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I have a bunch of cables disconnected from a faulty network switch. What is the fastest way to determine which cable goes to which client PC (windows) / server (windows) / other devices etc..

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it goes without saying to improve cable labelling / diagramming in the future. – Sirex Mar 21 '11 at 11:13
@Sirex yes, am i actually going to do that =( – Jake Mar 21 '11 at 11:16
such is life ;p my own task for today involves being elbow deep in an inherited and totally undocumented cabinet to diagram it. – Sirex Mar 21 '11 at 11:20
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Ping all your devices from your machine. Plug in each cable in turn. See which one starts responding.

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Please tell me that is not the FASTEST way... =( – Jake Mar 21 '11 at 11:15
wouldn't be too bad if you wrote a script to loop through each device... – Beerey Mar 21 '11 at 11:35
ping -b <subnet broadcast address> will work, though you'd need to script something that would only display the first time a given IP responds. – SmallClanger Mar 21 '11 at 12:10
try using something like nmap -sP <subnet address> inside a watch loop. Anything returned is live. – Sirex Mar 21 '11 at 12:39

Get everyone to crawl under their desks and as you plug them in, they can shout out when their light comes on*. (Only useful if you've got an open plan office).

*Alternatively, get everyone to crawl under their desks, then simply leave the office and see how long it takes them to notice :)

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The "fastest" way (for one person) is to use a cable finder. You plug one end into the cable end at the back of the pc, and use the finder wand to locate the other end of it. You'd need the right tools though. (like this:

Without that, JamesRyan's answer is likely easiest but this assumes they aren't using dhcp / have addresses already assigned.

Failing that also, go for smallclanger's answer.

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