Most admins who move their machines around a lot know the pain of having to reconfigure network settings so the computers can continue to talk on the network. This can occur where you are building and testing different network-deployment scenarios prior to rolling out the real thing. You might also have to reconfigure network settings for your computers if you have a routed network with several subnets in one building and frequently move machines from one subnet to another environment.
If you have a laptop that you need to use at work, at home, and at the sites of several clients, being able to save and reload network configurations can be a real timesaver. This is where the Netsh command-line utility can come in handy.
Use the Netsh command to switch configurations
To start, dump your network settings to a text file via the command line, as follows:
Netsh -c interface dump > NetworkSettings.txt
This command stores your current network settings in a text file named NetworkSettings.txt. Now, let's say you have to reconfigure your machine's network settings to repurpose the machine or move it to a different part of the network. Then, later, if you need to restore your machine's original network settings, you can simply type the following command and load back in the previously dumped settings:
Netsh -f NetworkSettings.txt
Note that the destination filename is not important, so you can effectively create multiple configuration files. You can create and name one for each network configuration you need. For example, you can use Office.txt for the office, Home.txt for your home configuration.
About the author: Rahul Shah currently works at a software firm in India, where he is a systems administrator maintaining Windows servers. He has also worked for various software firms in testing and analytics, and also has experience deploying client/server applications in different Windows configurations.
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This was first published in April 2006