If you use your laptop on networks that provide a DHCP server and on a network that doesn't, windows XP provides an Alternate Configuration capability that makes moving from office to home seamless. If a DHCP server is NOT found, Windows XP will use the Alternate Configuration.
To setup the Alternate Configuration:
1. Start / Control Panel / Network and Internet Connections / Network Connections.
2. Right-click the local area network (LAN), or high-speed Internet connection, that you want to configure, and press Properties.
3. Press Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) and press Properties.
4. Select the Alternate Configuration tab.
NOTE: If the Alternate Configuration tab is NOT available, first select the Obtain an IP address automatically option on the TCP/IP Properties dialog.