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Author: Krzysztof Pytko

DHCP Split-Scope wizard


Today, I would like to introduce new feature of DHCP role in Windows Server 2008 R2. This feature is called “Split-Scope“.

This is great improvement in that role for DHCP administrators. In earlier Windows Server versions, administrators needed to calculate by themselves how to split DHCP scope(s) between two DHCP servers for redundancy. In small networks where basic IP addressing scheme was used, that was not big problem. In large networks where VLANs were used and IP addressing scheme was more advanced, that was horrible.

DHCP servers redundancy in many companies is very important and the lowest cost of maintaining them is also crucial. So, DHCP clusters were not an option in many organizations.

Administrators needed to split scope according to their needs or Microsoft DHCP Best practices using one of recommended rules on two separate DHCP servers in a network

  • 50/50 (half addresses on one DHCP server and another half on the second server)
  • 80/20 (80% addresses on one DHCP server and 20% on the second server)

This required from them making exclusion ranges in scopes on DHCP servers and duplicating reservations on both servers. That was a lot of work to do! Especially, if a network had more than one scope.

When you wanted to check from which DHCP server computer received a lease you had to verify both DHCP servers lease database or run ipconfig /all command on a client to see which DHCP server isssued the lease.

DHCP servers offer leases in the same time and computer could select any of them. Mostly, the first offered lease is accepted but you cannot be sure which server offered it as the first.

From now, you don’t have to worry for all of these “limitations”. When you have both DHCP servers runnig Windows Server 2008 R2, you can simply achieve that using Split-Scope wizard. All necessary calculations will be done automatically. You can forget about making exlusion ranges in each scope on the second DHCP server and you can also forget about duplicating reservations on another server. Everything is done by Split-Scope wizard.

Another new DHCP feature is delay in lease offers. You can set up 1000 miliseconds (1 second) delay for other DHCP server and you can be sure that all of your clients will get lease from the first server.

Let’s start to show, how we can use that wizard. First, you need to install DHCP role on both Windows Server 2008 R2. Now, you can configure a scope on a server.

In this example, I will show you, how to split scope between two DHCP servers (DHCP01 and DHCP02)

Log on to DHCP01 and run DHCP management console. Create a scope (if doesn’t exist) or select the existing one which you want to split.

Scope to split

Click right mouse button on selected scope and choose from context menu “Advanced -> Split-Scope”. You will see a wizard which helps you splitting a scope.

DHCP Split-Scope wizard

On “Additional DHCP Server” screen click “Add server” button and select the second DHCP server to which you want to split the scope

Choose DHCP server to split scope

You can search for any DHCP server in your netwok using “Browse” button or select one of discovered from the list below

Select additional DHCP server for a scope

and continue

Additional DHCP server for a scope

Now, you need to choose split scheme. You can choose 50/50 or 80/20 (default option) or even your own. To use other option than default, type other values (in percentage) in fields or move scroll-bar in the proper direction to adjust them ad-hoc

Splitting scope

As I mentioned earlier, you can set up delay in leases offer to make sure that specified DHCP server will answer delayed and lease will be issued from “primary” server. To set up delay on DHCP02 in “Added DHCP Server” box, type 1000

Delay set up

apply settings by clicking on “Finish” button

verify if everything went well and close wizard

Verifying action

Check “Address pool” on current DHCP server and you will notice that DHCP Split-Scope wizard has done the job for you!

Scope split on DHCP01

and for test, go to DHCP02 and check if scope is also split there

Split scope on DHCP02

Notice, that scope on your DHCP02 is deactivated by default. If you wish to use it, you need to activate it first.

That’s all about configuring DHCP Split-Scope wizard.

It’s done.

Author: Krzysztof Pytko

Configuring DHCP server from command-line on Windows Server 2003


Many of us need to configure DHCP server(s) in their environment. We can do that simply via DHCP console on server or using MMC snap-in on each computer with Administrative Tools installed in a network. But what if we have to configure many DHCP servers in short time or our DHCP server is in location where network connection is very slow? Do we have to configure it manually? Do we have to be patient and waste our valuable time? Answer is: NO, we can use a command-line tool which is available on each Windows 2003/2008 server. It’s very powerful utility and it’s simple in use.

This article describes how to do that on Microsoft Windows Server 2003.

If our server has installed DHCP service, we can configure it remotely from command-line using netsh command. We have to login to any Windows 2003 server and run command-line console. In this console we have to type netsh

netsh command-line

Next, we use dhcp context of netsh to configure our DHCP server(s).

Before we start configuring server, we need some details:

  • Hostname or IP address of DHCP server(s)
  • Scope IP address (Network ID) and network mask
  • Scope name
  • Description for scope
  • IP pool for scope
  • Any IP reservation
  • Any IP exclusion
  • Default gateway IP address
  • IP address of DNS servers
  • Domain suffix name
  • IP address of WINS servers (if required)

In our example we use:

  • as DHCP server IP address
  • as network ID
  • TestScope as scope name
  • “This is my test scope” as description
  • – as scope’s pool
  • reserved IP address for device with 00-03-EF-15-9A-6B MAC address
  • – as excluded IP addresses
  • as default gateway
  • and as DNS servers
  • testenv.local as DNS domain name
  • and as WINS servers
  • Hostname or IP address of DHCP server(s)

If we collect all of these settings we can start to configure DHCP server(s).

The very first thing is to create a scope on DHCP server. To do this we have to type command

netsh> dhcp server <DHCP_IP_Address_or_hostname> add scope <Scope_Network_ID> <Mask> <Scope_name> <”Scope_description”>

netsh> dhcp server add scope TestScope “This is my test scope”

netsh output

Each time we will see this message it means that we set an option properly.

We have created a scope on our DHCP server. Now, we need to activate it

netsh> dhcp server <DHCP_IP_Address_or_hostname> scope <Scope_Network_ID> set state 1

If we don’t want to set it as active during creation process, set state value should be 0.

netsh> dhcp server scope set state 0

We don’t want to active scope right now. We will do it later.

After that, we have to define IP addresses pool

netsh> dhcp server <DHCP_IP_Address_or_hostname> scope <Scope_Network_ID> add iprange <Start_IP_Address> <End_IP_Address>

netsh> dhcp server scope add iprange

We have defined scope’s pool and we will exclude some IP addresses, now.

netsh> dhcp server  <DHCP_IP_Address_or_hostname> scope <Scope_Network_ID> add excluderange <Start_excluded_IP_Address> <End_excluded_IP_Address>

netsh> dhcp server scope add excluderange

So, if we want to exclude only one IP address we should use this syntax (let’s say only

netsh> dhcp server scope add excluderange

Now, we will enable reservation IP address for a device

netsh> dhcp server <DHCP_IP_Address_or_hostname> scope <Scope_Network_ID> add reservedip <Reserved_IP_Address> <MAC_Address> <Reservation_Name> <”Description_for_reservation”> <DHCP_Flags>

netsh> dhcp server scope add reservedip 0003EF159A6B My_PC “” BOTH

DHCP_Flags are: BOOTP only, DHCP only or BOTH

The last steps we need to provide are DNS servers and domain suffix. This time we have to consider where to place them, in the scope options or in a server options. What is the difference?

If our DHCP server contains only one scope we don’t have to worry where we will place these settings, because they will only impact one scope.

Settings applied in “Scope options” affect only that particular scope. Settings configured on “Server options” will be inherited by all scopes, even the new ones. When we set “Server options” and then we additionally configure “Scope options” they will overwrite those global settings.

This is very helpful if we have more than one scope on DHCP settings (most VLAN scenarios) and we have common settings for them. Let’s say that we need to configure the same DNS servers and domain suffix for all scopes then we do it in “Server options”. The only thing we will set in “Scope options” is default gateway.

In our scenario we don’t have more that one scope, so we will configure “Scope options” providing default gateway, DNS servers and WINS servers.

netsh> dhcp server  <DHCP_IP_Address_or_hostname> scope <Scope_Network_ID> set optionvalue <option_value> IPADDRESS <Default_Gateway_IP_Address or DNS_Server_IP_Addresses or WINS_Server_IP_Addresses>

for WINS we need to set

netsh> dhcp server <DHCP_IP_Address_or_hostname> scope <Scope_Network_ID> set optionvalue <option_value> BYTE <one of these node types: 1,2,4,8>


WINS node types:

1 b-node (broadcasts)

2 p-node (point-to-point name queries to WINS)

4 m-node (broadcasts then query name server)

8 h-node (query name server then broadcasts)

netsh> dhcp server scope set optionvalue 003 IPADDRESS

netsh> dhcp server scope set optionvalue 006 IPADDRESS

netsh> dhcp server scope set optionvalue 044 IPADDRESS

netsh> dhcp server scope set optionvalue 046 BYTE 8

Now, we set  domain suffix

netsh> dhcp server <DHCP_IP_Address_or_hostname> scope <Scope_Network_ID> set optionvalue <option_value> STRING <Domain_suffix>


netsh> dhcp server scope set optionvalue 015 STRING testenv.local

We’ve just finished DHCP configuration. Now, we have to enable scope for serving IP addresses and authorize our DHCP server

netsh> dhcp server scope set state 1 (now scope is active)

netsh> dhcp server initiate auth (now DHCP server is authorized)

We finished our DHCP server configuration. If we need any other “Scope/Server options” we can set them like we did it with DNS,WINS and others.

OK, but you wrote that it will be automated and simple configuration but we lost so much time configuring DHCP server from command-line? We could do it via console! Yes, you’re right we have to prepare a template for automated configuration.

Preparing template for automated DHCP configuration is very simple. We have to put all those commands into text file without NETSH command, so let’s create i.e. text file named dhcp_conf.txt and put there

dhcp server add scope TestScope “This is my test scope”

dhcp server scope set state 0

dhcp server scope add iprange

dhcp server scope add excluderange

dhcp server scope add reservedip 0003EF159A6B My_PC “” BOTH

dhcp server scope set optionvalue 003 IPADDRESS

dhcp server scope set optionvalue 006 IPADDRESS

dhcp server scope set optionvalue 044 IPADDRESS

dhcp server scope set optionvalue 046 BYTE 8

dhcp server scope set optionvalue 015 STRING testenv.local

dhcp server scope set state 1

dhcp server initiate auth

and save this file on the network drive which is available from any Windows Server 2003/2008 machine. Now, we can modify necessary parts of this template to adjust it for any other DHCP server configuration.

The only thing that we have to do is running NETSH command on Windows 2003/2008 Server in context of EXEC <full_path_to_dhcp-conf.txt_file>

in example:

netsh exec c:dhcp_conf.txt

netsh script execution

It’s done!

Author: Krzysztof Pytko

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