Free IP Scanner: Simple, efficient, out-of-the-box

Avatar

Expert or not, if you find yourself needing to administrate your network (even a home one) a vital part of this process consists on getting to know it better. Currently there are many network utilities that can help you do that by identifying all the computers in a given network (including the MAC addresses), NetBios information, open ports as well as possible security issues.

Free IP Scanner is a robust tool that can do all of the above and it attracted quite a number of “happy customers” over the years, thanks to its intuitive, simple way to use it and handy capabilities.

Free IP Scanner Main

Installation & Requirements

The program is actually donationware…so every time you run it, a registration window will pop-up, kindly asking you to contribute to the development of Free IP Scanner. This is optional of course and you can skip it and decide later if you want to donate or not.

Concerning the install process…..there is none. One of IP Scanner’s advantages is that it’s an executable file, very small in size, only 430 KB…..with no installation required. Use it on your computer or take it with you on a portable storage unit or a CD. All you have to do it launch the application.

The program is compatible with Windows 9x, Me, NT, 2000, XP, 2003, Vista, 7 and as long as your computer supports any of the above mentioned operating systems, you will be able to run Free IP Scanner.

Interface

Free IP Scanner is a networking utility, the kind of application that relies on simplicity and efficiency and so does its interface. Even if it’s rather plain, the GUI is easy to read and comprehend as it’s designed in the classic Explorer style. At the top lies the simple main menu composed of File, Edit, View and Help categories. Below is the secondary menu, providing a list of frequently used options and functions such as Start/Stop Scanning, Open Custom IP List, Remove all items and others.

To start the scanning process you’ll have to select an IP range, press the Start Scanning button and let the program do its job. The scanning speeds are very fast, as the developers state it can scan “hundreds of computers per second” so unless you are dealing with a gigantic network the process will finish in a matter of seconds. With the resulted IP list you can do many things, such as remove IPs, add custom IPs, save it into a specified file and others.

If you need a customized Scan, the Options menu delivers a bunch of settings that will help you do that with ease. You can define the maximum scanning threads, timeouts for IP and Port scans. You can also choose to scan only IP addresses, display dead hosts, set up an auto-refresh for the scanning process and scan specific ports.

Pros

– Small, standalone utility that runs with no installation process required.
– Capable of performing multi-threaded IP scans with very fast speeds.
– Offers both IP and port scanning capabilities.
– Does not contain any kind of adware or malware.

Cons

– Support is provided only through a “Quick Start Guide” on the official website. There is no FAQ, forums or other form of support.
– The interface is easy to use, but it could use a bit of adjusting and polishing.

Alternatives

Angry IP Scanner and Advanced IP Scanner are two popular utilities that are also free and provide capabilities similar with the ones of Free IP Scanner. Both have their interfaces designed with more user-friendliness in mind, but when it comes to scanning speed, Free IP Scanner remains at the top.

Conclusion

Free IP Scanner may look a bit unpolished but this is just a minor inconvenient considering all the benefits it provides: a small standalone application that allows you to customize your scans with advanced options, scan IPs and ports with lightning speed, also retrieving hostnames and MAC addresses. Free IP Scanner’s simplicity and speed makes it wanted even by network administrators only proving further that even though it’s free, this amazing utility rivals with many similar commercial products.