Unlimited data plans are becoming less and less common. Many Internet Service Providers (ISPs) charge a ridiculously high rate for unlimited plans, while others don’t offer unlimited plans at all.

That’s why it’s more important than ever to monitor your PC’s data usage. This can help you avoid thousands of dollars (okay, that’s a little much) in excess data charges. Today, I’m going to show you exactly how to monitor your PC’s data usage.

Of course, monitoring internet usage can also be useful for solving other PC problems. You can use do it to solve PC speed problems or virus issues, for example. If your PC starts accessing the internet without you doing anything, then you could have a serious virus. Here’s how to prevent that from happening to you:

Option 1: Windows Task Manager

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Hey what do you know? Windows has its very own built-in network monitoring tool. It won’t let you monitor your total cumulative data usage over time, but it will let you look at your data usage right now. When you leave it running in the background, you can view your network usage over the past few minutes, but beyond that, this tool isn’t useful. However, it is free and it has already been installed on your computer. To use it, press Ctrl+Alt+Delete, click Task Manager, then pick Networking from the top menu tab.

Option 2: Download and install NetLimiter (Free)

If you’re just trying to fix a small internet problem, then NetLimiter may be all you need. NetLimiter is a program that allows users to monitor and control all internet traffic going into and out of their PCs. There’s a free version that simply provides monitoring support as well as a Pro and Lite version. You can download the version you want here and enjoy monitoring plenty of useful data about your PC’s internet connection. You can see how many devices are currently connected to your internet, for example, and which devices have connected in the past.

Option 3: Wireshark

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Wireshark is not a program for beginners. Wireshark is for tech support professionals who demand the highest level of performance from their network monitoring tools. It comes with a free 30 day trial and allows users to monitor physical and virtual servers, capture and analyze network traffic, and “save hours on network and application issue diagnoses.” Sounds good? You can download it here.

Option 4: Networx

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NetWorx is clearly one of the top network monitoring programs available today. It’s fast, easy to use, and resource efficient. After installing the program, you can view total internet data usage per app and per program, making it easy to see which programs are sucking up the most bandwidth. The program is completely free to use and can run quietly in the background of your PC. Fire it up today.

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