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Monitor all and any internet traffic from my home PC - what should I use?

On my Windows XP computer, I sometimes see the task bar network icon light up indicating that a bunch of information is coming in or out of my computer. Just now it happened, and was apparently a Firefox update (at least, Firefox wanted to update itself soon after the activity died down).

How can I conveniently tell right away what all the network activity is? I'm aware of Wireshark, but it's a little more low-level than I'm interested in for this purpose. (Or maybe I just don't know how to use wireshark well enough.) I'm hoping there's some tool that will figure out which address the bulk of the packets are coming from, and do a reverse DNS lookup to tell (if possible) what the source is.

  • This question is actually a duplicate of this one: superuser.com/questions/22569/…. However, this other question was closed too fast as having duplicate, but it was wrong, it was indeed the only question about a tool to show which programs are using the connection. Proposition, or this one stays open and becomes the reference, or this one is closed as duplicate and the other one reopened.
    – Gnoupi
    Nov 9, 2009 at 20:37

7 Answers 7


TCPView from SysInternals (now Microsoft) is pretty simple, and free.


Shows you the processes and the connections they are making (and yes, doing reverse DNS).

It's basically a graphical live version of netstat (which is another option, and built into Windows. Just type 'netstat' in a command prompt).


I have used a lot of network monitor indeed, for free under windows, your options are wireshark, Netmon. Microsoft network monitor is easy to use. You can monitor the traffic in real time and resolve the DNS.

For commercial, I prefer Capsa, because sniffer and omnipeek is too expensive for a small company.


Microsoft Network Monitor 3.3


I would try a third party product such as Solarwinds netflow analyzer

Microsoft's Network Monitor is ok, but hard to get started with.


I love netwatcher, its simple yet powerful!



NetLimiter will tell you the bandwidth each application is using, and if you expand the process it will show you what IP address(es) the data is coming from. It won't do a reverse DNS lookup, but you are provided with the IP which you can use for that information. The free version (NetLimiter Monitor) will do all of this:

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Perfgraph – a hardware and bandwidth monitoring tool for Windows. Unlike other monitoring applications, Perfgraph can embed graphs displaying the status of various hardware components right on the Windows taskbar.

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Perfgraph is freeware.

  • i really like this
    – Ian
    Mar 20, 2010 at 4:25