ISP DHCP Server Unavailable from windows server 2000 machine

I have a friend who has internet service through a cable modem which he has connected a wireless router to, which has been working fine.  The wireless router gets an outside address assigned to it by DHCP and he can then connect to the internet from any computer in his home, with no problem.

Now he wants to connect a Server 2000 computer directly to the cable modem, not using the wireless router anymore (it's a long story why) but the problem is, the Server 2000 is unable to get a DHCP-assigned outside address from the cable company.

An ipconfig /renew always times out with an error that the DHCP server is unreachable.

He called the cable company and they said the problem is with his computer.  But the fact is, I connected his server 2000 computer to his wireless router and it received a DHCP-provided address from the router without any problem.

I also put in a second nic card just to see if there was a nic card problem.  The second card could get an address from the wireless router, but when we turned off the router and connected the computer directly to the cable modem, it got the same DHCP server unreachable error.

One more fact: just as a test, we connected a Vista laptop directly to the cable modem and it was able to get a DHCP-provided address from the cable modem.

What could be happening in the server 2000 operating system that is preventing it from getting a DHCP-provided address from the cable company but not preventing it from getting an address from a simple wireless router?

Any ideas?  

Thanks.
gateguardAsked:
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gateguardConnect With a Mentor Author Commented:
I finally figured it out.  Thanks for your help.
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nsx106052Commented:
I would check to make sure there isn't an address hard coded.  If there isn't then I would just assign a static one to the server, towards the end of the range so it doesn't interfere with addresses that are already leased out.  
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gateguardAuthor Commented:
There is no address hard coded.  The nic tcp/ip properties have the "obtain address from dhcp server" checkbox checked.

Also, I can get a DHCP-provided address from an in-house DHCP server, just not from the server at the ISP, through the cable modem.

I can't assign a static address because I know nothing about the range of addresses used by the ISP.  I am not in control of them.  

In order to use this computer the way we want to use it, it must be able to get a DHCP provided address from the ISP.

Again, we plugged a vista laptop into the cable modem and it got an address.

It's just this one dell server 2000 desktop that can't get a DHCP provided address from the cable modem.

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Karl12347Connect With a Mentor Commented:
I dissagree with the comment from nsx106052 reagrding assigning a static Ip address. You cannot assign a static Ip for DHCP scope that is hosted by a ISP.

This sounds like the driver issues with the network card, Check the network connection for the correct protocols and make sure that there is no special security set, such as smart card authentifcation.

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nsx106052Connect With a Mentor Commented:
Did you try power cycling both the PC and modem several times?  I know when I switch out a computer a computer at home when I am not using a router usually requires a reboot of all the equipment.  

Was the VIsta laptop originally connected to the cable line?  Did you try another computer just to double check?
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gateguardAuthor Commented:
We did power-cycle a bunch of times.  We were on the phone with the cable company and they had us do multiple power-cycles.  I think we screwed up by plugging the vista laptop in because once they heard that one computer could get a dhcp address they completely lost interest in our problem.  I'm going to go back over to his house in a couple of days and get on the phone myself and try to force them to get more involved in this problem.

I will check the driver issues on the nic card.  In fact, I think I'm going to buy a new nic card.  The two we tried were the onboard that came with the Dell (not sure how old the Dell is) and then some CNET nic card the age of which I don't know.  I'm going to buy a simple netgear card.  I seem to never have problems with netgear.

nsx106052, as far as your question about the Vista laptop, I know he has plugged it into the cable modem before, just as a test, and it always worked but mostly up until this point he's been using the Belkin wireless router to connect into the cable modem.  We didn't have a third computer available to try.  Maybe I'll bring my laptop over.

Thanks for your thoughts so far, both of you.  When I posted this question I was thinking that maybe, just maybe, there is some server 2000 issue that needs to be looked at, some security setting, maybe (though I can't imagine what), since the vista laptop and the wireless router both have no problem getting a DHCP provided address from the cable modem.

One other interesting little fact which I don't know if it sheds any light on this or not, but when the server 2000 machine is in the process of requesting a DHCP provided address, and if I continually type "ipconfig /all" the response I get shows the DHCP address as: 255.255.255.255.

I don't know if that helps or not.  I don't know what to make of it, other than no DHCP server is answering the request, which is what the error message is saying.

Again, thanks for your thoughts so far.
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gateguardAuthor Commented:
correction:

if I continually type "ipconfig /all" the response I get shows the dhcp SERVER address as: 255.255.255.255
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gateguardAuthor Commented:
It looks like ISA2004 is blocking this.  I  uninstall ISA2004 and the problem goes away, which is a problem, since I want ISA2004 to work with a DHCP-provided outside address.
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gateguardAuthor Commented:
Does anybody know, is there some way I can make ISA2004 not block the acquisition of a DHCP-provided address?
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gateguardAuthor Commented:
All I had to do was build a rule to allow DHCP replies from the outside.  Duh!
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