Nmap probably is the best network port scanner and a must have tool for any system administrator. nmap 4.0 has some new interesting features; however insecure.org still doesn't offer a GUI (Graphical User Interface) for Windows. They have one for Linux which is a bit strange as many Linux sysops prefer the command line anyway. So I searched for a Windows GUI that uses the original nmap scanner. I found three tools: NMapWin, NmapGui and nmapGUI. One not only makes nmap easier to use, but an even more powerful tool: NmapGui.
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Don't mix it up with nmapGUI (different letters are capitalized). The last version of nmapGUI is from January 2002. You can try it, but I did this already for you and I can tell you that it is not worth the time. The window is much too small and one can't resize it. Thus, the output of nmap is even more difficult to read as on the command line.
NMapWin is a bit better. Like with nmapGUI the last version is from 2002 which obviously means that one can't expect a newer one to come in the near future. The advantage over using nmap on the command line is that you don't have to remember all the switches. All you have to know are the fundamental concepts of TCP/IP. If you are a sysop and not a hacker/cracker or a penetration tester, you will use the tool only every now and then. This will save some time since you don't have to consult the manual before using nmap. The output of NMapWin is the same as on the command line though. It is continuous text and therefore hard to read.
That's where NmapGui comes in. It shows the original output of nmap, and also offers a very nice graphical output. Please check the screenshot and you'll know what I mean. It is much easier to get a fast overview of all the relevant information. NmapGui automatically stores all scans and you even can compare them. The comparison is only very basic though since the tool only lists new or missing computers.
One can also search in all or some stored scans. Let's say you need the scan results for a certain IP address. NmapGui will show you all the scans where a computer with this IP address was online. Unfortunately one has to open all stored scans and search there are again for this IP address. It would be much better if one would get all the scan results for the IP address in one window.
Like with the other two tools you don't have to learn the nmap specific syntax. The scan options show all important switches in a graphical user interface. There are also some predefined templates for often used scans. I didn't find a way to create my own templates though.
One argument against using a GUI often is that you can't use all the features of nmap, especially when a new nmap version comes out. The GUI usually won't support all the new features. However, NmapGui allows you to enter the nmap command with all the switches you need. It will also show the original output of nmap. So if the graphical output doesn't contain all the information you need, you will have it there. Unfortunately NmapGui only strores the graphical output.
I tested the version 1. There is much room for improvement, but even this early version makes nmap much easier to use. As a sysop you often will need only some basic information like the open ports on certain computers. With NmapGui you can start using nmap right away without studying any manual. But if you want to use all the features of nmap it is absolutely necessary that you know the details of TCP/IP. If you are a nmap geek already you should also have a look at this nice tool as it helps you to get a better oversight over different scans.
A final tip: Download the original nmap tool and copy all files to the folder of NmapGui. This way you will use the latest version of nmap. NmapGui comes with an older nmap version. The same applies to NMapWin and nmapGUI.