ARCHIVED: In Windows, what is traceroute and how do I use it?

This content has been archived, and is no longer maintained by Indiana University. Resources linked from this page may no longer be available or reliable.

The traceroute utility checks how many "hops" (transfers through other computers on a network) it takes for your computer to contact another computer. You can use traceroute if you know the other computer's IP address, web site address, or name (e.g.,,, or

To access the utility:

  1. Open the command prompt:
    • Windows 8: From the navigation section on the right side of the screen, select Search. In the search field, type cmd, and click Command Prompt to open it.
    • Windows 7 or Vista: From the Start menu, in the search field, type cmd, and then press Enter.
    • Previous versions: From the Start menu, select Run.... In the "Open:" box, type cmd, and then press Enter.

  2. At the command prompt, enter tracert example, where example is the IP address, name, or web site of the computer you are trying to access. For example, if you enter tracert, you should see something similar to the following:
  Tracing route to []

  over a maximum of 30 hops:

    1   <10 ms   <10 ms   <10 ms 

    2    10 ms    20 ms    20 ms [] 

    3    10 ms    10 ms    20 ms [] 

    4    20 ms    30 ms    30 ms [] 

    5    71 ms    40 ms    50 ms [] 

    6    80 ms    40 ms    40 ms [] 

    7    60 ms    90 ms    80 ms [] 

    8    50 ms    40 ms    90 ms [] 

    9     *        *        *     Request timed out.

   10    40 ms    70 ms    90 ms [] 

   11     *       40 ms    50 ms [] 

  Trace complete.

The first column, the hop count, represents the number of stops your information has made along the route to attempt to contact the other computer. The next three columns are the round-trip times in milliseconds for three different attempts to reach the destination. The last column is the name of the host that responded to the request.

The above example shows that a user on ran a traceroute to On the fifth hop, the request left the Ivy Tech network and went to the network. On the eighth hop, the request went to the network. Finally, on the tenth hop, the request found its way to the network. Since there is a "Request timed out" message on the ninth hop, you might guess that there could be some problem between the network and the network. If you are seeing other problems, such as the web page at loading slowly, this could indicate the location of the problem.

In many cases, a network technician will need to analyze the problem further. To aid in this effort, you can save the output of the traceroute program as a text file by entering the following command, where example is the IP address, name, or web site you are trying to access:

  tracert example > test.txt

You can then send the test.txt file to your computer support provider for further diagnosis.

This is document aihy in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2018-01-18 12:41:16.

Contact us

For help or to comment, email the UITS Support Center.