Which websites and online services is your computer connecting to

There are many components in different apps on your computer that need to connect to the Internet always or at regular intervals to work properly. Likewise, when you open a website in a browser, some of its extensions may automatically connect to the Internet. Also, the browser may connect to other sites to check for updates, etc. Thankfully, it is easy to know which websites and online services your computer is secretly connecting to. You can check them out and terminate unwanted processes so that you can save some resources like battery, memory, and CPU.

Which websites & online services is Windows secretly connecting to

Depending on the apps on your computer, it can connect to different websites and online services even if the browser is closed. This article tells you how to find out which websites and online services your Windows computer is connecting to.

1] NETSTAT command

You can use the Netstat command to check out which websites and online services your computing is connecting to.

Find out which websites & online services Windows is connecting to

Open the command prompt in the administrator mode. That is, type COMMAND PROMPT in the Cortana search box. When the list shows COMMAND PROMPT, right click on it and click on RUN AS ADMINISTRATOR.

In the command prompt, type the following:

NETSTAT -b

And press Enter key.

Your screen now shows what all ports are open and connecting to the internet. If you wish to save the output to some file for analyzing it later, type

NETSTAT -b >activity.txt

This would cause Windows to direct the output to a new text file named activity.txt placed in the current folder (normally you reach System32 when you run Command Prompt as an Administrator). If you would prefer a printed copy instead, use the following command:

NETSTAT -b> PRN

The command will keep on displaying, writing, printing (as the case may be) until you press Control and C simultaneously to interrupt it. The Netstat -b command shows what all ports are connecting to the Internet. It may be easier for computer geeks to understand.

For normal people, it would be easier if the output also showed the process name so that you can go and check in the Task Manager. If the process is unwanted, you can simply terminate it to save resources. To be able to see process name in the output, replace -b with -a in the Netstat command. That will be something like this:

NETSTAT -a

To direct the output to any file, append >filename.txt and to direct it to the default printer, append >PRN to the command

Instead of the NETSTAT Command, you can also use the Resource Manager to check out which websites and online services your computing is connecting to.

2] Resource Monitor

Press Windows key + R to bring up the Run window. Type RESMON.EXE in the Run dialog box. This brings up the Resource Monitor in Windows 10. Click on the Network tab to see what all components are connecting to the Internet. It will show you processes with network activity, and instead of just listing the IP address or port number, it will show you the process names showing which websites and online services your computer is connecting to.

3] TCPView

If you do not understand the output in the first two cases mentioned above, you can download TCPView from the Microsoft website. It shows you a detailed listing of all TCP and UPD connections. It also shows the state of connections: whether a connection is already established, if a component is waiting for connection etc. information.

When you download TCPView, it will be a ZIP file. Extract all files and then click on TCPView.exe to bring forth the window of TCPView. This will give you a clearer idea of what all processes on your computer are connecting to the Internet.

4] CurrPorts

Visit nirsoft.net to know about the CurrPorts freeware. It is a network monitoring software that tells you what all websites and online services your computer is connecting to. If you find useless connections, CurrPort allows you to terminate that connection thus saving your computer resources.

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Arun Kumar is a Microsoft MVP alumnus, obsessed with technology, especially the Internet. He deals with the multimedia content needs of training and corporate houses. Follow him on Twitter @PowercutIN