Could not start the DHCP Client service on Local Computer – Access Denied

Could not start the DHCP Client service on Local Computer – Access Denied

Not all of us have hit this one, but I did today. This was a tricky one. Everything online suggested it’s an issue with the permissions on the registry keys for Windows. A lot suggested running sfc /scannow. But none of that was the issue here today and this may be the solution you were looking for, I know it took me some time to find it.

So as usual this is the normal Microsoft resolution:

To make the permission changes in the registry, do the following:

  1. Click Start, click Run, type regedit and click OK
  2. Navigate to the following key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Dhcp
  3. Right click the key DHCP and click Permissions. Click Add, type network service and click OK
  4. Select NETWORKSERVICE and check the Full control box to grant NETWORKSERVICE full control on the DHCP key.
  5. Click OK to apply the changes and to close the window

Do the same for the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\TcpIp:

  1. Click Start, click Run, type regedit and click OK
  2. Navigate to the following key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\TcpIp
  3. Right click the key TcpIp and click Permissions. Click Add, type network service and click OK
  4. Select NETWORKSERVICE and check the Full control box to grant NETWORKSERVICE full control on the TcpIp key.
  5. Click OK to apply the changes and to close the window

To start the service, click Start, click Run, type services.msc and click OK
Right click DHCP client and click Start

Alternatively, you could click Start, click Run, type net start dhcp and click OK
The DHCP client service should now start

But alas, if it doesn’t work, you might be out of luck. I fired up Process Monitor from Microsoft Technet and filtered the events down to ACCESS DENIED events after taking a capture while typing in net start dhcp. The problem was with access to C:\Windows\System32\dnsapi.dll

Bingo! Change the permissions on that file to allow the service to rightfully access it, then you should be right with net start dhcp and also net start dns because it’s also likely your DNS client wasn’t working either 😉

Happy computing!

21 comments on "Could not start the DHCP Client service on Local Computer – Access Denied"

  1. Houman says:

    Please explain how to do the last step: “Bingo! Change the permissions on that file to allow the service to rightfully access it”. I clicked on Security and on Edit, but it doesnt allow me adding network service. All buttons are greyed out. Many Thanks

    1. Matt says:

      Hi Houman,

      On the file C:\Windows\System32\dnsapi.dll right click and go properties, go to the security tab and add the NETWORKSERVICE user and SYSTEM user with full permissions.

      Matt

      1. Joe says:

        Thank you permissions worked for me

      2. Anurag says:

        Tried doing it. Wasn’t able to ADD the files to that system 32 thing. Help me out

        1. Matt says:

          Can you try logging in under a local Administrator account?

          1. Z says:

            Didn’t work for me either and I was using an admin account. Everything was grayed out for Permissions for dnsapi.dll

          2. Matt says:

            Could you try in safe mode?

          3. Michael says:

            I am under a local administrator account and I still can’t edit the file. Access is still denied trying to restart dhcp, as that is the problem with my internet on my new pc right now.

          4. Matt says:

            Can you try booting into Safe Mode and seeing if that will allow you to change the permissions (while logged in as the built-in Administrator account)?

  2. Jamesey says:

    thanks for the excellent article, worked a treat for me.

  3. Adrian says:

    Hi.

    After many tries I found your post.

    The second part (the permissions on TcpIp key) was I missed. After I change the DHCP client was able to start.

    Thanks a lot.

  4. Jonathan Yarbrough says:

    I tried all the steps on my Win7 laptop but nothing changed. I rebooted the system to ensure that wasn’t a hangup and that’s when it began to work.

  5. GarciaMk says:

    Wow for so long I’ve had this DNS problem and finally that last step you mentioned fixed it thank you. 🙂

  6. Ian says:

    I was also unable to add permissions to dnsapi.dll
    I am on an account in the administrator group and I am in safe mode but I still cannot select add

    1. Matt says:

      Can you login with the built in Administrator user instead of a user that is part of the group?

  7. sushan says:

    how to log in built in administrator??

    1. Matt says:

      Enable via control userpasswords2 if disabled then sign in. Google may help you here 🙂

  8. Grant says:

    Hey Matt, even logged in as the built in administrator, booted with safe mode, and both at the same time I am unable to change the permissions on dnsapi.dll. It’s very possible I’m just being stupid, is there anything else you can think of that I might be missing. Thank you!

    1. Matt says:

      Hi Grant, could you try changing ownership before changing permissions? Also perhaps (long shot) try disabling Windows UAC if it’s enabled to see if that does the trick. https://www.digitalcitizen.life/take-ownership-and-change-permissions-files-and-folders

  9. Grant says:

    Hey Matt. I’ve logged in with the built in administrator, booted up with safe mode, and both, but I still can not change any of the permissions to dnsapi.dll. Is there anything you can think of that I may be missing? Thank you!

  10. Jack says:

    Grant, Right-Click dnsapi.dll and select properties. Select the Security tab and click the Advanced button. Under the permissions tab, who is selected as the Owner:? Is it TrustedInstaller? If so, click change and type your Local Administrator account name so it changes then click OK on both windows to save the settings. Now open properties again and see if you can change the permissions

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