Netsh is one of my favorite commands for Windows for networking information, changes, automation, and management. Yes, all of those! I’ve covered netsh here a number of different times on topics like scripting out a DHCP reservation, setting a port policy, and 10 things you should know about netsh. With every release of Windows, there are more contexts added to netsh since its initial release in Windows 2000. There are now 21 network contexts that focus on everything from a DHCP server, network access protection (NAP) client, network policy server, routing, and Windows firewall.

For the Windows Server 2008 edition of netsh, I recently stumbled on an incredibly helpful reference that is a free download from Microsoft. The Network Shell (netsh) Technical Reference functions as a local reference for all netsh contexts and commands. This download is a stand-alone CHM or compiled help file for use on Windows operating systems. Downloading the netsh is straightforward for the stand-alone file, which requires no installation. Once in the help file, there are overviews for the entire tool and then detailed information for each context. Once a context is selected, information about every possible command can be viewed with the syntax and an example. Figure A shows the commands for the Interface IPv4 context.

Figure A

This is much more flexible than simply running the netsh command within the interactive command-line window in cases where a script is going to be prepared, you’re simply browsing the contexts to see how netsh can help you, or you’re using copy-and-paste functionality in using a command. Netsh still runs in the online (or offline) command prompt, however, so the actual execution of netsh command still behaves how we have come to know and love it. If you haven’t checked out netsh, it is worth a look. Further, netsh is a tool where network administrators can bridge a gap to Windows or other administrators by providing commands and exports to interact on a simplified platform.

More information on netsh can be found on the Microsoft TechNet Web site.