Network Trace without Wireshark on Windows

 If you need to do a network packet capture trace and you do not want to install Wireshark or you wish to use the windows version of this, then you can do this using this command:

Warning : Traces captured will contain sensitive information and will be consider a GDPR type file and the security around them needs to be taken into account, for example if you are running this on a domain controller it will expose lots of sensitive data.

This will start the trace for all traffic:

netsh trace start capture=yes tracefile=C:\temp\alltrace.etl maxsize=6024 filemode=circular 

If you are only interested in a certain source IP you can use this:

netsh trace start capture=yes IPv4.Address=12,345.11.44 tracefile=C:\temp\sourcetrace.etl  maxsize=6024 filemode=circular 

This will stop the trace when you are done with this, and it will compile and merge it:

netsh trace stop

That should look like this in the flesh so to speak:

Once complete and merged you will end up with two files, you will have a ETL and CAB file

We need the ETL file, but this cannot be opended in Wireshark as its in the wrong format so for that you need ETL2PCAPNG which will take an ETL and covert this into a PCAPNG, you can get this from here of which you will need to compile this file for it to work in Windows.

Note : If you would like the complied file you can get it from the link below, but you will need the blog authors permission to gain access to that file!

Once you have the files complied or downloaded from the blog author extract the file to a folder I have called mine "etl2pcapng" then I have moved the ETL file to this folder, so below you can see the exe and the etl trace:

Now you want to run this command to convert the etl into pcapng:

etl2pcapng.exe dnstrace.etl wireshark.pcapng

This should look like this:

Then you should now see the pcapng file in the folder:

That is now you get a Wireshark trace without Wireshark being installed on the server/workstation.

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