Free Ways To Scan Computers On Networks And Discover IP Addresses

There are several ways to scan computers on networks. You might want to find the IP address of a printer, or the name of a machine so you can remote into it. Fortunately, Windows has a lot of great networking tools built in to accomplish this task. The following tutorial will explain some common networking commands that will transform you into a networking mastermind!

Use Network IP Commands To Scan Computers On Networks

We will be using basic networking commands using the Command Prompt. You should first understand how your home network works. You have two primary network addresses: internal and external. The external IP address is the IP address provided by your ISP. It is the external IP address that comes in contact with the Big Bad Internet.

You also have internal IP addresses. Your router is the gateway, so its IP address will be the lowest number on the network. For example, your router might have an IP address of 192.168.1.1. The final octet has the number 1, so this is the first IP address on your network. If you only have one computer on the network, the router will assign it a different internal IP address, such as 192.168.1.2.

Discover Computers On Your Network

Launch the command prompt by typing cmd into the Windows search box and hitting enter. The very first command you should know is ipconfig. As with most commands, ipconfig has numerous switches that can be used to enhance its functionality. We want to use ipconfig to find the IP address of your computer, so we will use the switch /all.

From the command prompt, type ipconfig /all and hit enter. A lot of information will be displayed, but you only want to be concerned about the IPv4 result. In the example below, our computer’s internal IP address is 192.168.1.19.

ipconfig

The next command we want to use is ARP. ARP stands for Address Resolution Protocol. It will enable us to access the IP cache and find the IP address and MAC address of all of the machines on the network. The MAC address is the unique identifier of a network card, and is often referred to as the Physical Address. The arp command will help discover computers, printers, tablets, etc on your network.

To scan computers on networks, type arp -a and then hit enter. A large list of IP addresses and physical addresses will appear. These are all of the internet-capable devices that appear on your network.

Scan computers On Networks

In the example above, you will see the router and another internal networked device, along with their physical address and the type of IP address they have. The arp command can be used to find duplicate IP addresses. A duplicate IP address can happen when both a dynamic address (assigned by the router) and a static IP address (assigned by a user) share the same IP address.

Another command is net view. Net view is a little different, as it finds computer names on the network. Simply type net view on the command line and hit enter. Windows will take a few moments and then return results that may look like the following:

net view

The net view command is showing that there is one computer on the network and its name is MYCOMPUTERNAME.

Commands To Scan Computers On Networks

As you can see, the above commands a great way to discover the IP addresses and computer names on your home network. Read more of our networking tutorials to learn how to manage your networked devices.

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