How to Find an IP Address With CMD

By Rhian Hibner

Using the Windows command shell (CMD.exe) to configure networking is a more complex undertaking than using the GUI (Graphical User Interface) equivalent. Command shells are not intuitive and can be intimidating. However, the command prompt also affords access to more complex information than is found in the adapter properties dialog. Here, information can be found on IP addresses, both IPv4 (Internet Protocol version 4) and IPv6 types, all in one stream of information.

Opening the command shell

Step 1

Click the Start button, then select "Run."

Step 2

Type the following into the dialog box: "cmd.exe". Do not include the quotes.

Step 3

Click "OK."

Working with ipconfig

Step 1

Type the following into the command shell: "ipconfig /all" Doing this will give you a list of network adapters. Use the scroll bar to read through the adapter names. Find the adapter you want to work with.

Step 2

Type in the following: ipconfig /release "adapter" Replace "adapter" with the name of the adapter you want to work with. Make sure to include the quotes around the name of the adapter.Once you've run the release operation, the adapter will be without any network info.

Step 3

Run the following: ipconfig /renew "adapter" Again, replace "adapter" with the name of the adapter you are working with. This will tell the adapter to look for new network info.

Step 4

Run "ipconfig /all" to confirm the adapter has picked up new network info -- including a valid IP address.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can use the same procedure on a Mac or Linux computer with a few tweaks. On these operating systems, use "ifconfig" instead of "ipconfig" and substitute a dash for the slash. For example, "ifconfig -release".
  • You can run the command on all adapters at once by omitting the adapter name.
  • These operations will only work when attempting to connect to a network with a DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration) server. Since almost all networks use DHCP, this isn't much of an issue. If your network uses static (user set) IP addresses, contact the network administrator for more info.
  • While the adapter is in "release" state, it will have no network connectivity. You have to run the "renew" operation to restore connectivity.

References & Resources