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Install and Configure DHCP Server on Windows Server is essential for managing network IP addresses. Well, DHCP allows administrators to automatically assign IP addresses to clients on the network, reducing the amount of manual configuration required. This service helps ensure that clients communicate with each other and access network resources.

Well, installing and configuring a DHCP server in Windows Server is a straightforward process that involves adding the DHCP server role, configuring basic DHCP settings, and creating and managing DHCP scopes.

Install and Configure DHCP on Windows Server

Overview of the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol ​

First of all, a DHCP server is a server that automatically assigns IP addresses to computers and other devices on the network. Without a DHCP server, we need to manually configure each device on the network with an IP address.

Why is a DHCP Server Needed?

Every device on the network needs an IP address to access network resources such as the internet, applications and even making phone calls. A DHCP server automates and manages this process from a centralized server. For example, mobile devices moving from one office to another may require a new IP address.

Hence, DHCP handles this automatically, by providing a new IP address when the device moves to another location. Without a DHCP server, there would be an overwhelming amount of manual configuration assigning IP addresses to devices on the network. A DHCP server is a huge time saver.


If we intend to proceed step by step, we require the following:

Installing the DHCP Server Role

This article uses the Windows Server 2012R2 build process. However, the steps should be similar for later server versions like 2016, 2019, and 2022.

Step 1: Click on Start, then click the Server Manager.

Step 2: Click Add roles and features on the server manager dashboard. This step starts the add roles and features wizard.

Click Next on the Before you begin page.

Step 3: Select the option and click Next.

Step 4: Choose the server we want the DHCP service installed on this page. In this example, we will select the local server.

Step 5: We want to select the DHCP server roles on this page and click Next.

When we select the role, we get a pop up asking to add features required for the DHCP server. Click Add Features.

Go back to the Select server roles page, and click Next.

Step 6: On the features screen, click Next. On the DHCP server, click Next.

On the confirmation page, we select to restart the server if required automatically.

Finally, click the Install button, and the installation will start. We get an install progress page that says install succeeded when complete.

That completes the installation of the DHCP role on a Windows Server. Let us move on to the next section for the steps on configuring the DCHP server.

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Configuring the DHCP Server

If we followed the steps above, we should now have the DHCP service installed. However, we can only use the DHCP service partially, as we need to configure it post-installation.

Step 1: We see a yellow notification in the server manager dashboard at the top left. Click on it. Now click on Complete DHCP configuration.

Step 2: On the description screen, click Next. On the authorization page, use AD credentials if we joined the server to the domain.

Choose Skip AD authorization, if the DHCP server is standalone and not joined to the domain. Click Commit.

We see a summary page of the configuration steps. Click Close.

Now we open the DHCP management console to configure DHCP scopes and other options. Click Start > Windows Administrative Tool > DHCP to access the DHCP management console.

In the following section, we configure DHCP scopes to ensure clients obtain and connect to the DHCP server.

Configuring DHCP Scopes

A DHCP scope represents and contains several components, including:

  • IP addresses that the DHCP server assigns to a specific group of devices (address pools)
  • DNS server and default gateway for a client.
  • We should only assign IP addresses to particular devices (DHCP reservations).
  • Pools of addresses (groups of assignable IP addresses).

The DHCP scope is a critical network element that allows us to configure network settings that all clients share on the network.

Creating a DHCP Scope via Server Manager

Assume we’re on a test DHCP server’s Windows desktop:

1. To open the DHCP Microsoft Management Console, go to our Start menu and type dhcpmgmt.msc (MMC).
2. Once the DHCP MMC is open, select IPV4 from the dropdown menu to the left of the server name. Microsoft DHCP Server assigns IPv4 and IPv6 addresses to clients. This article solely covers IPv4 scopes.

3. To begin the New Scope Wizard, right click on IPv4, select New Scope, and then click Next on the introduction screen.

4. Give us a name and a description of our choice. Once finished, click Next. Scopes are frequently assigned to physical buildings or, on occasion, IP subnets.

5. Next, define an IP Address Range that specifies the IP address range assigned to the DHCP server’s clients. Enter a CIDR Length or Subnet Mask on this screen, which we assign to all clients.

Following Steps

It is common practice to intentionally leave the beginning and end of the address pool empty to accommodate any statically assigned addresses.

6. To proceed past the Add Exclusions and Delay step, click Next. A DHCP exclusion prevents the server from attempting to assign a specific IP address in its address pool if we know of one or more IP addresses already in use within the defined address range.

7. For the time being, accept the default Lease Duration by clicking Next.

8. On the Configure DHCP Options step, leave the default setting and click Next.

9. Next, assign the Router an IP address of (Default Gateway). Once clients have access to the DHCP scope, the server gives this IP address as the client’s default gateway. Also, clients communicate with other networks or the Internet through the default gateway.

10. Because this tutorial is set up in an environment with a DNS server, enter the IP address on the Domain name, and DNS Servers step. This IP address is assigned as the DNS client for DHCP clients to convert names to IP addresses.

The Parent domain should be auto-populated based on the Active Directory domain in which the DHCP server is a member.

11. If we still have a WINS server in our environment, enter its IP address in the WINS Server step. This article does not use one, so click Next to proceed.

12. Finally, activate the new scope and make it available to clients by checking the box next to Yes, I want to activate this scope now. Then click Next to proceed. Following the preceding steps, we should see the new scope under IPv4, as shown below.

Creating a DHCP Scope via PowerShell

If we don’t like the GUI or need to automate DHCP tasks, we turn to PowerShell. Let’s go over the same procedure as in the Server Manager, but this time with PowerShell.

Assume we’re on a test DHCP server’s Windows desktop:
1. As an administrator, launch Windows PowerShell.
2. To find all existing DHCP scopes, use the Get-DhcpServerv4Scope cmdlet.

As shown in the example below, this server only has the scope we defined using the GUI in the previous steps.

3. To create a new DHCP scope, use the Add-DhcpServerv4Scope cmdlet. Because this command has many parameters, save time by defining each parameter in a PowerShell hashtable and passing all parameters to the cmdlet using splatting.

					 $DHCPDetails = @{
     'Name' = 'Branch Office'; 
     'Description' = 'Wireless Users'; 
     'StartRange' = ''; 
     'EndRange' = ''; 
     'SubnetMask' = '';
     'State' = 'Active'; 
     'LeaseDuration' = '1.00:00:00'; 
 Add-DhcpServerv4Scope $DHCPDetails

4. Now, rerun Get-DhcpServerv4Scope to verify PowerShell successfully created the DHCP scope.

Install and Configure DHCP Server on Windows Server Conclusion

In conclusion, installing and configuring DHCP in Windows Server is essential in setting up a network infrastructure. DHCP provides:

  • Dynamic IP address assignment.
  • Enabling clients to receive IP addresses automatically.
  • Subnet masks.
  • Default gateways from a central server.

With proper configuration, DHCP simplifies the management of IP addresses and reduces the risk of IP conflicts. Installing and configuring DHCP in Windows Server requires a basic understanding of networking concepts and the DHCP service, as well as a hands-on approach to configuring the server and setting up scopes, options, and reservations. The result is a scalable, efficient, and robust network infrastructure that meets the organization’s needs.


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Marion Mendoza

Marion Mendoza

Windows Server and VMware SME. Powershell Guru. Currently working with Fortune 500 companies responsible for participating in 3rd level systems support across the enterprise. Acting as a Windows Server engineer and VMware Specialist.

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