How to use TRACERT to troubleshoot TCP/IP issues

Tracert is a command-line tool that comes with Windows operating system. This tool helps tracing the path, which is undertaken by an Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) packet to reach its destination. With the help of this command-line tool, the user can troubleshoot TCP/IP issues in Windows by knowing where the tracert stops responding or what the result of tracert is.

How Tracert works?

In order to determine the path of the packet sent to its destination and to determine the problems when the packet does not reach to the destination, tracert uses TTL values. TTL stands for Time To Live. When the packet is sent, tracert sets the TTL value to 1, which is incremented by 1 on every subsequent transmission. TTL value keeps increasing until the packet reaches to the destination or maximum TTL value is reached. In case, the packet does not reach its destination and the maximum TTL is reached, the “Time Exceeded” message is displayed. If there is no problem in the network and the packet is delivered successfully then you will not see any message except the routing details. And, in case of any error in the network, tracert will display the related error message.

How to use Tracert to TroubleShoot TCP/IP Issues in Windows:

Perform the below steps to use tracert to troubleshoot TCP/IP issues in Windows:

  1. Press Windows key + R on the keyboard. The “Run” window opens up at the lower left corner of your computer.
  2. Type CMD in the Open field and press the Enter key on the keyboard. The command prompt window will appear.
  3. Navigate to the C:\Windows\System32 and then type tracert and press the Enter key. Command looks, as shown below:

C:\Windows\System32> tracert

You will see a list of the parameters that can be used with the tracert command for in-depth diagnosis. Listed below are those parameters and information about them:

  • -d: Do not resolve addresses to hostnames. It will speed up the tracert result
  • -h maximum_hops: Maximum number of hops to search for target. Default value is 30.
  • -j host-list: Loose source route along host-list (IPv4-only). It helps separating the successive intermediate destinations by one or many routers.
  • -w timeout: Wait timeout milliseconds for each reply or to receive the Time Exceeded message.
  1. To start in a simple way type tracert domain name or IP address of the domain name and press the Enter key. For example, if you want to trace route for google.com then type tracert google.com and press the Enter key.
  2. When you press the Enter key, tracert will start working and in a few moments you will see the result. If google.com is not reachable at the moment, you will see an error message.
How to use tracert with parameters?

You can use tracert with parameters by typing the parameter between tracert and the destination, as shown below:

C:\Windows\System32> tracert –d –h 10 www.google.com

In the above command,

  • -d will stop tracert to resolve addresses of hostnames
  • -h 10 has defined the maximum number of hops to 10.