Azure Network Watcher is a resource that provides network monitoring and troubleshooting tools, such as verifying IP flow, packet captures, and next hop information. However, if you’re not sure what Network Watcher is, you might see the resource group and decide to remove it. In this post, I’ll cover how to enable it again in case you delete it.

First, when you create or modify virtual networks in Azure, the Network Watcher resource is automatically created. The resource is created into a resource group named NetworkWatcherRG. However, if you look inside the resource group, it will appear to be empty:

However, the trick here is to check the box to Show hidden types, and this will reveal a Network Watcher resource for a particular Azure region:

Network Watcher creates resources for each Azure region a virtual network is deployed to. However, if you weren’t aware of this check box, you might wonder where this empty resource group came from and just delete it. Now you’re Network Watcher resource is gone and you can’t use troubleshooting tools or gather traffic data from network security groups.

If you search for “Network Watcher” in “All Services” and go to the resource, the Overview page will list the subscriptions available in the Azure tenant along with the number of regions where Network Watcher is deployed.

Expanding out the regions, select the three dots (…) next to the Azure region where you need Network Watcher resources and choose Enable.

This will verify the NetworkWatcherRG exists and create it if doesn’t, then enable a resource for that specific region. You can also select other regions and enable them ahead of any network deployment. Here is the NetworkWatcherRG resource re-created with our Azure region-specific instances:

Network Watcher is a free resource, so no need to worry about any cost involved with it. You can disable automatic enablement of the resource but this is not recommended and requires contacting support to reverse the change.

Questions or comments? If so, drop me a note below or find me on Twitter or LinkedIn to discuss further.


Microsoft Docs: Network Watcher automatic enablement

Microsoft Docs: Create an Azure Network Watcher instance