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I run a server on my laptop (with Windows 7) to share some data with remote users. I do not want to shut down the laptop while others are downloading – therefore, I constantly need to monitor my server's activity.

It is possible to use Windows' resource monitor or advanced network-monitoring packages (like wireshark), but they do not offer on-screen indicators. In this case, each time you needed to check, you'd have to open the program, find the running process and check if it has network activity.

I'm looking for something that's always visible, like a tray indicator or a widget.

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You can achieve this with "Resource Monitor" that comes with Windows Vista/7/8.
Go to the start menu and type "Resource Monitor" and it should show up. Open it and click the "Network" tab.
You can check the box of a particular process to monitor it individually.

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Yes, but I do not want this bulky window always open. I need something convenient to keep always-on: a widget or system-tray notification. –  Justinas Dūdėnas Dec 30 '12 at 18:50
    
@JustinasDūdėnas - Product suggestions are not on topic for Stack Exchange websites. I can't believe there isn't a lightweight program that doesn't offer what you want. More information about the server itself would be helpful. This is almost more of a Server Fault question due to the edit. –  Ramhound Jan 3 '13 at 15:28
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