Today I was working on a problem that we thought was network related. That meant it was time to try out some of those NetMon skills. NetMon is the Microsoft Network Packet Capture and Analysis tool that is similar to WireShark/ethereal and can the current 3.2 version can be download for free from here - http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=f4db40af-1e08-4a21-a26b-ec2f4dc4190d&DisplayLang=en
For the longest time I am a lot of my colleagues used WireShark/ethereal to do network captures. However Netmon has come a long way and I really am a big fan of it now.
Back to my problem today. We were dealing with a Web Server that has a decent amount of traffic and problem that occurred intermittently. I first started just capturing with the UI but quickly saw the memory grow and the box slow down a bit. I did not need to see the traffic going by I just needed to do a capture. This lead me to the NMCAP tool that ships with NetMon. This is a basic command line tool that allows you do to do captures.
So I started capturing and by default if you use the *.chn extension on the file name you specify it will create 20 MB CAP files with your network data. This as great. I could easily filter out the ones I did not want while I awaited the problem.
Finally the problem reproduced and now I was ready to analyze. I opened the trace closest to when the problem occurred and began working through the trace. I quickly found some conversations that I was interested but – Where was the beginning? Where was the end?
The answer to this – In some of the other traces!
Now I had 3, 4, 5, 6 different traces open and that was no good. I quickly wanted to be able to combine the 6 or 10 traces that I was interested it. I found out that the same NMCAP tool can easily do this. All you have to do is use the /InputCapture param. You end up with a command line like this:
namcap /InputCapture Trace1.cap Trace2.cap Trace3.cap /capture /file Trace.cap:500M
This was a life saver so I thought I would pass it along! Enjoy and have a great weekend.