Essential NetTools: 15+ networking tools in one free suite
Troubleshooting network problems can be a nightmare, even for Windows experts, but equipping yourself with the right software can make all the difference.
As we wrote last month, NetCrunch Tools is a useful collection of common network management tools, an easier way to access old standards like Ping and Traceroute.
Essential NetTools has the same core idea – blending several networking tools into one application – but takes it several steps further, with more depth and plenty of extra features.
The program gets off to a good start with its graphical NetStat, a table giving details on all open network connections: process, process ID, protocol, ports, local and remote IPs and host name, connection state and more.
You can also copy information to the clipboard, save it to a report in various formats, or pass the details to one of NetTools other functions (TraceRoute, perhaps, to see the path to a site). It’s all very well done – we’d rank it close to NirSoft and Sysinternals standards – and probably justifies installing Essential NetTools all on its own.
There’s plenty more, though, like the integrated NetBIOS and TCP port scanners, which quickly check your network and report on connected devices, their names, workgroups, IP and MAC addresses and open ports.
A simple Wifi Manager displays your wireless adapters, gives easy access to connection profiles and allows you to adjust their priorities, manually connect or disconnect as required.
SysFiles provides a simple viewer and editor for your Hosts, LMHosts, Networks, Protocols and Services files.
There are a stack of useful web-related features. You can convert between IP addresses and host names, run various DNS queries (CNAME, MX), check a server is active and running a given service, look for an IP address in various blacklists (spam, open proxies etc), even try to discover whether an email address is valid (although there are lots of reasons why that might not work, so don’t expect too much).
And there’s still more, covering everything from networking basics (display and monitor access to network shares), to expert-level extras (SNMP audits, the ability to manually establish and control TCP and UDP connections).
Put it all together and Essential NetTools is a great suite, with some very strong individual tools, and many handy extras which you won’t often find elsewhere. Give it a try.