The best data usage monitors for Windows

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 17, 2019

If you want to know how much data you are using on a Windows PC over time, you will have to use third-party programs for that. While you may check the Task Manager or Resource Monitor directly to get current readings, you will notice that these built-in tools are not suitable for monitoring bandwidth usage over time. Some routers and modems collect traffic statistics and you may access their admin dashboards to check the data.

Before we look at the programs suitable for the job, it is a good idea to list why you may want to monitor the data usage. The monitoring is useful if the Internet plan limits available bandwidth per month or another time period, but it can also be useful for flatrate plans.

Some ISPs limit the monthly bandwidth of Internet plans and either charge extra if you go over the limit or reduce the available speed significantly for the remainder of the billing period. Monitoring helps avoid running into these situations.

Monitoring is also useful as it may help you understand how much bandwidth you actually need per billing period; may be useful if when you move to a new location or want to change plans.

The following tools assist you when it comes to monitoring the data usage of Windows PCs. The programs are all free to download and use, and they have been tested using Windows 7 and Windows 10 PCs.

BitMeter II


BitMeter II is a free bandwidth meter for Windows. The program keeps track of the daily, weekly, and monthly bandwidth usage and displays a widget on the desktop when you start it that visualizes traffic use.

You may set up alerts, configure ISP restrictions in regards to bandwidth, or calculate traffic using the built-in calculator. BitMeter II features a stopwatch to keep track of various metrics while the stopwatch is active.

A click on Statistics displays statistics for the last few hours, days, and months as a graph and tabular data.



GabNetStats is a portable program for Microsoft Windows devices to keep track of network traffic and more. The program ran without hitches on all test systems and started to keep track of the bandwidth right away.

Left-click on the program's icon in the system tray to open the traffic graph and statistics. The widget closes automatically after five seconds but you can turn that off to display it permanently on the desktop.

The program keeps track of sent and received bytes, average speeds, and more. A click on advanced displays lots of network information such as the total number of received and sent packages, number of routes and IP addresses, or information about the devices's IP configuration.



The developer website is no longer available but you can download the program from third-party repositories such as Softpedia.

Note: you may to right-click on the downloaded setup file and change the compatibility to a previous version of Windows to install the tool on newer versions on Windows 10.

The application displays the upload and download bandwidth in the system tray area by default. Hover over the item to display received and sent statistics for the session, day or month. A right-click displays available options and the Data Traffic interface that lists data usage over time.


nettraffic app

NetTraffic is available as a portable version and installer. The program is fully compatible with all recent versions of the Windows operating system.

Note: The portable version threw an error on a Windows 10 machine when I ran it without elevated privileges.

NetTraffic displays a graph on the desktop when you launch it that displays sent and received bandwidth. The window is set to be always on top by default; you can change that, its size, and other parameters easily.

Right-click on the system tray icon to open the settings, statistics, and utilities. Statistics provide traffic overviews for the selected period of time and time units, e.g. a month, day, or yearly.

You can change the design of the traffic widget in the settings and configure a quota. The network tools include ipconfig, netstat, and route.


Networx was available as a free version previously and that version is still available and fully functional. You can download it from Majorgeeks but not from the developer site directly.

The application monitors data usage as soon as it is launched on the device and places an icon in the system tray that users may interact with. A double-click opens the usage report that provides bandwidth usage insights; you find per-day, week and month stats, dial-up session, and application usage sorted into individual tabs for easy access.

You can use the program to monitor data usage of individual applications but need to enable that by turning the option "Ignore LAN traffic" under Settings > Main > Monitored Interfaces on.

data quota

A right-click on the system tray icon displays additional options. You may show a traffic graph as a widget on the desktop to keep an eye on data usage, launch a bandwidth speed meter, or open the quota configuration screen to add bandwidth quotas to the application to monitor them.

Tip: check out our full review of Networx here.

A few network tools like trace route or ping are also available.


Name Monitoring Quota Widget Misc
BitMeter II Day, Week, Month yes yes Calculator, Stopwatch
GabNetStats Real-time only no yes Network information
NetSpeedMonitor Day, Month no no Connections
NetTraffic Day, Month, Year yes yes Network Tools
Networx Day, Week, Month, Applications yes yes Network Tools, Speed test, Notifications, Reporting

Closing Words

Some of the tools are no longer maintained while others are. Networx is without doubt the most professional when it comes to bandwidth monitoring and related functionality but it is no longer maintained.

Now You: do you monitor your network traffic?

The best data usage monitors for Windows
Article Name
The best data usage monitors for Windows
An overview of the best free traffic monitors (bandwidth monitors) for the Windows operating system.
Ghacks Technology News

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  1. Dan Donx said on January 15, 2023 at 10:29 am

    What mental age of reader are you targeting with the first sentence? 10?

    Why not write an article on how to *avoid* upgrading from W10 to W11. Analogous to those like me who avoided upgrading from 7 to 10 for as long as possible.

    If your paymaster Microsoft permits it, of course.

  2. Dexter said on January 15, 2023 at 11:14 am

    5. Rufus
    6. Ventoy

    PS. I hate reading these “SEO optimized” articles.

    1. cdr said on January 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      I used Rufus to create an installer for a 6th gen intel i5 that had MBR. It upgraded using Setup. No issues except for Win 11 always prompting me to replace my local account. Still using Win 10 Pro on all my other PCs to avoid the bullying.

  3. sv said on January 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    bit pointless to upgrade for the sake of upgrading as you never know when you’ll get locked out because ms might suddenly not provide updates to unsupported systems.

    ps…. time travelling?
    written. Jan 15, 2023
    Updated • Jan 13, 2023

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2023 at 5:49 am

      This happens when you schedule a post in WordPress and update it before setting the publication date.

  4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2023 at 8:24 am

    Anyone willing to downgrade to this awful OS must like inflicting themselves with harm.

  5. basingstoke said on January 16, 2023 at 11:18 am

    I have become convinced now that anybody who has no qualms with using Windows 11/10 must fit into one of the following brackets:

    1) Too young to remember a time before W10 and W11 (doesn’t know better)

    2) Wants to play the latest games on their PC above anything else (or deeply needs some software which already dropped W7 support)

    3) Doesn’t know too much about how computers work, worried that they’d be absolutely lost and in trouble without the “”latest security””

    4) Microsoft apologist that tries to justify that the latest “features” and “changes” are actually a good thing, that improve Windows

    5) Uses their computer to do a bare minimum of like 3 different things, browse web, check emails, etc, so really doesn’t fuss

    Obviously that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s also the category that:

    6) Actually liked W7 more than 10, and held out as long as possible before switching, begrudgingly uses 10 now

    Have I missed any group off this list?

    1. Heinz Strunk said on September 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      You have missed in this group just about any professional user that uses business software like CAD programs or ERP Programs which are 99% of all professional users from this list.

      Linux doesn’t help anyone who is not a linux kid and apple is just a fancy facebook machine.

  6. ilev said on August 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Microsoft has removed KB5029351 update

    1. EP said on August 24, 2023 at 9:21 pm

      only from windows update though
      KB5029351 is still available from the ms update catalog site

  7. Anonymous said on August 24, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    1. This update is labaled as PREVIEW if it causes issues to unintelligent people, then they shouldn’t have allowed Preview updates ot install.

    2. I have installed it in a 11 years old computer, and no problems at all.

    3. Making a big drama over a bluescreen for an updated labeled as preview is ridiculous.

    This is probably another BS internet drama where people ran programs and scripts that modified the registry until they broke Windows, just for removing stuff that they weren’t even using just for the sake of it.
    Maybe people should stop playing geeks and actually either use Windows 10 or Windows 11, but don’t try to modify things just for the sake of it.

    Sometimes removing or stopping things (like defender is a perfect example) only need intelligence, not scripts or 3rd party programs that might mess with windows.

  8. john said on August 24, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Windows 11 was a pointless release, it was just created because some of the Windows team wanted to boost sales with some sort of new and improved Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft cannot support one version well let alone two.

    1. John G. said on August 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm

      Windows 11 is the worst ugly shame by Microsoft ever. They should release with every new W11 version a complete free version of Starallback inside just to make this sh** OS functionally again.

  9. EP said on August 25, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released a statement regarding the “unsupported processor” blue screen error for their boards using Intel 600/700 series chipsets & to avoid the KB5029351 Win11 update:–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–Error-Message-of-Windows-11-Update-KB5029351-Preview-142215

  10. EP said on August 29, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    check out the following recent articles:

    Neowin – Microsoft puts little blame on its Windows update after UNSUPPORTED PROCESSOR BSOD bug:

    BleepingComputer – Microsoft blames ‘unsupported processor’ blue screens on OEM vendors:

  11. Leonard Britvolli said on August 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    While there may be changes or updates to the Windows 10 Store for Business and Education in the future, it is premature to conclude that it will be discontinued based solely on rumors.

  12. sembrador said on September 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    My advice, I left win 15 years ago. Now I’m a happy linux user (linuxmint) but there is Centos, Fedora, Ubuntu depending on your needs.

  13. EP said on September 6, 2023 at 11:55 am

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released new BIOS/firmware updates for their Intel 600 & 700 series motherboards to fix the “UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR” problem (Sept. 6):–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–caused-BSOD-on-MSI-s-Intel-700-and-600-Series-Motherboards-142277

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