Running Nmap on Windows is not as difficult or problematic as it was in the past. Nmap is supported on Windows 7 and higher with performance close to if not quite as good as Linux based operating systems. The majority of users still do use *nix based systems however a good number of people use it on Windows.
By installing Nmap on your Windows based systems you have quick access to the worlds best port scanner for quick testing and troubleshooting. In addition you have
ncat available for everything from easy network services testing to a HTTP proxy in an executable. I am a big fan of
ncat and encourage any admin or techie to explore the options.
Zenmap on Windows
Zenmap is an excellent GUI front-end to the Nmap core scanning engine. It has some pretty nifty features that are unable to be done with the command line version, in particular the network mapping capability. This rivals commercial network mapping tools that perform a similar function and is a nice feature.
Zenmap is available on Windows and Linux distributions, it can be a great introduction for those less familiar with the command line.
Installing Nmap for Windows
To install the Windows version of Nmap simply download the executable installer and click through the wizard. It is your standard Next | Next | Next | finish... all done. To make things a bit more convenient I recommend adding the install location to your Windows path. By adding path to Nmap to your system path you are able to run
ncat from any command window.
If you would like to install from the zip file, there are a few additional configuration items you will have to be aware of and apply. These are all documented on the nmap installation page for Windows.
It will run on all the more modern versions of Windows including Windows 7, 2008, Vista and Windows 10. If you are running something older such as 2K or earlier you will probably run into problems, but if you are still on those platforms you already have problems. 🙂
Having access to ncat when in a Windows system is very convenient and lots of fun. In fact I probably use
ncat from the Windows Nmap install more than I use Nmap for actual port scanning.