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I like to get hotspot internet off my phone, but I have a data cap.

How do I prevent unnecessary services on my computer from using up data? E.g. suppose I only want to use my internet browser and not have programs be downloading updates in the background.

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Could you help us a little and tell us what OS you're using? Both on your phone, and your computer? –  slhck Aug 7 '12 at 18:23
    
Android with Windows 7. Thanks –  user19192 Aug 7 '12 at 23:51
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3 Answers

You can use firewall to prevent data usage of other software. Zone alarm is one of the best firewall. You can also use antivirus with firewall. avg professional edition is a option for you

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Unfortunately, I don't think a good solution to your problem exists. A lot of programs for PCs simply assume that Internet access is free and that they are free to transfer information, including downloading updates, whenever they please. Some applications don't even provide any way to disable this behavior.

These requests look just like every other request. There's nothing special that would allow your phone to distinguish them. You might be able to run some kind of super-aggressive firewall on your your PC that only allows specifically-approved application to have Internet access when it's put into a "lock down" mode. But I think you'll be satisfied with that solution.

What I do, and I think about the only thing you can do, is only enable the Internet connection when you actually need it.

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That makes no sense. Internet access by "hotspot" is a connection using an 802.11 (a/b/g/n) "wifi" connection. This is not to be confused with cell phone data which uses a 3G/4G etc. connection. True "wifi" is basically wireless Ethernet, although a lot of people do confuse the two. And when you connect to an open public "hotspot" like at a Starbucks or McDonalds then you should have no data caps or any other restrictions to worry about - "they" are paying for it! In fact, public hotspots are great for obtaining updates and any other downloads that don't contain sensitive information. However, public hotspots like that are almost always a bad idea if you need to do anything sensitive like online banking. (It's like trying to file your taxes by addressing it, putting a stamp on the envelope and then throwing it out in the street for anyone to pick up and hopefully deliver to the nearest mail box.)

Now, that's as far as your cell phone is concerned. But then you ask about your computer?! I can only guess that you are "tethering" your computer to your cell phone or are using a portable router or something. Otherwise, that makes no sense either. In fact, you don't even mention what version of Windows your computer is using - or if it's even Windows! Remember, you started asking about cell phones which typically use either Android or iOS. So I really don't know how to advise other than to maybe research your topics a little and then repost your question. If you need help with a concept or terminology then I'm sure people here can help with that too.

Sorry if that's being too negative. Nevertheless, I hope this clears up what hotspots are. I also hope I don't have to go into the absolute idiocy of denying updates which are absolutely necessary in order to stay safe/secure. True, you probably don't need the latest updates to something like Rand McNally's Street Finder but to not stay current with the latest virus updates is absolutely burying your head in the sand. (It's like inflating only 3 of the 4 tires on your car and then driving at a high rate of speed).

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"Tethering" is an Americanism and I've never heard anyone outside of America call using your cellular data via Wifi "tethering". The RoW (Rest of World) knows that an Android or iOS device that is sharing its data connection via Wifi is a router of some description and that places that share their internet with the public are called "hotspots". Hence it is not a big leap to find applications that call themselves Wifi Hotspots on Android. I didn't -1 you BTW, I just wanted to point that out. –  Mokubai Aug 7 '12 at 17:49
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Reading this again, you're really not answering the question. It's clearly evident that the OP is using their phone as a WiFi hotspot for their computer, thus sharing their 3G/4G data connection to the machine. –  slhck Aug 7 '12 at 18:22
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