Using the Advanced Settings - Microsoft-PEF-NDIS-PacketCapture Dialog

The Advanced Settings - Microsoft-PEF-NDIS-PacketCapture dialog is available in Message Analyzer installations on computers that are running the Windows 7 or Windows 8 operating system only. The dialog is accessible by clicking the Configure link to the right of the Microsoft-PEF-NDIS-PacketCapture provider Id in the ETW Provider list on the Live Trace tab of the New Session dialog; that is, after you select a Trace Scenario that uses the Microsoft-PEF-NDIS-PacketCapture provider. For example, you can select any of the following Trace Scenarios from the Select Scenarios drop-down list to display the Microsoft-PEF-NDIS-PacketCapture provider in the ETW Providers list of the New Session dialog during Live Trace Session configuration:

  • Local Network Interfaces (Win 8 and earlier)

  • Wired Local Area Network (Win 8 and earlier)

  • Wireless Local Area Network (Win 8 and earlier)

The Advanced Settings dialog for the Microsoft-PEF-NDIS-PacketCapture provider is shown in the figure that follows.

Advanced Settings - PEF-NDIS-PacketCapture Dialog

Figure 22: Advanced Settings - Microsoft-PEF-NDIS-PacketCapture Dialog

The Advanced Settings dialog provides its functionality in a flexible framework that enables you to focus on capturing very specific data while achieving the performance advantages that are inherent to Fast Filters. This framework enables you to logically chain up to three Fast Filters in each of two Groups that can be logically ORed or ANDed, which you can then assign to one or more selected adapters. For example, you can assign a single Group or both Groups of filters to one or more adapters.

An adapter is considered selected only when you select at least one of the In or Out (traffic direction) check boxes in the Advanced Settings dialog. However, the default selection is to capture traffic in both directions. In order for a Group filter configuration to apply to packets intended for a particular adapter, the adapter must be selected in the indicated manner. Also, a filter Group can only be assigned to a selected adapter if the row in which the adapter exists is highlighted and then you click the Apply to Highlighted button for the Group. In addition, because Fast Filters are nested in Groups, which are in turn assigned to specific adapters, the total filtering effects that you realize are the result of both adapter selection and filter Group assignment combined. For this reason, you should carefully consider how you assign Groups to selected adapters, as described in How Fast Filter Groups Are Applied.

Viewing the System Network Configuration

When you open the Advanced Settings - Microsoft-PEF-NDIS-PacketCapture dialog, the System Network tree grid configuration is prepopulated with the following information:

  • Adapters — the adapters and adapter nodes on your machine are listed in the Name column of the tree grid configuration. For example, your adapters might include Ethernet and Wireless network adapters and a Hyper-V-Switch node containing virtual machines (VMs).

  • Traffic direction — for each adapter on your system there are In and Out check boxes that enable you to specify the direction of the traffic you want to capture, for example, inbound to a particular adapter or outbound from the adapter. All the check boxes are selected by default to enable you to capture data in both directions, which is the typical configuration for the most useful context. However, there can be times when you want to isolate traffic in a particular direction. In this case, you can select the In and Out check boxes individually for any listed adapter. Otherwise, you can globally select inbound and outbound traffic for all listed adapters by selecting the In and Out check boxes in the Machine or Adapters row of the System Network tree grid configuration.

  • IP addresses — the IP address of each adapter on your machine is specified in the IP Address column of the tree grid configuration, in both IPv4 and IPv6 formats.

  • Virtual ports — any applicable ports for local VM adapters are listed in the Virtual Port column of the tree grid configuration.

  • MAC addresses — the MAC address for each adapter on your machine is listed in the MAC Address column of the tree grid configuration.

Finding Column Data

If you have a particularly long list of adapters, including a Hyper-V-Switch and VMs, you can take advantage of the Column Filter feature that is also included in numerous Message Analyzer viewer and Tool Windows, to search for column entries that contain specified search text. This can help you to quickly isolate a row of adapter data in which you are interested. You can display the column filtering row by clicking the Show Column Filter Row icon in the System Network configuration. Also, if you select any network adapter that is listed, a description displays below the System Network configuration.

Note

You can utilize the Copy commands in the context menu that displays when you right-click any tree grid configuration column that contains data.

Logically Chaining Fast Filters

You have the option to configure up to three Fast Filters per Group with the same or different address types, and you can also logically chain the Fast Filters within each Group, by selecting either the And or Or operator option. Note that the Groups are logically ANDed by default, but can be set to OR if necessary.

Assigning Fast Filter Groups to Tree Grid Elements

The Advanced Settings - Microsoft-PEF-NDIS-PacketCapture dialog provides a flexibility that enables you to selectively assign filter Groups to adapters in the System Network tree grid. After you create a Fast Filter configuration for a particular Group, you can assign it to any of the following elements in the tree grid by first highlighting the element and then clicking the appropriate Apply to Highlighted button:

  • One adapter element row — when you assign a filter Group containing one or more Fast Filters to a single adapter that is both selected and highlighted, the filtering configuration applies to the highlighted adapter only.

    Note

    You can highlight an adapter by clicking any column in the element row in which the target adapter is listed, at which time the row is highlighted in blue. After you assign a filter Group to a highlighted adapter by clicking the Apply to Highlighted button, the color of the highlighted row changes to gray.

  • Multiple adapter element rows — when you assign a filter Group of one or more Fast Filters to multiple selected and highlighted adapters, the filtering configuration applies to the highlighted adapters.

  • All adapters — when you assign a filter Group of one or more Fast Filters to all selected and highlighted adapters, the filtering configuration applies to all adapters in the System Network tree grid.

    Note

    You can select and highlight all adapters by selecting one or both traffic direction check boxes in the Machine element row.

Also, when you successfully assign a filter Group to a particular adapter, the name of the adapter to which the filter configuration is assigned displays next to the Target label for the assigned Group.

How Fast Filter Groups Are Applied

In the grouping model, filter Group behavior varies depending on how you assign the Groups and to some extent on the logical operator with which the Groups are chained. For a simple case, when you click the Apply to Highlighted button/s to assign one or both Groups to a single adapter or a top node containing child adapters in the System Network tree grid, a property is set that designates the adapter/s as the target for the Group/s. Thereafter, any packet that is intended for the specific adapter/s will be retrieved by the Microsoft-PEF-NDIS-PacketCapture provider if it passes the filtering criteria contained in the assigned Groups. Packets that are not intended for the specific adapter/s are not affected by the assigned filter Groups. Moreover, if you assign each Group to a different adapter or node, any arriving packet that applies to both nodes or adapters causes the rules of both Groups to fire in accordance with the defined operators. Under these circumstances, if a packet arrives that applies to only one node or adapter, then the rules fire for only the Group assigned to that node or adapter. In this case, the logical AND that chains the Groups by default has no effect.

The main scenario for which filter Groups were developed in the Advanced Settings dialog has to do with local VMs that are serviced by a Hyper-V-Switch and the difficulty of isolating messages to a particular VM. Because Message Analyzer enumerates Hyper-V networks, you can now create a Group filter configuration and assign it to a specific VM, rather than having to create a Fast Filter for a specific VM and then capture traffic locally on that VM.

In the grouping model, if a packet arrives that belongs to a particular element such as Machine, or a Hyper-V-Switch, VM, or physical adapter, and a filter Group is assigned to that element, then the filtering rules configured in the assigned Group are applied. However, packets can belong to more than one element. For instance, packets always belong to the Machine element, but might also belong to a particular Hyper-V-Switch or a VM that is serviced by the switch. When this is the case, the grouping model creates a flexibility that enables you to isolate packets to whatever element you choose, including individual VMs. For example, you could have the following scenarios and interactions:

  • Group 1 is assigned to a VM; Group 2 is assigned to a physical switch (with no Hyper-V network) — every packet that arrives either belongs to the VM, physical switch, or some other element, but never to both. Therefore, the default logical AND that is applied to the Groups has no effect because both Groups can never apply to the same packet. In this situation, when a packet arrives that belongs to the VM Group, the filtering rules for Group 1 fire; and when a packet arrives that belongs to the physical switch Group, the filtering rules for Group 2 fire.

  • Group 1 and Group 2 are assigned to the same element/node — under these conditions, the default logical AND that is assigned to the Groups simply defines the top-level operator and subsequently the behavior of the Boolean expression you are constructing. When a packet arrives that applies to the particular element to which the Groups are assigned, the filtering rules for both Groups fire.

  • Group1 is assigned to Machine; Group2 is assigned to a VM — in this case, if a packet arrives that belongs to the VM, then in effect it belongs to both Groups (all packets belong to Machine), and therefore the filtering rules for both Groups kick in with the defined operators. If a packet arrives that does not belong to the VM, then only the filtering rules for Group 1 fire.


More Information
To learn more about how to create a Fast Filter Group and assign it to an adapter, see the procedure Configure and Run a Local Network Interfaces Trace.


See Also

Using the Advanced Settings - Microsoft-Windows-NDIS-PacketCapture Dialog