Windows Network Settings Manager NetSetMan 5.0 released with improved profile management
Our first review of the Network Settings Manager NetSetMan dates back to 2008. It is a popular application that helps Windows users and administrators when it comes to network management. It is extremely useful on devices that connect to different networks throughout the day, e.g. a laptop that is used at home, at work, and during travels, thanks to its support for network profiles.
Administrators may configure profiles with specific network information, e.g. IP addresses and gateways, DNS servers, adapters that should be used, route tables, default printers, workgroups, hosts entries, and a lot more.
Our last review of NetSetMan dates back to 2015 when NetSetMan 4.0 was released.
The program is free for non-commercial use. The free version supports most features of the professional version but is limited to eight network profiles. The only features that are not supported by the free version or proxy and network domain support.
Today's release of NetSetMan 5.0 is another milestone release. The new version is no longer compatible with Microsoft's unsupported Windows XP and Windows Vista systems. Vista users should keep on using version 4.x of the program as it remains compatible.
The program can be installed but also extracted during setup to run as a portable application.
One of the main changes of NetSetMan 5.0 is the switch from using .ini files for storing profiles to .xml files. The change eliminates the six-profiles per group limitation of previous versions and introduces support for nested profile groups. Admins who use scripts may need to modify these to take the new file type into account.
Profiles are displayed in a tree structure in the new version; this improves manageability of profiles as it is now possible to use drag & drop, copy and paste, or multi-selections.
The user interface has received a slight modernization. There is a new vertical menu that provides direct access to different parts of the network program (network profiles, WiFi management, Network tools, auto-switch, and settings), and a resizable window.
Other user interface related changes include the option to configure auto-switch in each profile directly, support for formatted text, images and links in dialogs, that the activation dialog displays all settings that are applied, and that users find IPv6 and WINS options under Advanced TCP/IP in the profiles.
NetSetMan 5.0 features new high resolution icon images and high-DPI compatibility and support for multi-monitor setups. You may also notice the new tray icon widget when you hover over the icon in the system tray.
The developer improved the program's WiFi management capabilities significantly; it has been recreated from scratch and all of its limitations or issues are a thing of the past. New information is available for Wi-Fi networks including MAC addresses, channels, speeds, protocols and more.
What else is new? NetSetMan 5.0 supports network bridges, automatic network adapter management that updates the list of available NICs on start, better command line support, and support for Microsoft's Windows 10 version 20H2 operating system.
NetSetMan is a useful network management program for Windows, especially for use on laptops that are used to connect to different network locations regularly. Version 5.0 improves the program in many key areas and the only downside, besides dropped support for the unsupported operating systems Vista and XP, is that admins may need to adjust their scripts because of the new xml configuration format that is used.
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