VirtNet is a dummy virtual network interface which can be used for numerous purposes, but it can be especially interesting when used with Windows Packet Filter. An example, dummy network interface for any network application which requires the network card to work, VPN adapter, virtual loopback adapter, virtual interface bridged to the real network, virtual interface for routing some specific connections which is to be captured by packet filtering framework etc…
|Widows Server 2012
|Windows NT 4.0
|Windows Server 2008
|Windows Server 2012 R2
|Windows Server 2008 R2
|Windows Server 2003
|Windows Server 2016
You can use Windows Packet Filter-based Ethernet Bridge application to connect VirtNet network interface to the real physical network. The source code for Ethernet Bridge is available at GitHub, binary can be downloaded from Windows Packet Filter page.
How it works
VirtNet is available in two versions:
- NDIS 3.0 miniport driver (supports Windows 95 and up to Windows 10 1803)
- NDIS 6.0 miniport driver (supports Windows Vista and later)
VirtNet has a configurable MAC address. However, please note that NDIS 6.0 version of the driver have some restrictions for MAC address:
- It should not be multicast address (addr & 0x01 == 0)
- It should not be broadcast address (FF-FF-FF-FF-FF-FF)
- It should be marked as assigned by the local administrator (addr & 0x2 == 1)
Example of valid address is 06-01-02-03-04-05
The VirtNet NDIS 3.0 package consists of:
- netVirtNet.inf – driver INF file
- netVirtNet86.cat – driver CAT file for Windows Vista/2008/7/2008R2/8/2012/8.1/2012R2/10 x86
- netVirtNet64.cat – driver CAT file for Windows Vista/2008/7/2008R2/8/2012/8.1/2012R2/10 x64
- oemsetup.inf – driver INF file for Windows NT 4.0
- VirtNet.sys – Virtual Network Interface driver (32 bit and x64 binaries)
The VirtNet NDIS 6.0 package consists of virtnet.inf, virtnet.cat and virtnet.sys for the x86 and x64 platforms.
How to install
This driver can be installed manually or from command line using DevCon tool from Windows DDK: devcon -r install netVirtNet.inf *NM_VIRTNET. The manual installation “in screenshots” for Windows 2000 is below. It’s similar for all operating systems except NT 4.0, where you should install it like an ordinary network interface.
- Start Add/Remove Hardware Wizard from Control Panel
- Choose Add/Troubleshoot a device
- Choose Add a new device
- Choose to select the hardware from a list
- Select Network Adapter and click Next
- Click Have Disk and browse to the folder where you unzipped VirtNet.zip to
- Select VirtNet Network Adapter
- Click Next
- Click yes when asked if you want to install digitally unsigned driver
How to use
The VirtNet network adapter is visible in the system as an ordinary network interface. You can configure its protocol binding and address information using operating system tools.
Price & licensing
Freeware for private (non-commercial), or educational (including non-profit organization) use.
VirtNet virtual network interface driver is supplied AS-IS, without warranties of any kind.