Setting DNS in Windows XP

DNS refers to a set of servers out on the internet (Domain Name Servers). Everything on the internet has an identifying number called an IP address (there is no such computer called “” When you type “” into an internet browser that request goes to a Domain Name Server and translates “” into the IP Address for their server and points your request to San Francisco.

Typically your internet service provider (ISP) points you to a specific domain server automagically. But, there is a place in your computer that you can specify which DNS servers you want to use. There are services that have their own DNS servers that you can use for speed and added security. Google’s public DNS (free) is touted to be one of the fastest. HERE is their configuration page. The other I’ve used has been one of the best for years now. OpenDNS offers improved speed, security, and parental controls. Go HERE and pick your services (free).

In general here is where you would check/change you DNS settings on your computer.

  1. Right click on My Network Places either from the desktop or in My Computer and left click on Properties.
  2. This will open a window with your Network Connections listed. Wired and Wifi have their own settings so you’ll need to edit both if you have them listed and any others that may be in this window. Next Right Click the connection icon and left click on Properties.
  3. This will open the Properties sheet for that connection. Single Left Click “Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)” to select it (DO NOT UNCHECK ANYTHING)  and click the Properties button.
  4. This will open the properties sheet for the TCP/IP service. You will need to contact your Internet Service Provider to see what settings are appropriate for your connection.
  5. Choosing the “Use the following DNS server addresses:” will allow you to edit the servers being used.
    If this was already selected and there are servers listed write down the info that you see. Double check the info you wrote down and then you can experiment with the settings. Or get the correct settings from your ISP– choose “Obtain DNS server addresses automatically” click OK to close these sheets and see if your internet access has been restored.
    If you are interested in using an alternative DNS service this is where you would change to their servers (see their config pages to verify.)
    Leave the top section “Obtain an IP address automatically” alone. 

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