Solved: Something is downloading, eating up my data allotment, and I don't know what

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timcd100

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edit: I guess this should be in the software forum, not this one but too late.

I want to know what a good, easy method is if I just want to finding out what is downloading, find out what is causing a huge spike in bandwidth. Like if I just want to find out what program is updating or what tab I should quickly close.

I access the internet with a mobile hotspot and have 5 GB a month. I installed BitMeter so I can tell if suddenly a huge download has resumed, telling me I need to shut off my internet and cancel the download, and resume at a public free wifi spot.

So I googled phrases like 'traffic monitor.' And I'm trying to see if programs like Wireshark and Angry IP Scanner are what I need. Is there anything simpler than these programs? I don't have the time to learn how to use these programs and I don't know if they are even the right solution for my problem. I don't even know what "a network protocol analyzer" is, which is what Wireshark is described as. I read that it takes a long time to learn how to use Wireshark.

Thanks for any help.
 

TonyB25

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First make sure you only have the one computer connected and no one else is using it.

What do you do on the web? You don't have to tell us, but you have to take a good inventory of what you're doing. 5GB is a pretty good amount assuming you don't stream any or very, very little video and audio. Think about everything you do on the internet. The web pages you browse, the applications you use.

Some people point to programs updating like Windows, anti-virus, and things like Flash, but those are pretty small and infrequent.
 

timcd100

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Just an hour ago 100 MB of data was downloaded and then 25 MB of data. I closed my web browser and it didn't stop the downloading. In the notification area, the area next to the time and date are the following icons. Avast, BitMeter, McAfee (haven't uninstalled it yet), solve PC issues, KeePass, bluetooth, and f.lux. No other programs are open which could cause the downloading.

This has been happening off and on for a long time and on different lap tops, it's annoying and makes me stop what I'm doing. The cause of today's surprise bandwidth spike might be explainable if I try closing program after program. But what about when it happens next week? And then a month later again? Will I have to sift through all potential programs each time, tediously?

And the real problem is that a huge amount of downloading can happen and then just stop before I even get a chance to figure out which program is downloading. So I'm hoping there's some program out there that can help me. I was happy to find BitMeter.

I always get close to my limit just because it doesn't take much youtube or downloading a podcast here and there to get me close to the limit. Mainly I use up the data just with normal web browsing and google maps and earth.
 

TonyB25

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And you are the only computer connected to the hotspot? You have encryption enabled, and you verified that only 1 IP address has been issued?

Sorry, but I don't know of any program that will tell you exactly what EXE's are downloading data.

Take a look at your running processes not just icons you see in the system tray.

If yours is the only computer connected to the hotspot, there has to be a whole lot more running and going on. If you're able to monitor download bytes in real time, close all your browsers. Then check the usage after 2 hours. If there's still huge spikes, it's something you're doing in the browser.
 

timcd100

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Yes my lap top is the only connected device. So you're saying that Wireshark or Angry IP Scanner wouldn't help me, they are for something else?
 

plodr

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Could it be Windows updates? Yesterday was Patch Tuesday and there are a lot of patches.
Do you have Java installed? There is also an update to that.
 

DaveA

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Are by chance running Chrome?
 

timcd100

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I'm running firefox.

I'll try messing with the update settings of java and windows update then.
 

Triple6

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To be honest 5GB is actually very little, thats 160MB per day. And easily eaten up by regular updates. You have Windows Updates, Java updates, Adobe Flash/Reader Updates, antivirus updates, Firefox or Chrome updates, and updates for a lot of other programs downloading anywhere from once a month to several times a day. There are some Windows updates that are several hundred MB's in size.

If you are using Avast you need to remove McAfee, not only is it bad to have two antivirus programs but it's also likely McAfee accounts for some traffic. Uninstall it using Programs & Features then run the McAfee removal tool to remove it's left overs: http://service.mcafee.com/FAQDocument.aspx?id=TS101331

For something built in to watch network activity try the Resource Monitor: http://www.7tutorials.com/how-use-resource-monitor-windows-7

Or for a third party program try this: http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/4371...width-consumption-of-individual-applications/
 

timcd100

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Thanks, I'll try those. When I was with verizon, 6 Gb per month worked for me as long as I used BitMeter. Now with t-mobile I think 5 GB will work because they don't count streaming music towards your limit and they throttle rather than charge overages.

To be honest 5GB is actually very little, thats 160MB per day. And easily eaten up by regular updates. You have Windows Updates, Java updates, Adobe Flash/Reader Updates, antivirus updates, Firefox or Chrome updates, and updates for a lot of other programs downloading anywhere from once a month to several times a day. There are some Windows updates that are several hundred MB's in size.

If you are using Avast you need to remove McAfee, not only is it bad to have two antivirus programs but it's also likely McAfee accounts for some traffic. Uninstall it using Programs & Features then run the McAfee removal tool to remove it's left overs: http://service.mcafee.com/FAQDocument.aspx?id=TS101331

For something built in to watch network activity try the Resource Monitor: http://www.7tutorials.com/how-use-resource-monitor-windows-7

Or for a third party program try this: http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/4371...width-consumption-of-individual-applications/
 

TonyB25

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Windows updates only happen once a month. They can't account for daily or hourly consumption.

The same goes for Java and Flash. They don't update every day or hour, and the updates are pretty small.

I guess since this is solved that you found the problem. It would be interesting to know what you found.
 

timcd100

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It's usually a couple times per week, it seems like. So those explanations might account for it. I'm going to just mess with the update settings of things and use one of those programs that were mentioned in this thread.

Windows updates only happen once a month. They can't account for daily or hourly consumption.

The same goes for Java and Flash. They don't update every day or hour, and the updates are pretty small.

I guess since this is solved that you found the problem. It would be interesting to know what you found.
 
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