Video Transcript

Hi, this is Jeff Hicks. Today I want to show you a few networking tools that I think every help desk and Windows administrator should know. These are things that will help you verify the network health and integrity of you desktop computers. It's been my experience that if your computers pass these tests, you will have fewer problems. Let me go through some of them here.

Some of them are command line tools.' Some of them are PowerShell tools. A number of the command line tools you can run just in PowerShell, I'll jump back and forth between the two consoles. The first thing we want to look at:' Is the computer up and running? Can I ping it? I'm sure you have all heard of the command ping. I'm going to open up a command line here and type ping. I'm going to ping an XP computer that is on my test network here called \\xplab and I can see that it replied and see that I have a result.

You may have firewalls in place that will prevent pings from working.' So it is not necessarily that the computer is up and running and fully functional, but if you know what to expect with firewalls then you should be able to use ping successfully. In the Windows PowerShell world there is a cmdlet called test-connection that works basically the same way as ping. Type test-connection xplab and I can see the result, that there is an IP address and a few other pieces of information. Having a ping response is a good thing, I know the computer is up and running and potentially reachable. Not necessarily that the operating system is working, just that the networking piece is working.

Also important is that name resolution is working properly. I should be able to use the nslookup command. Type in nslookup xplab and get a result back. Related to that is with computer names, you have the names and the IP address, it's also important you have the reverse lookup so if I do nslookup I should also get a result. You do not want to get (I'll put in a bogus IP address here) if there is a problem with a missing reverse lookup you would get an error like that, which is something I would want to look into.

With today's systems WMI is super critical. You need to make sure that it is running and that you can also get information from WMI. From the command line I can use the sc \\xplab query winmgmt service and I can see that it is up and running. That's great. In PowerShell I can use the get-service winmgmt -ComputerName xplab and sure enough I can see that it is running. I also want to make sure I can get information, so let's do a quick check here get-wmiobject -Class win32_operatingsystem -ComputerName xplab. That's all well, that works.

I also want to make sure I have RPC connectivity. The best way to do that is to make sure I have access to the administrative shares, the hidden C$ and ADMIN$ shares.' So, I can do dir' \\xplab\c$. With PowerShell if I just want to verify it exists I can use the test path cmdlet (test-path \\xplab\c$) and it returns true.

Finally, I also put together a script that you can download called Get-NetworkStatus that will run through a lot of checks and return a custom object. So, if this script is on my s: drive I can type s:\Get-NetworkStatus.ps1 xplab takes a moment to run through all the tests and it will spit out a health object that shows me everything is running smoothly on this system. So, some quick network checks that you should work through. I hope you found this informative. Thank You.