It is safe to say that most help desk administrators would prefer to resolve issues before they become major problems. Often this requires a pro-active approach. In today's Windows environment a smooth running network is critical and there are 5 things I think you should check on a regular basis. Think of it as a network health report for your desktops.

In this article I'll walk you through the 5 most common network checks you should make periodically so that you can nip minor issues in the bud before they become major headaches. You don't need anything special. Everything is built into Windows, although many of the tools are command line based. These are tools every Windows or help desk administrator should know how to use. If in doubt on how to use a tool, you can usually use the /? parameter.

C:\>nslookup /?
Usage:
  nslookup [-opt ...]           # interactive mode using default server
  nslookup [-opt ...] - server  # interactive mode using 'server'
  nslookup [-opt ...] host      # just look up 'host' using default server
  nslookup [-opt ...] host server # just look up 'host' using 'server'

Depending on your environment and management tools, failures of any of these tests may not necessarily mean a problem. But in my experience you'll have fewer complaints and more management opportunities if your desktops receive passing marks.

I expect most of the time you'll use tools like PING, NBTSTAT, NSLOOKUP and GETMAC on an as needed basis to troubleshoot a specific issue. However, I've also given you a complete PowerShell script that will return a custom network health check object. Feed the script a computer name and you'll be able to tell at a glance where you might have a problem.

PS C:\> S:\Get-NetworkStatus.ps1 XPLAB

CShare          : False
Computername    : XPLAB
LeaseObtained   : 1/19/2011 9:22:58 AM
WMI             : False
AdapterHostname : xplab
Ping            : True AdminShare      : False DHCPServer      : 192.168.56.102 WinRM           : False LeaseExpires    : 1/27/2011 9:22:58 AM DNSDomain       : jdhlab.local MACAddress      : 08-00-27-AD-81-3E IPAddress       : 192.168.56.203 ReverseLookup   : True DNSHostName     : XPLAB.jdhlab.local

Don't neglect the network health of your Windows desktops. In my article, you can follow my easy 5 step prescription for getting a network health report.

You can also watch my video How To Verify Network Health & Desktop Integrity.