, type the following commands one after the other and press Enter:

netsh winsock reset
netsh int ip reset
ipconfig /release
ipconfig /flushdns
ipconfig /renew
nbtstat –r

After running the commands, restart your computer to apply the changes. Once the computer reboots, the Winsock and TCP/IP settings should be reset to their default settings. This can often resolve network-related issues caused by corrupted or misconfigured network settings.

When you reset Winsock and TCP/IP, any custom network configurations you've made will be wiped clean. This means that you might have to go through the process of reconfiguring your network settings, like establishing a static IP address, if you had customized them before.

6. Restart the Router

The error could be caused by minor glitches in the router. Restarting the router should resolve the issues.

Power down your router by switching it off. Wait for about 30 seconds. Then, turn your router back on and try connecting again.

If that doesn't work, try disconnecting other devices from the Wi-Fi and let only your device connect to the router. Some routers can only handle a limited number of devices at once, so this might help.

7. Temporarily Disable Antivirus and Firewall

To temporarily disable your antivirus and firewall on a Windows computer, follow these general steps. Keep in mind that the specific steps may vary depending on the antivirus and firewall software you're using.

Disabling Third-party Antivirus:

Look for the antivirus icon in your system tray (usually in the lower-right corner of your screen). It's often represented by the antivirus software's logo.

Right-click on the antivirus icon to open a context menu. In the context menu, you should see options related to the antivirus protection. These options might include 'Disable', 'Pause Protection', or something similar. Click on this option to temporarily disable the antivirus.

Disabling Firewall:

Press the Windows +R keys together to open the Run command, type firewall.cpl and hit Enter.

When the Windows Defender Firewall window opens, click on 'Turn Windows Defender Firewall on or off'.

Next, select the 'Turn off Windows Defender Firewall (not recommended)' option under the Private network settings and Public network settings sections.

Once the antivirus and firewall are disabled, check if the error still persists.

Disabling your antivirus and firewall temporarily makes your computer more vulnerable to threats. So, only do this when troubleshooting or if you are certain that these tools cause the issue. Be sure to enable them again once you've finished troubleshooting the issue.

8. Update the Network Driver

Another major cause for the 'DHCP is Not Enabled for Wi-Fi' error is an outdated or faulty network driver on your Windows 11 PC. To fix the issue, follow these steps:

Open Device Manager by pressing Windows+ X on your keyboard and select 'Device Manager' from the menu.

In Device Manager, expand the 'Network adapters' category to find your network adapter.

Right-click on your network wireless adapter and select 'Update driver'.

Choose 'Search automatically for updated driver software' to let Windows search online for driver updates and install the latest driver.

After the driver update is complete, restart your computer. If Windows doesn't find any updates or you encounter issues while updating the driver through Device Manager, you may need to manually download the latest driver from the manufacturer's website.

Visit the website of your network adapter manufacturer or your laptop manufacturer. Find the latest driver for your specific hardware and download the driver package for Windows 11. Install the downloaded driver and restart the computer.

9. Reinstall the Network Adaptor Driver

If updating the network adaptor's driver doesn't fix the issue, you can try reinstalling the driver.

Press Windows+R then type devmgmt.msc and hit Enter to open Device Manager.

In the Device Manager window, expand the 'Network adapters' category to find your network adapter. Then, right-click on your network adapter and select 'Uninstall device' from the context menu.

A confirmation dialog may appear. Check the box that says Delete/ Attempt to remove the driver software for this device and click 'Uninstall'.

After uninstalling the driver, restart your computer. When your computer restarts, Windows will automatically search for the necessary driver and install it. Make sure you are connected to the internet, as Windows may download the driver from Windows Update.

If the issue persists even after reinstalling the driver, you may want to manually download the latest driver from the manufacturer's website and install it. Reinstalling the network driver can resolve issues related to corrupted or outdated drivers that might be causing the DHCP not enabled for Wi-Fi error.

10. Reset Router

Resetting your router can often resolve various network-related issues, including DHCP problems. A hard reset will restore the router to its default factory settings.

This should be used as a last resort when all other troubleshooting steps have failed, as it will erase any customized settings on the router, including your Wi-Fi name (SSID) and password. Here's how you can do it:

  1. Find the reset button on your router. It's usually a small, recessed button located at the back of the router that may need a paperclip or similar tool to press.
  2. While the router is powered on, press and hold the reset button for about 10-15 seconds. Make sure to check your router's manual for specific instructions, as the duration may vary. Then, release the reset button.
  3. The router will restart and return to its default factory settings.
  4. You'll need to set up your router again with your custom configurations, such as your Wi-Fi network name and password.

This will probably fix all your network-related problems, including DHCP being disabled issue.

That's it.