A+ Certification / Beginners


The ping utility is probably the most used TCP/IP utility, and rightfully so. The ping utility is a very useful utility for troubleshooting communication problems, but the ping utility tells you only whether your computer has communicated with the remote hosts; it does not tell you what path the information took. This is where the trace route (tracert.exe) utility is useful. It is similar to the ping utility in the sense that responses are sent back to you if communication is established. The difference is that tracert. exe sends a response from every network it hits on the way, not just a response from the final destination. So tracert.exe shows you the path the information takes and also the number of networks between your computer and the computer you are talking to.

The trace route utility uses the following syntax:

tracert <IP address or DNS name>


Another popular network troubleshooting utility is nbtstat, which is used to troubleshoot NetBIOS name resolution. (Remember that discussion? If not, look back to the "NetBIOS names" section.) nbtstat stands for NetBIOS over TCP/IP Statistics. When your system resolves a computer name to an IP address, it stores that information in memory (known as the NetBIOS name cache) so that the next time the name needs to be converted to an IP address, the request is resolved from cache instead of broadcasting or querying a WINS server. If you wanted to verify that the entry is in cache, then you would use the nbtstat utility!

There are a number of uses for the NBTSTAT utility, so there are quite a few switches for the command. Some of the most useful switches are listed in Table below.

NBTSTAT Switches
/?Shows a list of switches supported by nbtstat and a brief description of each switch.
-cDisplays the contents of the NBTSTAT cache. This cache shows the computer names and matching IP addresses that have been resolved recently.
-A <ip address>Displays the list of NetBIOS names used by the IP address typed with the -A. The listing also indicates what types of services the system is running.
-nDisplays the NetBIOS names used by the local system.
-rLists which addresses have been resolved through WINS.

To use the nbtstat command, type something like the following at a command prompt:

nbtstat -A
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