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I have a machine running Windows Server 2003.

While reconfiguring the IP configuration, it froze and now I am unable to remote access it because I don't know what IP address it has and it is not getting an IP from DHCP.

So far my options are:

  1. Reset the system - don't want to do this, I will lose some important stuff
  2. Mount the drive on another computer under linux and try to recover data and/or repair the ip configuration
  3. Blind login and set the machine to use dhcp

I was wondering if anyone could give me any advice on options 2 and 3

On option 2, where is the ip address information stored under windows, and could I just simply change it?

Option 3, anyone have any advice for this, or know if a usb to vga adapter will work without installing any drivers so I don't have to do it blind?

Thanks in advance

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Why can't you log on to the server console? – Massimo Sep 13 '09 at 18:49
How would I do that. Keep in mind there is no video card. Its an HP mediasmart ex745 – cusd Sep 13 '09 at 19:20
Perhaps you should have stated that the machine has no video card in your question. Is there anything else of significance you may have left out? Work on the assumption that we know absolutely nothing about your machine, other than what you tell us. – John Gardeniers Sep 13 '09 at 21:29
What is so important on it you don't want to restart? since your option 2 needs it. – p858snake Nov 29 '09 at 12:37
I know it doesn't help now but just for the future: on all my servers there are multiple network cards (2-4): usually 1 is just for admin remoting. Helps with these kinds of problems. – SnOrfus Nov 29 '09 at 17:41

The 'proper' way to do this (mostly for techies) would be to attach a network sniffer to your network. That would allow you to catch the regular broadcast traffic that the windows home server sends out and use that to determine it's IP address.

An alternative would be to add a USB network card to the machine. If you then reboot it, that card will be configured using DHCP.

Wireshark,, would be the preferred software IMO.

There's a tutorial available at, but if you have a friend that has done this before, it'll go much faster.

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When you were configuring the IP what was it before and what were you trying to set it to? Try pinging both of those.

You can also just turn it off and back on and try pinging those IPs again.

If it was set statically, then it should be on the same subnet as your current network. So whatever that network is (say 192.168.20.x/24) you could essentially ping that network with various ping tools that will ping the entire subnet and report back the results.

If it was set via DHCP before, then look at the DHCP server and check the existing leases. Look for MAC addresses or computer names that either match the HP Mediasmart or if you don't recognize it look for a MAC address or computer name that DOESN'T look like any of the normal computers on the network (works well for NAS' and network devices like that).

That should help you figure out the current IP it is using and get connected again.

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Another direction would be to actively scan the subnet. Alternatively, you can connect another computer with a twisted cable and with a sniffer find the IP address of the machine.

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Downvoted for having a signature on each of your answers...despite being told they were frowned upon. – GregD Dec 1 '09 at 21:19

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