How Do I Monitor Network Activity on My Windows Machine?

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.

Read moreHow Do I Monitor Network Activity on My Windows Machine?

How can I tell what is being downloaded to my computer?


I have a Windows 7 computer and use DUMeter to monitor traffic coming in and out of my computer. Every once and awhile, such as while I’m typing this, I can see a large download coming to my computer. I’ve checked my information area, lower right in the taskbar, and I don’t see a Microsoft icon, which usually appears when they’re downloading fixes. Plus, today’s Monday and it’s usually Wednesdays when I actually get them. I also have Norton 360 which never really tells me when its downloading definitions or other program updates.

Sometimes a big download is from someone who has sent me a large video file without asking or by mistake. I get concerned when I see such activity and I want to protect my computer. I’ve asked a number of people and searched your site for how to identify what website is downloading to my computer and I found no answers. I may just be asking the question incorrectly but I suspect you probably understand what I’m looking for.

What web site is downloading to my computer?

Yes, I understand what you’re looking for. Unfortunately, we can’t necessarily tell exactly what is being downloaded; but we can take a pretty good stab at what program on your computer is trying to do that download.

Read moreHow can I tell what is being downloaded to my computer?

Monitoring Your System with Resource Monitor

When diagnosing a system problem or even just monitoring the health of a working system, it’s useful to peek “under the hood” to see what’s going on.

Windows 7 added a handy utility called Resource Monitor that does just that. It provides more information than the existing Task Manager without getting into all of the esoteric and often confusing detail of Process Explorer.

Resource Manager is a useful tool to have in your back pocket.

Read moreMonitoring Your System with Resource Monitor

I Have Constant Disk Activity and I Don’t Know Why. How Can I Tell What Program Is Doing It?

My machine has a constant red LED, constant disk activity, no response from mouse, Task Manager, not able to gain control of any processes or programs. Problem is, I have had Process Explorer (boot) running and it shows +-98% inactive!!! I am unable to see what is causing me the problem (using Admin. Tools Events etc. when I look at various categories).

Obviously, something appears to be running outside of Windows XP Pro SP.3. Unfortunately, I am unable to find and DESTROY it.

One thing I can tell you is, it’s not outside of Windows. Your assumption that CPU usage is telling you something is incorrect.

In the past, I’ve recommended a tool called FileMon to determine what’s been writing to your disk. FileMon has been replaced by a significantly more powerful utility, Process Monitor.

We’ll look at using Process Monitor to see if we can determine just exactly who’s doing what to your machine.

Read moreI Have Constant Disk Activity and I Don’t Know Why. How Can I Tell What Program Is Doing It?