What is Npcap OEM? Here’s what you should know about it

by Matthew Adams
Matthew Adams
Matthew Adams
Windows & Software Expert
Matthew is a freelancer who has produced a variety of articles on various topics related to technology. His main focus is the Windows OS and all the things... read more
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  • Did you notice Npcap OEM on your PC and wonder if it's a virus? Well, in this guide, we’re going to answer that.
  • Npcap OEM is a third-party driver that usually works with network monitoring software.
  • If you’re concerned about malware, you should know that this driver can’t harm your PC.
  • Assuming that you’re using network monitoring tools, then Npcap is needed for the software to work properly.

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Some users have posted on Microsoft’s support forum about Npcap OEM. They have noticed Npcap listed in Apps & features and wonder what exactly is it.

That’s not surprising as unrecognized apps/programs can sometimes be viruses, so in this guide, we’re going to take a closer look at Npcap OEM and see what it actually is.

What exactly is Npcap OEM?

Npcap OEM is a third-party packet-sniffing driver (or library) for Windows platforms. This driver enables software to find the network adapter on your PC.

That library is needed for data capturing (intercepting data packets) on networks for packet analysis. Npcap OEM is available for download at the NMAP.org website.

There is a free/demo version of the Npcap library along with Npcap OEM that comes with commercial support, regular updates, and redistribution rights. The Npcap OEM license packages are primarily for commercial organizations.

Get Npcap

Is Npcap a virus?

Npcap is not a virus at all but can still get installed on PCs without users knowing about it. That’s because the Npcap library gets installed with software that needs it.

Therefore, some users might not recognize Npcap when they see it listed in apps.

What software needs Npcap?

Network protocol (or packet) analyzers are the software requiring the Npcap packet-sniffing library. Those applications enable users to monitor network data because they come with Npcap.

With a proper network analyzer tool, users can capture traffic and analyze it with reports and charts.

Wireshark is an example of one network protocol analyzer utility. That open-source software comes with the latest Npcap library version, which gets installed with it.

Wireshark needs Npcap to capture live traffic on a network. Our packet sniffer software guide provides details for the best network analyzer tools, so be sure to check it.

Should I uninstall Npcap?

If you need to utilize network protocol analyzer software on Windows 10, you should not uninstall Npcap. However, users who don’t need to capture and analyze data packets don’t need Npcap.

So, go ahead and uninstall Npcap if you don’t need any network protocol analyzer software.

How do I uninstall Npcap?

  1. You can uninstall the Npcap library via Programs and Features in the Control Panel. Press the Windows key + R hotkey.
  2. Enter this command in Run and select OK: appwiz.cpl
  3. Then select Npcap within Programs and Features, and click Uninstall to remove the packet-sniffing library.
  4. You’ll also need to uninstall Npcap Loopback Adapter via Device Manager. Press the Windows + X keyboard shortcut and select Device Manager.
    device manager
  5. Then right-click Npcap Loopback Adapter within the Network adapters category and select Uninstall device.

So, don’t be alarmed if you notice Npcap is on your desktop or laptop. Most users probably won’t have much need for a data packet-sniffing library, and can easily uninstall Npcap.

However, make sure not to remove it if you still need any network analyzer tools installed on your computer.

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