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1.7. Reporting problems and getting help

If you have problems, or need help with Wireshark, there are several places that may be of interest to you (well, beside this guide of course).

1.7.1. Website

You will find lot's of useful information on the Wireshark homepage at

1.7.2. Wiki

The Wireshark Wiki at provides a wide range of information related to Wireshark and packet capturing in general. You will find a lot of information not part of this developer's guide. For example, there is an explanation how to capture on a switched network, an ongoing effort to build a protocol reference and a lot more.

And best of all, if you would like to contribute your knowledge on a specific topic (maybe a network protocol you know well), you can edit the wiki pages by simply using your webbrowser.

1.7.3. FAQ

The "Frequently Asked Questions" will list often asked questions and the corresponding answers.

[Note] Read the FAQ!

Before sending any mail to the mailing lists below, be sure to read the FAQ, as it will often answer the question(s) you might have. This will save yourself and others a lot of time (keep in mind that a lot of people are subscribed to the mailing lists).

You will find the FAQ inside Wireshark by clicking the menu item Help/Contents and selecting the FAQ page in the upcoming dialog.

An online version is available at the Wireshark website: You might prefer this online version, as it's typically more up to date and the HTML format is easier to use.

1.7.4. Other sources

If you don't find the information you need inside this book, there are various other sources of information:

  • the file doc/README.developer and all the other files in the source code - these are various documentation files on different topics

  • the Wireshark source code

  • tool documentation of the various tools used (e.g. manpages of sed, gcc, ...)

  • the different mailing lists: see Section 1.7.5, “Mailing Lists”

  • ...

1.7.5. Mailing Lists

There are several mailing lists available on specific Wireshark topics:


This mailing list will inform you about new program releases, which usually appear about every 4-8 weeks.


This list is for users of Wireshark. People post questions about building and using Wireshark, others (hopefully) provide answers.


This list is for Wireshark developers. People post questions about the development of Wireshark, others (hopefully) provide answers. If you want to start developing a protocol dissector, join this list.


This list is for Wireshark developers. Every time a change to the bug database occurs, a mail to this mailing list is generated. If you want to be notified about all the changes to the bug database, join this list. Details about the bug database can be found in Section 1.7.6, “Bug database (Bugzilla)”.


This list is for Wireshark developers. Every time a change to the SVN repository is checked in, a mail to this mailing list is generated. If you want to be notified about all the changes to the SVN repository, join this list. Details about the SVN repository can be found in Section 3.2, “The Wireshark Subversion repository”.

You can subscribe to each of these lists from the Wireshark web site: Simply select the mailing lists link on the left hand side of the site. The lists are archived at the Wireshark web site as well.

[Tip] Tip!

You can search in the list archives to see if someone previously asked the same question and maybe already got an answer. That way you don't have to wait until someone answers your question.

1.7.6. Bug database (Bugzilla)

The Wireshark community collects bug reports in a Bugzilla database at This database is filled with manually filed bug reports, usually after some discussion on wireshark-dev, and bug reports from the QA build tools.

1.7.7. Reporting Problems

[Note] Note!

Before reporting any problems, please make sure you have installed the latest version of Wireshark.

If you report problems, provide as much information as possible. In general, just think about what you would need to find that problem, if someone else sends you such a problem report. Also keep in mind that people compile/run Wireshark on a lot of different platforms.

When reporting problems with Wireshark, it is helpful if you supply the following information:

  1. The version number of Wireshark and the dependent libraries linked with it, e.g. GTK+, etc. You can obtain this with the command wireshark -v .

  2. Information about the platform you run Wireshark on.

  3. A detailed description of your problem.

  4. If you get an error/warning message, copy the text of that message (and also a few lines before and after it, if there are some), so others may find the build step where things go wrong. Please don't give something like: "I get a warning when compiling x" as this won't give any direction to look at.

[Note] Don't send large files!

Do not send large files (>100KB) to the mailing lists, just place a note that further data is available on request. Large files will only annoy a lot of people on the list who are not interested in your specific problem. If required, you will be asked for further data by the persons who really can help you.

[Note] Don't send confidential information!

If you send captured data to the mailing lists, or add it to your bug report, be sure it doesn't contain any sensitive or confidential information, such as passwords.

1.7.8. Reporting Crashes on UNIX/Linux platforms

When reporting crashes with Wireshark, it is helpful if you supply the traceback information (besides the information mentioned in Section 1.7.7, “Reporting Problems”).

You can obtain this traceback information with the following commands:

$ gdb `whereis wireshark | cut -f2 -d: | cut -d' ' -f2` core >& bt.txt


[Note] Note

Type the characters in the first line verbatim! Those are back-tics there!

[Note] Note

backtrace is a gdb command. You should enter it verbatim after the first line shown above, but it will not be echoed. The ^D (Control-D, that is, press the Control key and the D key together) will cause gdb to exit. This will leave you with a file called bt.txt in the current directory. Include the file with your bug report.

[Note] Note

If you do not have gdb available, you will have to check out your operating system's debugger.

You should mail the traceback to the wireshark-dev[AT] mailing list, or append it to your bug report.

1.7.9. Reporting Crashes on Windows platforms

The Windows distributions don't contain the symbol files (.pdb), because they are very large. For this reason it's not possible to create a meaningful backtrace file from it. You should report your crash just like other problems, using the mechanism from Section 1.7.7, “Reporting Problems”.

  Published under the terms fo the GNU General Public License Design by Interspire