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Loopback Mayhem

This started not long ago, I got into a little argument with a co-worker at work, who was trying to tell me that is the SAME as Now in school, we were taught that is the internal loopback address and it basically tests your TCP/IP stack, but doesn't really do much more than that. When troubleshooting network problems, it's supposed to be the first thing you test, but it's hardly done because it's almost pointless to test for it. Anyway, this guy at work was saying that is exactly the same as I did a search for "" on Google and got 1 result, while a search for "" on Google gets about 1.2 million results. I told him they are not the same, and tried proving it to him, but we cannot ping out at work, so I decided to go home and try it first thing. I've come up with some VERY interesting results, things most people didn't know, mostly because most people never tried. Well, I did and here's what happened...

Ping tests to in different OS's
First thing first, ping in Windows XP. Get these results...

Windows XP results

At first my jaw dropped because I thought was pingable, but of course it's not. Then I realized that Windows bypasses what you type and automatically puts in the loopback address of instead. But at the summary of the test, it puts the original IP address back in there. So it looks like it's pinging, but in fact it's pinging Windows will do this to every IP in the 127.x.x.x address range except for the network address, and the broadcast address,, those will fail.

I thought it was a closed case, but with this weird behavior of Windows, I decided to look further, and I did the same test with other operating systems. Here's the results...

So first I tested with Red Hat Linux version 9...

Red Hat Linux results

WTF?!?! How could that be? And why in Linux? Wah??? Still perplexed, I tried other operating systems, starting with Windows 98...

Windows 98 results

WTF?!?! Windows 98 is screwy anyways, but why did this ALSO go through? Hmmm...maybe it's something with VirtualPC, that's what I was running for both Red Hat and Windows 98, so maybe that's it. So next I tried my favorite server operating system, Windows Server 2003...

Windows Server 2003 results

OK, that's more like it! Windows Server 2003 is doing the same trick as Windows XP did, that I can understand. Now here is the results of Windows Longhorn build 5048...

Windows Longhorn build 5048 results

Doesn't say much, but it says that it won't work. How about I try this in the new Windows Vista beta 1 copy?...

Windows Vista beta 1 results

Um, OK, doesn't tell much, but it DOES tell that it's not going to work. Looking good so far. My friend Jessie tries the same thing with an OS I don't currently have installed, BSD...

BSD results

Failed again. I like those results, that's what it's supposed to do! Well, six tests done and it was successful on only 2 tests, Windows 98 and Red Hat, but I'm thinking it's maybe a VirtualPC thing, I don't have those installed alone on a PC at the moment.

This argument with the co-worker can finally end. We are both right, or it's a draw. I was right that it cannot ping, but he was right that it's a successful command, (pings and succeeds). So I guess we'll leave it at that. If I get other operating systems installed, I'll try them and show the screenies here.


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Loopback or ???