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Microsoft Releases Network Monitor 3.4

Microsoft on Thursday released Network Monitor 3.4, the latest version of its free network protocol analyzer.

Users can analyze network traffic using the tool, which runs on just about all Windows operating systems, except Windows 2000 and older versions. Netmon 3.4 can be obtained from the Microsoft Connect portal as well as the Microsoft Download Center.

This release includes improvements that were described in the beta version announcement. Microsoft bolstered the user interface and added a few performance improvements.

For the user interface, Microsoft added text descriptions next to icons in the program to clarify their functions. The screen layouts can be customized in three different ways. The color rules feature is easier to access through a tab. The "expert" function can now run on live traces instead of just saved ones, according to Microsoft's announcement.

In terms of performance, Microsoft says it is easier now to switch between parsers. The default parsers are built during the installation process, but Netmon 3.4 also saves customized parser sets. Customization is also made easier because users "can create parser sets based on existing ones," the announcement explains.

Updates to parsers are available through the CodePlex Parsers Project site.

Microsoft also added a high-performance filtering capability to prevent dropping frames when capturing traffic. Netmon 3.4 also enables high-precision time stamps. Traces can now be viewed using the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) standard.

Microsoft is promising something a bit more with the next version of Netmon, although nothing specific.

"With 3.4 complete we are now setting our sights on a new version with some grand goals for ITPros and Developers meant to take protocol troubleshooting and development to the next level," a Microsoft blog states.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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