Graphical Network Simulator: How to install GNS3 on a Windows device

GNS3 is a Graphical Network Simulator that allows emulation of complex networks. This program is similar to VMWare or Virtual PC that are used to emulate various operating systems in a virtual environment. These programs allow you to run operating systems in a virtual environment on your computer. GNS3 allows the same type of emulation using Cisco Internetwork Operating Systems (Cisco IOS). See this guide for how to install GNS3 on macOS.

Here are some other articles I have written on Graphical Network Simulator (GNS3); how to connect GNS3 to the internet on Windows, how to make a router function as a switch in GNS3, and Error: Failed to open a session for the virtual machine GNS3 VM.

Here are some features  of GNS3. In order to efficiently utilise the functionalities in GNS3, the following program emulates the operating systems as they work in real networks.
- Dynamics: This is the program responsible for the emulations of Cisco IOS.
- Dynagen: Found at the button pane, i.e. below the work area in GNS3 Console. It runs on top of Dynamics to provide its users with a friendly text-based interface.
- Qemu: Runs open-source machine emulation such as Cisco ASA, PIX firewall, etc. and
- VirtualBox: It’s able to run desktop and server operating systems.

Here are some minimum reqirementsthat need to be met before proceeding to install GNS3.

OSWindows 10
Processor2 or more Logical cores
VirtualizationVirtualization extensions required. You may need to enable in BIOS. See this link for more information
Memory4 GB RAM and recommended RAm should be 16 GB RAM
StorageMinimum storage of 1 GB available space and at least 80 GB available space is recommended

To install GNS 3 on Windows, navigate to the following link and download GNS3. This will download the setup file to your device

Note: You will need to sign-in to GNS3 to be able to download the program. If you have not already registered on the GNS3 site, create an account and then clicCreate Account & Continue.

Double click on the setup file that was just download. It will launch the GNS3 setup as shown below

On the license agreement window, click on Agree

Select the Start Menu folder for the GNS3 shortcut. The default is the GNS3 folder.
– Click on Next as shown below to continue the installation.

Select GNS3 components to install. You can expand the Tools menu as shown below to select the tools you will be needing.

Choose your desired Destination Folder. For me, I am fine installing GNS3 to the default folder as shown below

GNS3 will start a silent installation of all the selected components such as of Wireshark etc.
– Note: Wait for the process to complete as this can take some time.

When the process completes, click on Next as shown below

This will prompt a new window asking you to install SolarWind. I do not need this, so I will click on “No” and select “Next” to continue.

This will prompt the next figure below, alerting you that you have completed the installation of GNS3. A browser window will open showing additional help and options.
– Leave the Start GNS3 checkbox enabled if you want and
– Click Finish to complete the GNS3 installation.

Note: If you intend on using the GNS3-VM to run your devices, the please leave this window open and minimised in your taskbar, proceed with importing the GNS3-VM first (please click here to see those steps), and then come back to complete this step once the GNS3-VM has been imported.

This will open the GNS3 application and you can perform the following walk through as shown below. I prefer t run GNS3 on my local device, so the option below is fine.

Click on Next t configure the GNS3 local server settings

As you can see below, the connection to the GNS3 local server is successful.

Now click on finish to complete the process.

Now you can start using GNS3 as you wish. I will be discussing how to add Cisco IOS images to GNS3 in my next posts.

I hope you found this blog post helpful. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comment session. I welcome you to follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

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