Troubleshoot network problems with Windows XP's Netsh Diag commands

Windows XP comes with a seldom used command-line scripting utility called Netsh, which allows you to display, analyze, or modify the network configuration. Find out how Netsh command's Diag context can provide you with valuable information when you're troubleshooting network problems.

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When it comes to troubleshooting network problems, it's good to have a hefty arsenal of tools at your disposal. As such, in addition to using mainstays such as Ping, Tracert, and IPConfig, you should become familiar with the Netsh command-line scripting utility, which allows you to display, analyze, or modify the network configuration.

Netsh is unique in that it interacts with other operating system components by using dynamic-link library (DLL) files. Each of these DLLs provides the Netsh command with an extensive set of features called a context, which essentially is a group of commands specific to a networking component. These contexts extend the functionality of the Netsh command by providing configuration and monitoring support for one or more services, utilities, or protocols. There are literally hundreds of ways that you can use the Netsh command.

The Netsh command's Diag context allows you to perform a number of network operations that can be very useful in troubleshooting. The main commands in the Diag context include:

  • Connect: It allows you to connect to news, mail, and proxy servers.
  • Ping: It allows you to ping WINS, IP, news, mail, proxy, DNS, and adapters.
  • Show: It displays mail, news, proxy, computer, operating system, network adapter, modem, and network client information.

To access the Netsh command's Diag context:

    1. Open a Command Prompt.
    2. Type Netsh and press [Enter].
    3. Type Diag and press [Enter].
    4. Type any one of the main commands and you'll see a complete list of all the sub commands that fall under the main command.

    For example, type Show All to see a complete list of all the network objects defined on the computer.


    Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

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