Your PC makes lots of Internet connections in a day’s business, and not all of them are necessarily sites you’re aware connections are happening with. While some of these connections are harmless, there is always a chance that you have some malware, spyware, or adware using your Internet connection in the background without your knowledge. Here’s how to see what’s going on under the hood.
We’re going to cover three ways you can view your PC’s active connections. The first uses the good old
netstat command from PowerShell or the Command Prompt. Then, we’ll show you two free tools—TCPView and CurrPorts—that also get the job done and may be more convenient.
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Option One: Check Active Connections with PowerShell (or Command Prompt)
This option uses the
netstat command to generate a list of everything that has made an Internet connection in a specified amount of time. You can do this on any PC running Windows, from Windows XP Service Pack 2 all the way up to Windows 10. And, you can do it using either PowerShell or Command Prompt. The command works the same in both.
First, fire up PowerShell as an administrator by hitting Windows+X, and then selecting “PowerShell (Admin)” from the Power User menu. If you’re using the Command Prompt instead, you’d also have to run that as an administrator.
At the prompt, type the following command, and then press Enter.
netstat -abf 5 > activity.txt
We’re using four modifiers on the
netstat command. The
–a option tells it to show all connections and listening ports. The
–b option adds what application is making the connection to the results. The
–f option displays the full DNS name for each connection option, so that you can more easily understand where the connections are being made. The
5 option causes the command to poll every five seconds for connections (to make it more easy to track what is going on). We’re then using the piping symbol “>” to save the results to a text file named “activity.txt.”
After issuing the command, wait a couple…
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