Simplify access to Windows IP settings
Network administrators and tech support professionals have done it hundreds of times: configuring Windows IP settings. When a client machine needs static IP parameters, we follow the familiar path of Control Panel -> Network and Sharing Center -> Change Adapter Settings -> right-click the network interface, choose Properties -> highlight ‘Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)’ -> select ‘Use the following IP address’ and ‘Use the following DNS server addresses’. For Windows XP the slightly different procedure is Control Panel -> Network Connections -> right-click the network interface, choose Properties -> highlight ‘Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)’ -> select ‘Use the following IP address’ and ‘Use the following DNS server addresses’. To revert back to DHCP functionality, you would select ‘Obtain an IP address automatically’ and ‘Obtain DNS server address automatically’.
This process and the ‘Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)’ graphical interface (below) are cumbersome and time-consuming.
For those who frequently change their network configuration (such as information security professionals conducting vulnerability assessments and penetration tests, or individuals who work in multiple locations), there are several utilities available that simplify the process. Rather than go through the steps above to change IP settings, you can just launch a program, enter in your desired settings, and click ‘Save’ or its equivalent. Instead of describing them individually in multiple blog posts, I will present them all here in no particular order.
- Free IP Switcher
- Fast IP Changer
- IP Change Easy Free
- IP Changer King
- TCP/IP Manager
- IP Changer
- Recommended reading
1. Free IP Switcher
Free IP Switcher by Eusing Software switches between preconfigured network settings with a single click. With Free IP Switcher you can automatically change all network settings on your Windows 2000/XP/2003/Vista/7 computer, such as IP address, subnet mask, default gateway, DNS server, proxy settings, default printer and more. The interface contains several tabs that let you edit and save your network settings. To apply these settings you just click ‘Activate’.
By default Free IP Switcher comes with five tabs (for five individual IP setting groups). To add more, just click Edit -> Add New Set or click the ‘Add New Set’ button. To have Free IP Switcher start when Windows boots up, select the ‘Auto start when Windows starts’ option in File -> Settings. After Free IP Switcher is launched, it runs in the system tray for easy access.
2. Fast IP Changer
Fast IP Changer works in a very similar manner to Free IP Switcher, however Fast IP Changer does not need to be installed. You simply launch IPChangerv1.x.exe to use the program.
Unlike Free IP Switcher, Fast IP Changer is not capable of letting you specify proxy server, computer name, and workgroup name settings. Fast IP Changer is also available on SourceForge.
3. IP Change Easy Free
IP Change Easy Free from JMCN Soft is available as shareware from JMCN Soft’s website or as a less functional freeware version from Download.com. In order for IP Change Easy Free to run properly, I had to to right-click the program shortcut and choose ‘Run as administrator’ otherwise IP Change Easy Free could not access the names of the adapters on my laptop (‘Failed to get name’ was displayed instead of Local Area Connection, Local Arean Connection 2, etc.)
IP Change Easy Free seems to be the least robust of all the tools reviewed here. Compared to the others, it mainly serves as a quick shortcut to the ‘Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)’ interface shown above. More screenshots are available here.
NetChanger by TyxSoft is another utility that should be run with elevated privileges (either right-click the shortcut and choose ‘Run as administrator’ or choose Properties, Compatibility, ‘Run this program with administrative privileges’).
NetChanger is distributed as shareware and in unregistered mode it will only allow you to save two configurations for your network adapters.
A more detailed NetChanger user guide is available here.
5. IP Changer King
IP Changer King is distributed as shareware (a 15 day free trial with all features enabled). Although IP Changer King seems to be a more robust tool, its interface left me confused as it is not at all intuitive.
6. TCP/IP Manager
TCP/IP Manager seems to be the utility I was looking for. It sports a neat and clean interface that is easy to figure out. You create an IP setting profile, name it, and then apply it to one of your network interfaces. You can also specify proxy server settings.
TCP/IP Manager is free open source software (FOSS) available from SourceForge.
7. IP Changer
IP Changer by GT Delphi Components (currently offline; out of business?) is one of the most popular items in Download.com’s Networking Tools category. IP Changer lets you create a custom IP configuration (called an ‘IP Set’) which you can then apply to one of your network interfaces.
After you create an IP set, it appears in the ‘Available IP Sets’ tab. You then select it and click ‘Activate IP Set’ to make it active for the interface you specified when you created the set.
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