Toshiba Satellite 2400 Slow to Find Network

I have a somewhat annoying problem with my Toshiba Satellite 2400 laptop running Windows XP sp2.  It often has trouble finding a network when I first boot up.  Especially if I've been on another network that day, i.e. if I've traveling between client sites.  I have to re-boot 3-4 times to get it to find a network and automatically assign an ip address.  Is there a way to troubleshoot this?  I've tried messing around with ipconfig in the command prompt but that doesn't seem to let me do much.  
Btw, when I first boot up my IP is 0.0.0.0 which of course doesn't work.  Then it gets 169.57.124.123 or something, but I still can't connect.  Finally, after 3-4 reboots it gives me an ip address I can work with.
Any help would be appreciated!
Thanks,

mv
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Michael VasilevskySolutions ArchitectAsked:
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bobo_techCommented:
That sounds like your DHCP server that you are connecting to just isn't giving you an ip address.  The 169.x.x.x number is just an internal number that Windows (microsoft) is giving you because it can't grab an ip address.  Are you shutting down and not just putting the unit in suspend?  If you are going from one site to another, you need to do a complete shutdown and restart (or do a IPCONFIG /RELEASE and then a IPCONFIG /RENEW at the cmd prompt) to grab a new ip address.

Sometimes just doing a IPCONFIG /RENEW at the commmand prompt isn't enough for the system to fully release the previouis lease and allow your computer to grab a new one, do the /RELEASE first and then do the renew.  

The key is not to suspend or hibernate your laptop between networks, make sure its shut down and then restarted completely.

Are you gettting full connectivity?  (by that i mean are either the wireless or ground lines showing a connected state and not disconnected?)
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Michael VasilevskySolutions ArchitectAuthor Commented:
I'm definately always shutting down completely between networks.  Do I need to do the ipconfig /release before I shut down in preparation for moving to another network?  Or will this help at the second network if I'm having problems?  I think I tried ipconfig /renew and got an error ('cause it couldn't find any server).  
Is ipconfig the only tool for troubleshooting or are there others recommended?
Thanks for your input,

mv
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bobo_techCommented:
ipconfig is just the easiest tool to use only because its built into windows.

As for the server not found, that is the crux of the problem.  Its not finding the dhcp server.  You should not have to do the ipconfig /release before you shut down.

It should be good enough that while your comptuer is powering up, that it is connected to the new network.

Is this wireless or wired networks?
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Michael VasilevskySolutions ArchitectAuthor Commented:
It's for wired networks.  Thanks for the tips.  Unless you have anything else to add, I'll close this question and award you the points.
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bobo_techCommented:
When you plug in the network cable, are you getting good link lights?  Also if yoiu open up the network window for the network device that is plugged into the network, are you getting traffic both ways?

Also has the network admin of the networks said taht anything speical needs to be done?  For example, at the ntwork where I work, each mac address is assigned to an ip addy via the dhcp server so even though a computer is set to dhcp, it always gets the same ip settings from teh dhcp server, now maybe you need to have your mac addy registered with the dhcp server of the network you are connecting to.  (that is a long shot though, i really doubt that would be an issue, however it can't hurt to talk to the network admins about any special circumstances that you need to be aware of).
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Michael VasilevskySolutions ArchitectAuthor Commented:
I'll have to double-check the lights and traffic next time the problem comes up.  Could it be the hardware?  

(point value increase for the extra effort)

Thanks again,

mv
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