How to Use the Tracert Command in Windows

Examples, options, switches, and more

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The tracert command is a Command Prompt command that's used to show several details about the path that a packet takes from the computer or device you're on to whatever destination you specify.

You might also sometimes see the tracert command referred to as the trace route command or traceroute command.

Tracert, as it's explained below, applies to Windows only, but the traceroute command is available for Linux, too.

Tracert Command Availability

The tracert command is available from within the Command Prompt in all Windows operating systems including Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, and older versions of Windows as well.

The availability of certain tracert command switches and other tracert command syntax may differ from operating system to operating system.

Tracert Command Syntax

If you know how to read command syntax, the syntax for tracert is pretty straight-forward:

tracert [-d] [-h MaxHops] [-w TimeOut] [-4] [-6] target [/?]

Screenshot of the tracert command in Windows 10
Tracert Command (Windows 10).
Tracert Command Options
Item Description
-d This option prevents tracert from resolving IP addresses to hostnames, often resulting in much faster results.
-h MaxHops This tracert option specifies the maximum number of hops in the search for the target. If you do not specify MaxHops, and a target has not been found by 30 hops, tracert will stop looking.
-w TimeOut You can specify the time, in milliseconds, to allow each reply before timeout using this tracert option.
-4 This option forces tracert to use IPv4 only.
-6 This option forces tracert to use IPv6 only.
target This is the destination, either an IP address or hostname.
/? Use the help switch with the tracert command to show detailed help about the command's several options.

Other less commonly used options for the tracert command also exist, including [-j HostList], [-R], and [-S SourceAddress]. Use the help switch with the tracert command for more information on these options.

Save the lengthy results of a tracert command by redirecting the command output to a file with a redirection operator.

Tracert Command Examples


In the above example, the tracert command is used to show the path from the networked computer on which the tracert command is being executed by a network device, in this case, a router on a local network, that's assigned the IP address.

The result displayed on the screen will look something like this:

Tracing route to over a maximum of 30 hops
1 <1 ms <1 ms <1 ms
2 <1 ms <1 ms <1 ms
Trace complete.

In this example, you can see that tracert found a network device using the IP address of, let's say a network switch, followed by the destination,, the router.


With the tracert command shown above, we're asking tracert to show us the path from the local computer all the way to the network device with the hostname

Tracing route to []
over a maximum of 30 hops:
1 <1 ms <1 ms <1 ms
2 35 ms 19 ms 29 ms
3 11 ms 27 ms 9 ms []
13 81 ms 76 ms 75 ms
14 84 ms 91 ms 87 ms
15 76 ms 112 ms 76 ms []
Trace complete.

In this example, we can see that tracert identified fifteen network devices including our router at and all the way through to the target of, which we now know uses the public IP address of, one of Google's many IP addresses.

Hops 4 through 12 were excluded above just to keep the example simple. If you were executing a real tracert, those results would all show up on screen.

tracert -d

With this tracert command example, we're again requesting the path to a website, this time, but now we're preventing tracert from resolving hostnames by using the -d option.

Tracing route to []
over a maximum of 30 hops:
1 <1 ms <1 ms <1 ms
2 29 ms 23 ms 20 ms
3 9 ms 16 ms 14 ms
13 98 ms 77 ms 79 ms
14 80 ms 88 ms 89 ms
15 77 ms 79 ms 78 ms
Trace complete.

We can see that tracert again identified fifteen network devices including our router at and all the way through to the target of, which we can assume uses the public IP address of

As you can see, tracert didn't resolve any hostnames this time, which significantly sped up the process.

tracert -h 3 > z:\tracertresults.txt

In this last example of the tracert command in Windows, we're using -h to limit the hop count to 3, but instead of displaying the results in Command Prompt, we'll use the redirection operator to send it all to a TXT file located on Z:, an external hard drive.

Here are some example results of this last command:

Tracing route to []
over a maximum of 3 hops:
1  <1 ms  <1 ms  <1 ms []
2   1 ms   1 ms  <1 ms
3  17 ms  16 ms  17 ms []
Trace complete.

Tracert Related Commands

The tracert command is often used with other networking related Command Prompt commands like ping, ipconfig, netstat, nslookup, and others.

The pathping command is similar to tracert but also shows network latency and loss information.

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