Windows services run within host processes. Observing the traffic using Windows 8's Resource Monitor, I see traffic generated by svchost.exe (netsvcs). It appears to be directed towards an IP address controlled by a major Croatian ISP.

The address is

Traffic generated by svchost.exe (NetworkService) is directed toward a (very similar) Sniffing with Wireshark reveals that HTTP requests toward include /msdownload/... in the URL.

GET /msdownload/update/v3/static/trustedr/en/authrootstl.cab?edc2fcdacea5cc1a HTTP/1.1
Connection: Keep-Alive
Accept: */*
User-Agent: Microsoft-CryptoAPI/6.3
Host: ctldl.windowsupdate.com

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Cache-Control: max-age=604800
Content-Type: application/octet-stream
Last-Modified: Fri, 04 Oct 2013 00:14:07 GMT
Accept-Ranges: bytes
ETag: "80f18a496c0ce1:0"
Server: Microsoft-IIS/7.5
X-Powered-By: ASP.NET
Content-Length: 54009
Date: Tue, 22 Oct 2013 12:44:14 GMT
Connection: keep-alive

This leads me to conclude these are both members of a Microsoft CDN in Croatia.

I have attempted to disable Windows Update service, but the download from .215 continued. This is troublesome; during summer, I had over 200mb downloaded over 3G within 10 minutes before I noticed what was happening. This was only minutes after I paid for 1gb of traffic to my provider. I really don't like Microsoft wasting my money after being explicitly told NOT to download any updates in the background.

Today I noticed this again. While I am not connecting via cellphone at this point, I'd love to know the solution to the issue once and for all.

Since I don't feel like disabling services at random hoping I'll hit the one that generates traffic, I'd highly prefer identifying which service is creating traffic.

How do I identify which background service initiated the download? How do I identify which background services are generating network traffic?

2 Answers 2


I use TCPView from Sysinternals (MS Technet) for viewing realtime connection information in windows. it includes the process that initiates the flow.


if the traffic is coming from a SvcHost process, note the PID of the process, and run

tasklist /SVC > c:\tasks.txt

in a command prompt. open the file and make note of the servies that share that PID. one of them is the culprit. you should be able to disable many of them in services.msc.

if the traffic comes from PID 4 (the system process), you probably won't be able to dig deeper easily, but you can probably identify the thread causing the traffic with Process Explorer also from SysInternals, and from there the dlls that make up its stack. theres very little you can do based on this information however.

good luck.

  • 1
    Thanks for TCPView -- I ran into it before posting the question. Luckily, even Resource Monitor was able to display the process information related to network traffic, but TCPView is made of pure awesome to someone used to UNIX tools. The tasklist /svc suggestion, however, is definitely what I was most interested to know, so I'm more than happily accepting the answer. Oct 24, 2013 at 20:13

Because of Host: ctldl.windowsupdate.com I would say this is the Windows Update service which scans your PC for updates.

  • Observe the GET request itself. Microsoft appears to use the same virtual host name to distribute certificate revocation lists. Also, stopping the Windows Update service did nothing to stop this particular request to .216 host, nor the actual large download from .215. Oct 24, 2013 at 20:12

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