Error message when you try to set an IP address on a network adapter

Applies to: Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition (32-bit x86)Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition (32-bit x86)Microsoft Windows XP Professional


When you try to set the IP address on a network adapter, you may receive the following error message:
The IP address XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX you have entered for this network adapter is already assigned to another adapter Name of adapter. Name of adapter is hidden from the network and Dial-up Connections folder because it is not physically in the computer or is a legacy adapter that is not working. If the same address is assigned to both adapters and they become active, only one of them will use this address. This may result in incorrect system configuration. Do you want to enter a different IP address for this adapter in the list of IP addresses in the advanced dialog box?
Note In this error message, the placeholder XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX represents the IP address that you are trying to set, and the placeholder Name of adapter represents the name of the network adapter that is present in the registry but hidden in Device Manager.

If you click Yes, you see the TCP/IP properties. There, you can change the IP address to something different for the currently displayed network adapter in Device Manager. If you click No, the IP address is assigned to the network adapter. Notice that if you click No, the selected network adapter in Device Manager and the ghosted network adapter have the same IP address. In most cases, this causes no problems, because the driver is disabled.

Note On a computer that is running Windows Server 2008, you receive the following error message:
Cannot rename this connection. A connection with the name you specified already exists. Specify a different name.


This issue occurs because a network adapter with the same IP address is in the registry but is hidden in Device Manager. This can occur when you move a network adapter from one PCI slot to another PCI slot.


To have us uninstall the ghosted network adapter for you by using method 2, go to the "Here's an easy fix" section. If you prefer to uninstall the ghosted network adapter yourself, go to the "Let me fix it myself" section.

Here's an easy fix

To uninstall the ghosted network adapter, click the Download button. In the File Download dialog box, click Run or Open, and then follow the steps in the easy fix wizard.
  • This wizard may be in English only. However, the automatic fix also works for other language versions of Windows.
  • If you’re not on the computer that has the problem, save the easy fix solution to a flash drive or a CD, and then run it on the computer that has the problem.
For Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012

More Information

When you receive the error message that is mentioned in the "Symptoms" section, the hidden or ghosted network adapter does not appear in Device Manager unless you follow the steps in this article. Device Manager does show a network adapter, and the network adapter typically has "#2" appended to its name.