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Sometimes, the icon tray is not completely reliable. This could be indicating nothing more than a driver bug.

I'm using XP SP3. The LAN icon in the tray says "Acquiring network address" continuously, even though I'm connected to the network and the internet is just fine. What causes this?

In this excerpt from Answercast #12, I look at probable causes for inaccurate icon tray notifications and explain what I do when that happens.

What does this notice mean?

In short, I don't know.

What I do know )and can tell you) is that it does happen. It's not that uncommon for the network icon (in the system tray) to show "Acquiring network address" or actually show "No connectivity" (with the international No sign through it) while there is, in fact, connectivity.

Perhaps a driver bug

My belief is (since it's so inconsistent across the computers that I've used and heard about) that it is actually a driver problem.

I know that some of the information that's provided for that pop-up menu, for that icon, comes directly from the driver. It's possible that, since drivers are being written by so many different vendors, and so many different people, that there's simply a bug that is easy to make that causes that icon status not to be updated properly.

In most cases, it works and it's quite reliable. When it doesn't, I simply learned that, OK, on this computer, I can't rely on that. In this situation I can't rely on that. I'll check for connectivity some other way.

As you said: It's working. So there's no real reason to be too concerned.

Article C5258 - April 26, 2012 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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2 Comments
Dave Hunt
April 27, 2012 10:16 AM

It happens to me too (XP-SP3 also), but goes away when I do the following: double-click on the icon, select the 'General' tab & select the 'TCP-IP Properties' setting (without changing anything, since it's working OK anyway) and select 'OK'. VoilĂ ! Just curious - would updating the driver resolve the 'misinformation' issue?

Best I can say is maybe. Since it's not a functional problem - networking works - fixing it may not be on the manufacturer's list of priorities.
Leo
29-Apr-2012
Saul Goode
January 11, 2013 1:11 PM

To Dave Hunt:

Indeed, that 'voodoo' solution stopped the 'acquiring network address' looping.

thanks for the SIMPLEST solution

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