Saving data to a file

To save data for offline analysis, use the File Save As option from the menu bar. Selecting it displays the dialog box shown in Figure 16-3.

Figure 16-3. Save As dialog box

Figure 16-3. Save As dialog box

Choosing a filename is straightforward. The real power of Ethereal is that extraneous packets can be eliminated by using the two checkboxes below the file chooser. "Save only packets currently being displayed" saves only the packets that made it through the display filter, greatly reducing the amount of data in the capture file. "Save only marked packets" saves only packets that you have selected. If neither option is checked, Ethereal saves the entire trace. Saving an entire trace may be necessary at times, but it's worth avoiding; an entire trace could include all the packets that have crossed your network over an extended period. Using a display filter and saving only the displayed packets makes the trace far more manageable.

The file type selection allows the file to be saved to a libpcap file format. To imply that there is only one libpcap file format would be wrong, though. Four choices are available, including one that allows you to read capture files collected from tcpdump on Nokia's IPSO-based network appliances.

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