Capture Network Traffic in Windows XP/2003

by Daniel Petri - January 7, 2009

How can I capture network traffic in Windows XP or Windows Server 2003?

Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 introduce a new utility called NETCAP.EXE which acts like a command prompt version of the GUI Network Monitor tool.

Netcap provides capture abilities only from a command prompt; to open the resulting capture (.cap) files, you must use the full Network Monitor interface. 

Netcap is installed when you install the Support tools that are on the Windows XP CD-ROM. For additional information about how to install these tools, see 306794. Network Monitor is provided with Windows Server products and Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS).

Netcap provides capture abilities that are similar to the version of Network Monitor that is included with the Windows Server products; however, you must use Netcap at a command prompt. Netcap installs the Network Monitor driver and binds it to all adapters when you first run the Netcap command.

The following commands are sample Netcap commands:

To capture traffic on NIC 1 BY using a 10 megabyte (MB) buffer, use the following command:

netcap /n:1 /b:10

Netcap typically stops capturing when the buffer is full. To capture traffic with "First In First Out" (FIFO) buffering, which is the default for Network Monitor, you can use the following command:

netcap /t n

Note that if you want to stop the capture, press the SPACEBAR.

To capture traffic for one hour by using a 1-MB FIFO buffer, use the following command:

netcap /L:01:00:00

To remove the Network Monitor driver, use the following command:

netcap /remove

Capture files that you create by using Netcap are placed in the UserProfile\Local Settings\Temp folder, by default, where UserProfile is the name of the user profile. You can change the default folder by using either the /c or /tcf switches.

Use NETCAP /? for more info.

Oh, and yes, on Windows XP, Netcap has a spelling mistake, and when you install the driver it reads "Installing the Network Monitor dirver"...


Description of the Network Monitor Capture Utility - 310875

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