Windows Packet Capture

Npcap and WinPcap are Windows versions of the libpcap library. One of them must be installed in order to capture live network traffic on Windows. Npcap supports Windows 7 through Windows 11. WinPcap is for Windows 95 through Windows 8.

The Wireshark installer from 3.0 onwards includes Npcap, where versions before included WinPcap.
Even with the older Wireshark versions, Npcap might work better for you, especially if you run Windows 10.
Npcap has a Yes/No comparison chart - Npcap or WinPcap?

See CaptureSetup/CapturePrivileges for information about using Npcap and WinPcap with Wireshark.

The libpcap file format description can be found at: Development/LibpcapFileFormat

Npcap Versions

Npcap gets regular bug fixes and upgrades on its own release schedule, which means the version bundled with the Wireshark installer may not be the latest. Please use an updated version when possible.

See the "Add or Remove Programs" list of the "Control Panel" for the installed version.

WinPcap Versions

We strongly recommend that you use Npcap. If you must use WinPcap, use version 4.1.3. Some annoying bugs are fixed in these versions!

See the "Add or Remove Programs" list of the "Control Panel" for the installed version.

Last Stable Release: 4.1.3

The last WinPcap release version was 4.1.3. The 4.1.x versions contain the following improvements:

WinPcap 4.x does not support Windows 3.1, 95, 98, or ME.

Previous Stable Release: 3.1

This version contains substantial bug fixes and extensions above the 3.0 release:

See the change log for WinPcap for a more complete list (although some of those bugs might be bugs in older 3.1 betas rather than in 3.0).


The Wireshark installer will copy the Npcap installer and call it, so you get installation done "all in one place". This is the same Npcap installer that you can get from Npcap's download page.

Windows Versions

Npcap supports Windows 7 SP1 through Windows 11. The list of supported Windows versions for WinPcap is available in WinPcap FAQ #14.

Imported from on 2020-08-11 23:27:29 UTC