Watching for network activity

by Mitch Tulloch [Published on 14 June 2006 / Last Updated on 14 June 2006]

How to watch for network activity in Vista.

In Windows XP, you can add a Local Area Connection network icon to your system tray so you can watch network activity. This icon consists of two small monitors, with the top one blinking when packets are received, the bottom when packets are sent, and both when traffic is going both ways, in and out of your computer's network card.

Well in Vista this icon is present by default in the system tray (in XP you had to enable it on the properties sheet for your connection) but it doesn't blink or do anything. Maybe that's because some users find it annoying to see blinking lights out of the corner of their eye when they're working on their computer.

But you can enable this indicator of network activity in Vista, simply right-click on the icon and select Turn On Activity Animation, and now you have an indicator you can watch to help you diagnose problems when network connectivity seems to be down.

Cheers, Mitch Tulloch, MVP

Note: This tip is based on a pre-release version of Windows Vista and may not reflect functionality in the final product.

The Author — Mitch Tulloch

Mitch Tulloch is a widely recognized expert on Windows administration, networking, and security. He has been repeatedly awarded Most Valuable Professional (MVP) status by Microsoft for his outstanding contributions in supporting users who deploy and use Microsoft platforms, products and solutions. Mitch has published over two hundred articles on different IT websites and magazines, and he has written or contributed to almost two dozen books and is lead author for the Windows 7 Resource Kit from Microsoft Press. For more information, see www.mtit.com .

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