Using netsh

Updated: February 03, 2006

Netsh is a command-line utility that allows you to display or modify the network configuration of a computer that is currently running. Netsh also provides a scripting feature that allows you to run a group of commands in batch mode against a specified computer.

Netsh contexts

Netsh uses helpers to provide an extensive set of features called a context, which is a group of commands specific to a networking component. Contexts extend the functionality of netsh by providing configuration and monitoring support for one or more services, utilities, or protocols.

To run a netsh command, you must start netsh from the command prompt and change to the context that contains the command you want to use. The contexts that are available to you depend on which networking components you have installed. For example, if you type firewall at the netsh command prompt, you change to the IPv6 Internet Connection Firewall (ICF) context. If you do not have the IPv6 ICF installed, the following message appears:

The following command was not found: firewall.


  • IPv6 Internet Connection Firewall is only provided with the Advanced Networking Pack for Windows XP, a free download for computers running Windows XP with Service Pack 1. For computers running Windows XP with Service Pack 2, IPv6 Internet Connection Firewall has been replaced with the new Windows Firewall. For more information about Windows Firewall, see Manually Configuring Windows Firewall in Windows XP Service Pack 2.

    Computers running Windows XP with Service Pack 2 and Windows Firewall have a new netsh firewall context and a new set of commands to configure Windows Firewall. For information about the netsh firewall commands for Windows Firewall, see Appendix B of Deploying Windows Firewall Settings for Microsoft Windows XP with Service Pack 2.

For more information about netsh contexts, go to the Windows XP Help and Support Center.