Eventually while using your computer a situation will arise when you may need to know a little information about your network connection. You may need this information for a tech support call, to configure a networked video game system, or to add a new PC to your home network. This article will explain how to determine view your network configuration on a PC running Windows XP.
[Update: I’ve created a video to visually guide you through this tutorial. It will show you the actual click-by-click process of locating your Windows XP network configuration.]
Method 1: Using the Windows Connection Status Window
You can determine your basic networking settings easily by using the Windows Network Connections window. Most most users will find this to be the simplest way to find their networking configuration. There are several methods for accessing this window. Some users may see an icon representing their network connection in their system tray (the set of icons on the far right side of the start menu). If you see an icon for your network connection, you can access the connection status by double-clicking on this icon. Depending on the type of network (that is, wired or wireless) you will see a different set of options, but you should always see two tabs called General and Support. Click the Support tab to view your basic network configuration including Address Type (static or DHCP), your IP address, subnet mask, and default gateway. If you need more information such as the connection’s physical (also called machine or MAC address) or DNS servers (also called name servers), click the Details button.
If you can’t find an icon for your network on your system tray don’t fret. Plenty of systems have this icon disabled. You can also access your Connection Status by clicking the Start Button and opening Control Panel. Control Panel has two modes, the default being Category View. In category view you can find your network connection by double-clicking the Network and Internet Connections icon and then selecting the Network Connections icon. If Control Panel is in Classic View you can simply double-click the Network Connections icon directly. You should now see an icon for each of your network connections. To view the connection details for an connected networking connection, just double-click on it’s icon and the connection’s status window will appear.
Method 2: Using the Command Prompt
Users familiar with DOS may find it simpler and faster to open a command prompt and view all of their connection information in a single screen. To open a DOS window click the Start Button and select Run. Type the command cmd and press OK. A DOS command prompt window will appear. In this window type one of the following commands. The first command will display the basic configuration information for all of your network connections. The second command will display the same information as the first command and additionally the extended connection properties much like the “details” window described in Method 1.
ipconfig ipconfig /all
Note that none of the methods above provide the ability to change your network settings. Configuring a network can be a very daunting task and connection settings should only be changed by a knowledgeable professional.
Quick Tip: If you find yourself requiring access to your network connections often, you can add them directly to your start menu. Right-click on your Start button and select the Properties option. In the Taskbar and Start menu Properties window click the Customize button, which will open the Customize Start Menu window. Click the Advanced tab and scroll down to the Network Connections option. Choose the Display as Connect Menu option and click OK. Now when you click your Start button you will see an expanding list of network connections.