My New Favourite Network-Fiddling Tool


I love playing the IT detective, and keeping tabs on what my PC is doing in the background.  Free utilities such as Process Explorer (see are great for finding out which programs are running on your PC, but sometimes it's also fun to see what's travelling through your network connection, too.  For this you'll need something known as a network protocol analyzer, and one of the simplest I've come across recently is called SoftPerfect Network Protocol Analyzer.

You'll find it at and it's a free download of around 5 MB.  The program itself is free, and is available in a choice of 4 versions (portable and installable, 32- and 64-bit).  Once it's set up on your system, choose from the list of available network interfaces it finds, hit the Start Capture button, and watch.  You can examine the full content of each network packet it intercepts, and use the data within those as a starting point for further investigation.

For example, the screen shot below shows that I was visiting the techsupportalert web site.  




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They are actually twins ... you might want to get the twin that is right for you ... There is the SoftPerfect Network Protocol Analyzer - A Free network sniffer for Windows Over Here: And, bunking in the next room is the SoftPerfect Network Scanner: "SoftPerfect Network Scanner is a free multi-threaded IPv4/IPv6 scanner with a modern interface and many advanced features. It is intended for both system administrators and general users interested in computer security. The program pings computers, scans for listening TCP/UDP ports and discovers shared folders, including system and hidden ones. In addition, it can can retrieve practically any information about network computers via WMI, SNMP, HTTP, NetBios and a bunch of other features. It can also resolve host names and auto-detect the local and external IP address range. To assist with network administration, it supports remote shutdown and Wake-On-LAN. " Why: they're like Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dee!

Is it a Netwok analyzer (used to evaluate Chinese foods cooked in a wok) or is it a Network analyzer? ;)

Either way, it sounds quite useful and I'm downloading the Network analyzer in spite of how useful a Netwok analyzer might also be.

Thank you for pointing out the typo which has now been corrected. MC - Site Manager.