One day you walk into your office and are told you are now responsible for new users on a network. Your initial challenge is that it's a network you don't know anything about.
Luckily, AndrÉ Perroud's NetworkView application can salvage your day. It's a compact and extremely flexible tool for automatically discovering nodes in a network without requiring you to know anything about the network's topology.
Here are some tips for getting the most out of this program:
- Don't ping in environments with desktop firewalls. By default, NetworkView requires any network node that will be registered in its discovery process to respond to ping. Consequently, you should turn off the "Ping required" discovery option for networks where individual desktops are firewalled. Most firewalls block pings as a matter of course, so discovery may fail if you rely on ping to get an answer. You can turn off ping-required as a default option for all discoveries: in File | Discovery Options | General, uncheck "Ping required" in the Methods section and click OK.
- The more services you use to perform discovery, the slower it runs. Ping alone is the fastest, and it can scan a whole 255-address subnet in under two minutes. Don't use additional services, such as WMI or SMNP (which can really slow scanning down) unless you are fairly sure there are nodes on the network that need to respond to it.
- Use the "lock" feature to prevent changes to individual nodes. Once you've done a full network scan and don't want to have subsequent scans make changes to nodes you're fairly sure aren't going to change (such as servers or routers), double-click on the node and check the "locked" box to lock that node.
- Put the program on a USB flash drive or floppy disk as a portable network analysis tool. The whole program, including its support files and NIC manufacturer databases, fits in less than 600 K!
Serdar Yegulalp is editor of the Windows Power Users Newsletter. Check it out for the latest advice and musings on the world of Windows network administrators -- and please share your thoughts as well!
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