Networking / Beginners

Monitoring the network with Windows XP

Windows XP enables you to view your computer within the network connections but does not use a network monitor like Windows 98 or 2000 does. You can view the Local Area Connection status and you can use Network Diagnostics to view information about your computer and the network.

You can also get network monitoring tools for an Internet connection. These tools usually monitor ports for sites collecting personal information, watch the cookies saved on your computer, and so on. Many of these tools are free or very inexpensive.

Viewing the Local Area Connection status

With the Status dialog box, you can view the speed of your connection, the length of the connection, your IP address, the subnet mask, the default gateway, and other information. You can use this information to connect to the computer from another, for example, by identifying the IP address, or to help configure another computer with the correct gateway or subnet mask. To view the Local Area Connection status, follow these steps:

  1. Click Start and Control Panel. The Control Panel appears.
  2. Double-click Network Connections. The Network Connections dialog box appears.
  3. Right-click Local Area Connection and click Status on the pop-up menu. The Local Area Connection dialog box appears.
  4. Optionally, click Properties to change network settings.
  5. Click the Support tab to view more information about the connection.
  6. Click Close.

Using Network Diagnostics on Windows XP

Windows XP includes a Network Diagnostics program that tests your network connection for different types of information. You can use the program to help diagnose a problem or to provide information to a tech support professional over the phone, for example.

Network Diagnostics enables you to set options for scanning your computer and the network connections. You can choose to scan the following actions:

  • Ping-Sends a basic command-line signal to another computer on the network to make sure the network connections are working
  • Connect-Attempts to connect to another computer on the network to make sure the other computer is networkable
  • Show-Displays certain information about your computer
  • Verbose-Displays more advanced information about your computer
  • Save to Desktop-Saves a file of information to your desktop for viewing later

You can also diagnose various categories in addition to the networking actions, including mail or news service, computer and operating system information, modems, network clients, and so on. You can save the options you checked so that the next time you use the Network Diagnostics program, you use the same options.

To use Network Diagnostics, follow these steps:

  1. Click Start → Help and Support Center → Use Tools to view your computer information and diagnose problems. A list of tools appears in the window.
  2. Click Network Diagnostics.
  3. Set any scanning options. Save the options, if you want.
  4. Click Scan your system. A resulting dialog box shows you the information.
  5. Click the plus sign beside any category to view more information.
  6. Close the Help and Support Center.
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