Sunday, June 14, 2015

How to view the network map in Windows 7

The network map is a handy feature in Windows (Vista and newer versions) that allows you to see a graphical representation of how your local network is laid out.  On domain networks, the network map is disabled by default, but for non-domain networks, you can see computers, routers, switches, and other devices, and see how they are connected to each other.

To view the network map, first click on the Start button (the Windows orb button in the lower left corner of the screen).  In the search bar that comes up, type "sharing" and then in the list of results, click on Network and Sharing Center.

The Network and Sharing Center window will open, showing your current network configuration.  In the upper right corner will be a text link labeled "See full map" -- click on this link.

Now you should see the network map.  (On some computers, this function may be disabled.)  Your computer and any other network devices may be displayed.  By hovering over a device's icon, you can see some information about that device.  For some icons, only the device's name or the type of device that it is will be displayed -- for example, "switch" or "Internet."  For other devices, you may see a lot of information, including IPv4 address, IPv6 address, and MAC address.

Some devices may also be listed along the bottom of the map.  These are devices that are on the network, but Windows isn't sure exactly how they connect to the other devices.  You can hover over those devices as well.  If you are connected to multiple networks, you can toggle between the various network maps by selecting the other networks from the drop down list at the top of the window.

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