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How To Use The Tracert Command

Using the tracert command. Tracert is the Microsoft Windows version of Traceroute, a UNIX tool for displaying the path taken by packets on a network. Every router the packet encounters on the way reduces the value of the TTL by at a minimum of one; invariably TTL is a hop count. Not all routers will return Time Exceeded messages for expired TTL values and are therefore not captured by the Tracert tool. In these cases, asterisks are shown for that particular hop. To show the different parameters which are available to be used with Tracert, open the command prompt with administrator priviledges and enter tracert /?.

Accepted parameters for use of the Tracert tool are as follows:

  • -4 : Specifies tracert.exe may only use IPv4 for the trace.
  • -6 : Specifies tracert.exe can only use IPv6 for the trace.
  • -d : Prevents the resolution of the IP addresses of routers to their hostname, this is typically used speeding up the Tracert results.
  • -h maximumHops : Sets the max number of hops taken before reaching the destination – default is 30 hops.
  • -j HostList : Specifies that packets must use the loose source route option, this allows successive intermediate destinations to be separated by one or more routers. The max number of addresses in the host list is 9. This is only useful only when tracing IPv4 addresses.
  • -R : Sends the packets to the destination in IPv6, using the destination as an intermediate destination and testing reverse route.
  • -S : Specifies which source address to use, this is only useful when tracing IPv6 addresses.
  • -w timeout : Sets the time in milliseconds to wait for the replies.

Tracert is a good utility for determining the number of hops and also the latency of communications between two end-points.