Similar to the Microsoft-PEF-NDIS-PacketCapture provider, the Microsoft-PEF-WFP-MessageProvider is instrumented to work with the ETW infrastructure, as described in the ETW Framework Conceptual Tutorial. This infrastructure provides the mechanisms for controlling ETW Sessions, buffering trace data, and delivering events to a consumer. Because the Microsoft-PEF-WFP-MessageProvider provider is integrated into this infrastructure, it can deliver the packets that it captures as events. The Microsoft-PEF-WFP-MessageProvider also has an option that enables you to log discarded packet events.
The Microsoft-PEF-WFP-MessageProvider is based on the Windows Filtering Platform (WFP) which is typically used to create firewall applications, but in Message Analyzer, it provides an entry point into the stack that enables you to capture traffic above the IP/Network Layer. Capturing message data with the Microsoft-PEF-WFP-MessageProvider is less noisy than capturing at the Data Link Layer with either the Microsoft-PEF-NDIS-PacketCapture or Microsoft-Windows-NDIS-PacketCapture provider, as most low-level and broadcast traffic is ignored in the case of the PEF-WFP-MessageProvider. Therefore, with the use of the Microsoft-PEF-WFP-MessageProvider you can focus your analysis on messages above the Network Layer. Note that messages at and below the Network Layer in a Microsoft-PEF-WFP-MessageProvider capture are typically represented in your trace results as WFPCapture, and below that there is an ETW layer.
Although most lower-level noise is removed by the Microsoft-PEF-WFP-MessageProvider, other noise can be introduced by this provider in terms of diagnosis errors and loopback traffic. However, you can specifically filter out this noise by configuring Fast Filters in the Advanced Settings – Microsoft-PEF-WFP-MessageProvider dialog, as described in Provider Fast Filtering Configurations. The provider configuration in this dialog is accessible by clicking the Configure link in the New Session dialog in Trace Scenarios that use this provider.
The Microsoft-PEF-WFP-MessageProvider provides the first entry point (chokepoint) into the network stack above the Data Link Layer in Message Analyzer, which creates a unique inspection point into the stack that enables you to do the following:
Capture loopback traffic — for example, if you have an HTTP and SQL server on the same machine, you can use the Local Loopback Network Trace Scenario to capture communication traffic between these applications, that is, if they are using the loopback IP addresses for such communications.
Capture IPSec/ESP traffic — in pre-encrypted, encrypted, and decrypted formats, for example, with the Loopback and Unencrypted IPSEC Trace Scenario.
Capture VPN and Direct Access traffic — for example, with the Network Tunnel Traffic and Unencrypted IPSEC Trace Scenario.
Capture hardware offload traffic — offloaded from the network adapter.
Log discarded packet events — by setting the Select Discarded Packet Events option, Message Analyzer can capture packets that are being dropped at the firewall.
Improve performance — use less Message Analyzer parsing to get at upper-layer protocols.
Associated Trace Scenarios
The Microsoft-PEF-WFP-MessageProvider provider is used in the following Message Analyzer Trace Scenarios, where each scenario has a different capture focus. Operating system dependencies are also specified where applicable; otherwise, you can assume that the Microsoft-PEF-WFP-MessageProvider works in the listed Trace Scenarios on Windows 7 and later computers:
Local Loopback Network
Loopback and Unencrypted IPSEC
Network Tunnel Traffic and Unencrypted IPSEC
SASL LDAP pre-encryption with WFP
SMB Client and Firewall — on computers running the Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, or Windows 10 operating system.
Note that you can use any Trace Scenario in which the Microsoft-PEF-WFP-MessageProvider exists on computers running the Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2, or Windows 10 operating system, to capture traffic remotely on computers running the Windows 10 operating system. Capture of remote traffic on target Windows 10 computers is possible because the Microsoft-PEF-WFP-MessageProvider is now instrumented to support remote scenarios on Windows 10 computers.
This means that on computers running the Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2, or Windows 10 operating system, you can successfully launch a remote capture that targets a Windows 10 computer, while on computers with other operating systems earlier than Windows 8.1, you cannot. Conversely, from a computer running the Windows 10 operating system, you cannot capture remote traffic from a computer running the Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2, or earlier operating system, since the Microsoft-PEF-WFP-MessageProvider is not instrumented to support remote scenarios on these computers. Moreover, it is the target computer with the remote-enabled Microsoft-PEF-WFP-MessageProvider alone that determines where you can capture remote traffic.
Provider Fast Filtering Configurations
Similar to the Microsoft-PEF-NDIS-PacketCapture provider, you can configure the Microsoft-PEF-WFP-MessageProvider to use Fast Filters to improve trace performance. For example, you might create a Fast Filter that focuses on messages from a specified IP address or TCP port only. You can also specify Fast Filters that remove loopback traffic, for example, with IPv4 and IPv6 filters such as
!::1, respectively. You can access the configuration for Fast Filters on the Provider tab of the Advanced Settings – Microsoft-PEF-WFP-MessageProvider dialog, which is accessible by clicking the Configure link to the right of the Microsoft-PEF-WFP-MessageProvider Id in the ETW Providers list on the Live Trace tab of the New Session dialog.
The WFP Layer Set filter configuration is also specified on the Provider tab of the Advanced Settings dialog, as described in the PEF-WFP Layer Set Filters topic.
Event Keyword and Error Level Filtering
Similar to other system ETW providers that are registered on your system, you have the option to specify ETW event Keyword configurations and Level filter settings for the Microsoft-PEF-WFP-MessageProvider, to further refine the scope of events to be captured. The settings for these filters are available on the ETW Core tab of the Advanced Settings – Microsoft-PEF-WFP-MessageProvider dialog. By default, as with the Microsoft-PEF-NDIS-PacketCapture provider, all events are delivered by the Microsoft-PEF-WFP-MessageProvider provider when no Keywords are selected. If you specify any particular Keyword, then the provider will deliver the events that are enabled by that Keyword only, if they occur in a trace. It also follows that multiple events are delivered when multiple Keywords are selected.
To learn more about configuring system ETW Providers, including event Keyword and error Level filters, see System ETW Provider Event Keyword/Level Settings
To learn more about specifying Fast Filters and WFP Layer Set filters for the Microsoft-PEF-WFP-MessageProvider, see the following topics:
PEF-WFP Fast Filters
PEF-WFP Layer Set Filters
Common Provider Configuration Settings Summary