Product Reviews

Track Those TCP Ports

TCPView ferrets out connection information.

Some time ago, one of my clients was having a problem with a Web server — every so often, though it would accept connections on TCP port 80, it wouldn't send back HTML data on that port. Eventually, we tracked this to a rogue process that was hijacking the port, but only after a great deal of detective work.

Too bad we didn't have a copy of TCPView Pro, which would have given us the answer in seconds. The TCP/IP protocol supports TCP connections for reliable communications and UDP connections for unreliable communications. Both protocols allow processes on the computer to grab a particular port and address for communications. But Windows doesn't provide you with a good way of viewing the information detailing what process is using what port to communicate with a particular IP address.

That's where TCPView Pro comes in. The TCPView Pro display consists of two sections. The top section shows you all connections that currently exist on your computer, along with local and remote addresses, process name, and the amount of data sent and received. The bottom section shows you data as it goes by, permitting you to identify active ports. This lets you quickly find processes that are using particular ports, whether they're services you've intentionally loaded or virus activity.

TCPView Professional displays complete details of all TCP and UDP connections.
TCPView Professional displays complete details of all TCP and UDP connections. (Click image to view larger version.)

TCPView Pro can show you raw IP addresses or DNS lookups to let you locate a particular remote computer's connection. TCPView Pro performed flawlessly on every system where I tried it, from my own desktop to a busy Web server. The interface is clean and efficient, the information presented is essential for understanding what's going on in the computer, and the price is trivial.

All in all, another big win for the Winternals folks.

About the Author

Mike Gunderloy, MCSE, MCSD, MCDBA, is a former MCP columnist and the author of numerous development books.

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