How Do I Monitor Network Activity on My Windows Machine?

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When my laptop is turned on, it starts downloading from the Internet – BUT – nothing is supposed to be downloading! How do I figure out what’s happening?

My normal response for this type of problem is to turn to Process Monitor, a free SysInternals utility from Microsoft. The problem is that it’s a pretty geeky tool, and requires a little patience and understanding to get useful results.

Of late, I’ve found myself firing up a completely different utility included in Windows 7 and 8 to monitor network activity. It’s a utility that quickly displays a lot of information about what’s going on. It actually can monitor several areas of your computer’s activity, but I’ll focus here on networking.

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Does downloading use the same amount of bandwidth as just watching a Youtube video?

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Hi, Leo. So I need to understand something. We’ve done the “illegal” thing as we homeschool our children and I downloaded a tool to be able to download Youtube clips so that we can replay them for our kids during the times that we school them. There actually are some good things out on Youtube. My question relates to this. If I download and save a file of say, six minutes, it’s sometimes 130 MG of data. If I watch the file normally through YouTube, does it also eat up a 130 MB of data? So what’s cheaper? Viewing it normally or downloading it to have it to view plenty of times again?

For many other services including the videos that I host myself, the answer is pretty simple. However, Youtube and other services get very sophisticated, and that makes this actually a little bit hard to explain.

Read moreDoes downloading use the same amount of bandwidth as just watching a Youtube video?

What’s the difference between streaming and downloading a video, and how does it impact the limits my ISP imposes?

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If I put a YouTube video in my Favorites folder on the site, does each viewing of the video from the Favorites site count towards my download usage allowance with my ISP? Presumably the video is streamed each time I view it, but does this actually count as downloading? If it does, what is the difference between streaming and downloading in this case?

I’m honestly not sure exactly which “My Favorites” you’re referring to, since there could be several. I’ll assume you mean the feature of the YouTube website itself.

YouTube actually works using “download”, not “streaming” – which is of course confusing. It gets worse, since whether or not it gets downloaded each time you view it depends on how long ago you last viewed it, and how busy you’ve been since.

Read moreWhat’s the difference between streaming and downloading a video, and how does it impact the limits my ISP imposes?