I have the same problem with my ISP. I contacted them about this and they said my lease is 10 hours
! I had tried everything: manually releasing IP in windows, ifconfig eth0 down, ifconfig eth0 up, I reset my cable modem (which, BTW, if you switch from you win box to your Linux box, you'll have to reset the modem as it's sending to a different NIC), etc.
My ISP told me that if I need the IP released earlier than the 10 hour lease time that I just give them a call and ask them to release the IP and the MAC address of my cable modem. I would then unplug the power to my cable modem for a few seconds, hook up my ethernet cable to my NIC, power on the modem, and all is well.
However, I've alleviated that problem by never putting my wife's Winbox online.
She was desperate to get online one night, so I walked her through logging in from command line and startx. She'd never used Linux before, and had never seen Opera. During my 9 months of running Linux exclusively on my machine, she never wanted to use it or even see it. She now has a user account and thinks that Tux is the cutest thing to grace the planet (besides me of course
). She played around in my user account for 5 hours that night and is in love with the Gimp. In fact, she hasn't used her Winbox since I introduced her to Linux 2.5 weeks ago.
Sorry, that was a bit off topic, but I find it an amusing anecdote to my solution to the IP lease problem.