Using winipcfg, ipconfig , and ifconfig Networking

Of all the TCP/IP utilities that come with Windows, the IP configuration utilities are probably the most overlooked. These utilities display the current configuration of TCP/IP on that workstation, including the current IP address, DNS configuration, WINS configuration, and default gateway

Using the winipcfg Utility

The IP configuration utility for Windows 95/98 is winipcfg. You use it to display the current TCP/IP configuration on a Windows 95/98 workstation. Follow these two steps to display the IP configuration information using winipcfg

  1. Choose Start _ Run, type winipcfg, and click OK to display the IP Configuration dialog box.
  2. Using the winipcfg Utility

    Click the down arrow to choose the network interface for which you want to view statistics. The screen in the graphic above shows this information for the Intel EtherExpress.

  3. To display more detailed configuration information, click the More Info button to open the IP Configuration dialog box shown here.

IP Configuration dialog box

The top of this screen shows the DNS name of the machine and the IP address of the DNS server that this workstation is using. Below that are several lines of NetBIOS over TCP/IP information.
The bottom section contains the same information shown in the first screen but includes such additional information as the addresses of the DHCP and WINS servers (if present) and the lease information (how long the DHCP information is current) for the addresses obtained from a DHCP server.

The winipcfg utility comes in handy when you’re resolving TCP/IP address conflicts and configuring a workstation. For example, if this workstation is experiencing duplicate IP address errors, you can run winipcfg to determine the IP address of this station. Also, if the address was obtained from a DHCP server, you can release it and obtain a new IP address by clicking the Renew All button.

Using the ipconfig Utility

Because Windows NT was designed to be UNIX compatible, Windows NT (as well as its later incarnations, including Windows 2000 Server and Windows Server 2003) and UNIX have several functions and utilities in common. You can use many UNIX command-line utilities at the command prompt of Windows NT and later operating systems, including these:

  • ftp
  • ping
  • tracert
  • ipconfig

The Windows utility ipconfig does roughly the same job as its Windows 95/98 counterpart, winipcfg. With Windows ipconfig, however, the display is command-line based.

To use ipconfig, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Start _ Programs _ Accessories _ Command Prompt to display the command prompt.
  2. Type ipconfig, which produces output similar to the following:


Windows 2000 IP Configuration

Ethernet adapter E100B1:
Connection-specific DNS Suffix . :
IP Address. . . . . . . . . . . :
Subnet Mask . . . . . . . . . . :
Default Gateway . . . . . . . . :


As you can see, this output is similar to the information in the Windows 95/98 IP Configuration dialog box except that the MAC address is not listed, although with the /all switch you can obtain that as well.

Only four switches can be used with the ipconfig command. Table lists and describes all four switches, and the output that follows Table shows the results of using the /all switch with ipconfig.

ip config Switches

The following shows sample output produced by using the ipconfig /all switch:

Using the ifconfig Utility

There is a utility in Linux/UNIX that shows information similar to what ipconfig shows. This utility is called ifconfig (short for “interface configuration”). Although ipconfig and ifconfig show similar information, there are major differences between these two utilities. The ipconfig utility is used mainly to view TCP/IP configuration for a computer. You can use ifconfig to do the same thing, but ifconfig can also be used to configure a protocol or a particular network interface.

The general syntax of the ifconfig command is as follows:

ifconfig interface [address [parameters]]

The interface parameter is the UNIX name of the interface, such as eth0. If the optional address parameter is specified, the ifconfig command sets the IP address for the interface to the address specified. When the ifconfig command is used by itself with no parameters, all configured interfaces are reported on. If only the interface name is specified, output similar to the following is produced:

# ifconfig eth0
eth0 Link encap 10Mbps Ethernet HWaddr 00:00:C0:90:B3:42
inet addr Bcast Mask
RX packets 3136 errors 217 dropped 7 overrun 26
TX ackets 1752 errors 25 dropped 0 overrun 0

The output shows that the eth0 interface is a 10Mbps Ethernet interface. The interface’s MAC and IP address information is displayed in this output as well. The third line of the output begins by listing the state of the various flags an interface can have. The optional parameters field at the end of the ifconfig command can be used to change the state of these flags. The MTU and metric fields are used in making routing decisions, just as they would be used in any router. The values on the RX (receive) and TX (transmit) lines represent, in order, the number of packets that were transmitted or received without errors, how many packets were transmitted or received with errors, how many packets were dropped due to insufficient buffer space, and how many packets were lost due to the packets overrunning the capacity of the kernel to process them. Often the receive value will be higher than the transmit value for these last two properties because transmitted packets can be controlled much more easily than inbound packets.

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