The Best Windows 10 Video Game Subscription Services

The video game industry is changing. It is now
becoming more affordable to pay a subscription to your favorite publishers and
play their entire game library. In this article, we take a look at the best
Windows 10 video game subscription services and compare them to each other.

We’ll start with the Xbox Games Pass, then
take a look at the other options, including EA Access and Origin Access, later
in the article.

Xbox Games Pass

Subscription Cost: $9.99/month
Free Trial Period: $1 for the first month
Sync with consoles?: Yes, Xbox One Only

Xbox has pushed to make Windows 10 part of
their gaming ecosystem and it means great things for Xbox gamers. Each month,
Xbox adds new games to their Xbox Games Pass, many of which are available on
the PC.

And, if a game is an Xbox One and Windows 10
exclusive, it’s likely it’ll be put into the Games Pass on day one of release.
As an example, Sea of Thieves has been available since day one, and Crackdown 3
and Halo Infinite will also be available.

The selection of games isn’t as big as some
other subscription services, but you do get the added bonus of being able to
play all games between both your Xbox One and your PC for the same price. And,
with Xbox Play Anywhere, you can easily sync your progress in games between
both platforms.

There’s no free trial, but you can get your
first month for just $1. Subsequent months will cost $9.99. Right now, some of
the biggest titles include ARK: Survival Evolved, Sea of Thieves, Gears of War
4, and Halo Wars 2.

Discord Nitro

Subscription Cost: $9.99/month
Free Trial Period: No free trial
Sync with consoles?: No

In an attempt to branch out and compete with
game launchers like Steam and Epic Games Store, Discord now lets players
purchase games from within their own chat app. Discord Nitro, a monthly
subscription service, now also gives you access to a variety of games for free.

The games roster doesn’t have the big
blockbuster titles, like the other options in this article, but you do get a
larger selection of games from smaller indie companies and also some older
titles. If rogue-lites, 8-bit games, strategy games, and older action titles
like Darksiders interest you, Discord Nitro could be the best choice for you.

As Discord Nitro continues to grow, I’m sure
we’ll see more support for a wider variety of game genres, too. There is no
free trial with Discord Nitro, but their monthly $9.99 subscription or yearly
$99.99 packages are competitive.

Discord Nitro is exclusive to PC, too, which
means you can’t play any of the games offered here on the Xbox or PS4 for free.

EA Access and Origin Access

Subscription Cost: $4.99/month or $19.99/month
Free Trial Period: No
Sync with consoles?: No

EA Access is a subscription service available
for Xbox One, and Origin Access is the PC version. Unlike Xbox Game Pass,
you’re essentially forced to pay for both subscription services to access games
on both platforms. EA Access has a single $4.99/month or $29.99/year
subscription package that lets you play older games like Battlefield 1 and
Titanfall 2 for free.

You also get to play EA Sports games, and try
new games like Anthem for 10 hours. A 10% discount on EA games and add-ons is
available, too.

Origin Access is for EA’s PC-only client,
which means it has more features available to those on the platform.
Essentially, there’s a two tier subscription system, one of which is similar to
EA Access, and the other that offers full game access.

First, let’s start with the cheaper tier.  For $4.99/month, or $29.99/year, you can get
the same 10 hour trials on all new games. You also get 10% off any purchases
you make on games, add-ons, or microtransactions. You also get early access to
upcoming games and still get full access to older vaulted titles.

If you pay for the second tier, known as Origin Access Premier, you get all of these features, as well as full limitless access on all new releases, including games like Anthem. This includes early access, too. The 10% Origin purchase discount still applies, and you can often get exclusive extra content, such as free cosmetics and small DLC packs.

Origin Access Premier costs more at $14.99 per month, but at $99.99 per year it essentially works out as cheap as Discord Nitro and the Xbox Games Pass. There are no free trials available for either of the Origin Access tiers available, or for EA Access pass on Xbox One.

Summary

Thanks for reading our guide to the best
Windows 10 video game subscription services. Has this article been useful? Want
to know anything else about these services? Feel free to leave your questions
below and I’ll respond as soon as I can.

15 New Windows 10 Features You Need to Start Using

Whether you’ve started using Windows 10 since it first came
out, or only recently, you’ve probably noticed just how tremendously different
it is than any previous version of Windows.

However, no matter how long people have been using Windows
10, there are always new features available in the operating system people
don’t realize are there.

The following are 15 amazing features in Windows 10. A few of these have been there since the beginning, but many are new features added to the operating system in just the past year.

1. Windows Launcher Android Integration

If you install the Microsoft Launcher app on your Android phone, it opens up an impressive array of ways you can sync and integrate your Android phone with your Windows 10 computer.

With this app installed, you can:

  • View photos on your phone and drag them into
    your Windows apps.
  • Send text messages from your phone using your
    computer.
  • You can view your Windows 10 timeline from your
    phone.
  • Mirror Android apps right on your Windows 10 PC
  • Send websites directly from your phone to your
    PC.

How To Link Your Android and Your Window 10 PC

To set up this link between your phone and your Windows 10 PC, you just need to install the Windows Launcher app on your Android phone.

Then, on your Windows 10 PC, click the Start menu, type Phone
and click on Link your phone.

If you don’t see your phone already listed, click on Add a phone to link your Android phone.

Next, install the Your Phone app from the Windows Store on
your Windows 10 PC. Once you’ve provided the app on your phone all the
permissions it needs, you can launch the Your Phone app on your computer to
interact with your phone.

You’ll be able to do things like see your recent messages or
send text messages right from your computer.

You can also see photos on your phone and easily transfer
them back and forth.

It’s a very cool way to elevate your mobile experience by
meshing your mobile and Windows 10 productivity into one.

2. Cloud Clipboard

You’re probably already familiar with pressing Ctrl-C to copy selected items to your clipboard. But now you can press Windows Key-V to paste selected items from a cloud clipboard that you an access from any of your other devices.

Enable cloud clipboard by going into Settings, click Clipboard,
and enable both Clipboard and Sync across devices.

To use this feature once enabled, just select the item you want to copy, press Ctrl-C like normal and then press Windows Key-V to see the cloud clipboard when pasting.

Using this clipboard to copy items means that even if you
turn off one Windows 10 computer, you can log into another one using your same
Microsoft account and access the same clipboard items.

3. Snip & Sketch

You’ve probably used Print Screen for years to take
screenshots in Windows 10. But the Snip & Sketch utility takes screen
capture to a whole new level.

You don’t have to enable anything, so long as you’ve updated
your Windows 10 install with the latest updates. Press ShiftWindows KeyS to start your screen capture.

What makes Snip & Sketch special from the traditional Print Screen is that you can capture non-standard areas if you like (choose the freehand tool first), and after taking the screen capture, you can edit it and mark it up with your own sketches or notes.

Installing third-party screen capture software is now a
thing of the past.

4. Type with Your Voice

For years, voice dictation was something you needed to
purchase expensive software for. Now, you only need Windows 10. Speech
recognition and voice typing is now built right into the operating system.

To enable this, just go into Settings, click Speech,
and enable Online speech recognition.

Once this is enabled, any time you have any application that requires text-typing, you can press Windows KeyH and type with your voice instead.

During our testing, we found that the voice recognition was very accurate and didn’t require any voice training time at all.

Using this feature in Microsoft Word works well because Word
automatically capitalizes sentences for you and saying “period” automatically
inserts the correct terminating character.

This feature is also great for quickly dictating emails or
having IM conversations with friends.

5. Share to Skype

If you buy a new computer with Windows 10 on it, you’ll see
that Skype comes prepackaged. Whenever you right-click on any file in Windows
Explorer or click Share This Page in
Edge, you’ll see Skype listed in the options at the bottom of the share window.

You’ll also notice that there are a number of other apps
that display in the share window as well, including the Snip & Sketch tool,
Facebook, Twitter, and OneDrive. Although, those apps need to be installed
separately.

6. Secret Start Menu

One thing that was very annoying about Windows 10 when it
first came out was how hard it was to find those basic areas of Windows that
were so easy to find in the traditional start menu.

You haven’t lost that in Windows 10. It’s actually accessible
via a “secret” start menu by right clicking on the Windows start menu. From
here, you can access frequently accessed areas like:

  • Apps and features
  • System
  • Device Manager
  • Computer Management
  • Task Manager
  • Settings
  • File Explorer

You don’t have to be frustrated anymore. Just right-click.

7. Show or Peek at the Desktop

This feature is especially useful when you have information
stored on the desktop, such as when you’re using desktop widgets to see system
specs.

You can get a peek at the desktop by hovering your mouse on the small vertical sliver of a button at the lower right corner of the taskbar. Just hover to peek at the desktop or click on it to minimize all open windows and switch entirely to the desktop.

Just click it again to bring all the windows back up again.

8. Slide to Shutdown

This is a very cool trick that only works in Windows 10.
It’s a utility that presents a full-screen slide down bar that you can drag
down to the bottom of the screen to shut down your computer.

To set this up, just right click on your desktop and click New and select Shortcut.

Past the following text into the text field.

%windir%\System32\SlideToShutDown.exe

Click Next and Finish.

Now, when you want to shut down the computer, you don’t have
to click around looking for the shutdown option. Just double click the icon and
drag the bar to the bottom of the screen to shut down the PC.

9. Windows 10 God Mode

Just like most video games have a “god mode” that give you
super human powers, Windows 10 comes with a god mode that’ll give you super
human computer skills.

Just right-click on the desktop, select New, and click Folder.
Rename the folder as:

GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}

Once you open this folder, you’ll see a long list of
advanced administrative features such as:

  • Manage drives
  • Schedule tasks
  • View Windows event logs
  • Manage devices and printers
  • Customize the File Explorer
  • Much more…

The contents of this folder are a power user’s dream come
true. It’s everything you need at your fingertips.

10. Task View

Even though Task View has been part of Windows 10 for a
while, many users don’t even realize it exists. Those who do have realized some
tremendous productivity boosts.

The Task View icon is on your task bar just to the right of
the Cortana search field. It looks like a film strip.

When you click on it, you’ll see a list of all open
applications, and if you scroll down, you’ll even see all of the files and
applications you had open at some point earlier. You can switch to any open (or
previously open) app or file just by clicking on it in the task view.

11. Virtual Desktops

If you want to take your productivity to a whole new level,
drag any of the open apps up to the New
Desktop
icon at the top of the Task View.

This creates a new virtual desktop session you can switch to and stay focused on the task at hand. This is great for creating one session for your social media or web browsing, and another desktop to stay entirely focused on your work.

Switch between desktops in the Task View window or by using the Ctrl + Windows Key + Left Arrow/Right Arrow keyboard combo.

12. Transparent Command Prompt Window

Using the command prompt window is very common for working on your Windows system. But sometimes the command window itself can get in the way when you want to see the effects of the commands you type.

You can get around this by making the command prompt window
transparent.

  1. Open a new command prompt window by clicking Start, typing command, and selecting Command
    Prompt Desktop App
    .
  2. Right-click the title bar and select Properties.
  3. In the Properties window, click the Colors tab.
  4. Lower the Opacity
    level to around 60%.

You’ll be able to see right through the command window itself
and watch the effects of each command you type.

13. Nearby Sharing

No longer will you need to connect your devices to your
computer via a USB cable. Windows 10 features Nearby sharing, which lets you share content and files to devices
connected to your Wi-Fi network or connected to your computer via Bluetooth.

To enable this feature:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Select Shared
    Experiences
    .
  3. Enable Nearby
    Sharing
    .

Now, when you select Share
in a Microsoft Word document, or select Share
from right-clicking a file, you’ll see other Windows 10 computers connected to
your network (or via Bluetooth) that you can share the file with. Keep in mind
all computers should have Nearby Sharing
enabled for this feature to work.

14. File Explorer Dark Mode

If you’re tired of the same old look to File Explorer, you
can make things edgy by switching to File Explorer Dark mode.

How to enable File Explorer dark mode:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Select Colors.
  3. Scroll down to Choose your default app mode.
  4. Select Dark.

Once this is enabled, all system windows (like File
Explorer) will have a dark background. Not only does it look a lot edgier than
the traditional File Explorer, but it’s also a lot easier on the eyes.

15. Notifications Area

Everyone is very accustomed to receiving notifications on
their mobile phone, but many Windows 10 users don’t realize they have access to
a convenient notifications area on their Windows 10 machine as well.

You can access notifications by clicking the comments icon
in the lower right corner of the screen. This pop-up shows notifications from
your apps like your calendar, your mobile notifications if you have your phone
synced, and buttons to quickly enable your Wi-Fi network, Bluetooth, access
Settings, and more.

Windows 10 Features

It’s amazing how easy it is to get accustomed to using Windows 10 a certain way. You get into a certain pattern of doing things and may not realize when Microsoft has introduced some fresh and innovative new features into the Windows 10 operating system.

Take a test drive of all of the new Windows 10 features
listed above and enhance your productivity and overall Windows experience.

4 Simple and Easy Ways to Secure Windows 10

Windows 10 represents three decades of development and as an operating system it’s pretty polished by now. That doesn’t mean, though, that when you boot up a fresh copy of this operating system, it’s perfect in every way.

Windows 10 still needs some tweaking to really offer a good level of security. On top of this, Windows 10 is now also a cloud service, which means that Microsoft now also wants to collect and sell your information.

Unless you do something about it, you’ll be sending oodles of private information to Redmond. Depending on your personal level of comfort, that might be a significant security and privacy issue. Which brings us to our first tip.

Use a Windows 10 Privacy Tool

Microsoft hasn’t made it easy to disable some
of its info-gathering features. There’s plenty to play with in the privacy
settings, but most users don’t even know all the different ways that Windows 10
can spy on users or what happens with that information.

The good news is that there is now a whole
list of specialized tools that only exist to help you tweak privacy settings in
the world’s most widely-used operating system. 
Most of them are free and also let you tweak things Microsoft may not
want you to mess with.

A great example is the delightfully-named O&O ShutUp 10, which bills itself as an “antispy” tool for Windows 10. Whether you consider every toggle it offers an issue or not, it’s certainly a convenient way to take control of the Windows 10 experience.

Ditch Windows Defender

The included antivirus package for Windows 10 is a welcome feature that keeps millions of users who wouldn’t know any better from getting infected with all sorts of nasties. However, if you’d like to take a more active role in your security and would like to catch a wider variety of malware, then a third-party program is your best bet.

There are both free and paid choices. Some tackle everything and others only catch specific types of malware. If you are happy with Windows Defender, but would simply like to supplement it, then something like Malwarebytes is a good choice.

Encrypt Your Hard Drive

Encrypting your hard drive is one of the best security improvements you can make to a Windows 10 PC. It means that if anyone gets their hands on your hard drive, they’ll have no way to actually view the data because it has been strongly encrypted.

In some cases, your hard drive will be automatically encrypted after installing Windows 10, but if not, you can manually enable BitLocker, Microsoft’s native encryption solution. It’s pretty powerful, but you need a motherboard with a TPM module for it to work. If your computer doesn’t have one, you’ll need to use a USB drive to host the decryption key.

If that doesn’t strike your fancy, then a third-party solution such as VeraCrypt will do the job nicely too. Once encrypted, you’ll be sleeping much better at night.

Push UAC To the Max

Windows UAC or User Account Control is a feature of the operating system that warns you whenever a change is made to your computer. For example, when you try to install a new program, UAC will dim the screen and ask you to OK the installation before it runs the software.

By default, UAC will only bug you when you do
something major or when an installed application wants to make a significant
change to your PC. However, there is one higher level of security above the
default, that will warn you for a wider range of changes. This means you’ll
catch hackers and malicious web software that try to hack your machine.

For most people the default setting is just fine, but if you are adventurous, visit all sorts of weird websites and download software to try just for fun, then this is a fast way to protect yourself. All you need to do in order to access the UAC settings is press the Windows Key and search for “UAC”.

Battening Down the Hatches

As it stands today, Windows 10 is an excellent operating system with fantastic security support from Microsoft. However, it’s good to know that you can still control the product you paid for when it comes to how much the developer can poke their nose into your system.

It also never hurts to polish some of the rougher security features against external threats. So here’s to a more secure computing experience for everyone!

6 Best Windows 10 Network Monitoring Tools for 2019

Network monitoring is an essential task of every network administrator. To help them, plenty of network monitoring tools do exist. However, the vast majority of them are out of reach for smaller organizations. The reason could be financial—some of these tools can cost a small fortune—but they could also be practical.

Many SMBs simply won’t deploy a server just for the sake of monitoring their network. Some of them only have one server and are perfectly happy with that. This is the type of situation when you might want to start looking for Windows 10 network monitoring tools.

Today, our first order of business will be to explain what network monitoring is. As you’ll see, there are about as many answers as there are people answering. Then, we’ll describe how network monitoring works. Of course, different types of systems work in different ways but we’ll cover the basics. Next, we’ll introduce a few of the most common network management protocols which are typically used by monitoring tools, such as SNMP, WMI or WBEM. We’ll then discuss the specific case of monitoring networks from Windows 10. A typical Windows 10 computer is rarely as powerful as a dedicated server and this can seriously limit the monitoring abilities of the platform. Finally, we’ll review some of the very best Windows 10 network monitoring tools.

The Need For Network Monitoring Tools

Network traffic is very similar to road traffic. Just like network circuits can be thought of as highways, data transported on networks are like vehicles travelling on that highway. But as opposed to vehicular traffic where you just have to look to see if and what is wrong, seeing what’s going on on a network can be tricky. For starters, everything is happening very fast and data transported on a network is invisible to the naked eye.

Network monitoring tools let you “see” exactly what is going on on your network. With them, you’ll be able to measure each circuit’s utilization, analyze who and what is consuming bandwidth and drill down deep into network “conversations” to verify that everything is operating normally.

Different Types Of Monitoring Tools

There are basically three major types of network monitoring tools. Each one goes a little deeper than the previous and provides more details about the traffic. First, there are bandwidth utilization monitors. These tools will tell you how much data is transported on your network but that’s about it.

For more information, you need another type of tool, network analyzers. Those are tools that can give you some information on what exactly is going on. They won’t just tell you how much traffic is passing by. They can also tell you what type of traffic and between what hosts it is moving.

And for the most detail, you have packet sniffers. They do an in-depth analysis by capturing and decoding traffic. The information they provide will let you see exactly what’s going on and pinpoint issues with the greatest accuracy.

Bandwidth Utilization Monitors

Most bandwidth utilization monitors rely on the Simple Network Management Protocol or SNMP to poll devices and get the amount of traffic on all–or some–of their interfaces. Using that data, they will often build graphs that depict the bandwidth utilization over time. Typically, they’ll allow one to zoom into a narrower time span where graph resolution is high and shows, for instance, 1-minute average traffic or zoom out to a longer time span–often up to a month or even a year–where it shows daily or weekly averages.

SNMP Explained

The Simple Network Management Protocol–or SNMP–can be used to remotely monitor and configure networking equipment. Despite its name, it’s not exactly simple, though, and implementing it can prove to be a daunting task. SNMP-enabled devices make a certain number of parameters–called OIDs–available. Some are modifiable configuration parameters, allowing one to change them while others are read-only counters.

When it comes to bandwidth monitoring, we’re specifically interested in two OIDs. They are called bytes in and bytes out. By reading these values at precisely timed intervals, The number of bytes per unit of time–which is exactly what bandwidth is–can be computed. Most networking devices, like switches and routers, have one such set of OIDs for each of their interfaces.

Typically, a network bandwidth utilization monitoring system will poll each device at 5 minutes intervals. It will then subtract the previous value of the counter from the current one to get the number of bytes transferred in five minutes. It will multiply that number by 8 to get the number of bits. And finally, it will divide it by 300 to get the bandwidth in bits per second.

In addition to the bits in and bits out counters, some bandwidth monitoring system will allow one to monitor other parameters. For instance, there are interface input errors and interface output errors OIDs that can be polled to compute the error rate.

Network Traffic Analysis

If you need to know more than the amount of traffic passing by, you need a more advanced monitoring system. What you need is what we refer to as a network analysis system. These systems rely on software that’s built into networking equipment to send them detailed usage data. These systems can typically display top talkers and listeners, usage by source or destination address, usage by protocol or by application and several other useful information about what is going on.

While some systems use software agents that you must install on target systems, most of them rely instead on standard protocols such as NetFlow, IPFIX, or sFlow. These are usually built into equipment and ready to use as soon as they are configured.

About Flow Analysis

Originally created as a way of simplifying the creation of access control lists, NetFlow was developed by Cisco Systems. Engineers quickly realized that the collected data could be put to a different use by exporting it to a device that can analyze that information.

NetFlow uses a three-component architecture. The exporter which runs on the monitored device aggregates packets into flows and exports flow records to a flow collector. The flow collector handles the reception, storage and pre-processing of the flow data. Finally, the flow analyzer is used to analyze received flow data. Many systems combine the collector and analyzer in one device.

Once exclusive to Cisco devices NetFlow is now commonly found on equipment from other manufacturers. It can go by other names such as Jflow on Juniper equipment. The latest version was even made as an IETF standard called IPFIX. There is also a competing system called sFlow from inMon which is also present on several brands of networking equipment. And although NetFlow and sFlow are considerably different in the way they operate, many monitoring systems can handle both protocols.

Typical Network Monitoring Tools

Network monitoring tools are typically big pieces of software with horribly demanding requirements. For instance, one of the most popular of them, the SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor requires no less than two dedicated servers to run, one for the application and one for its database. So, unless you manage a huge network and you need a tool that can easily scale up, these systems may not be for you.

And they don’t only have demanding hardware requirements, they also often need considerable efforts to get them to run the way you need it. Again, a large network might very well justify the efforts but SMB could have a harder time. And let’s also mention the price as some monitoring tools are out of the reach of many.

Monitoring On Windows 10

For smaller organizations, monitoring from a Windows 10 computer could make more sense than having to dedicate one or more servers to monitor the network. Of course, the limited resources of a Windows computer, as compared to a dedicated server, could limit the monitoring abilities of the platform, and they often do. In fact, several of the Windows 10 monitoring tools available are only able to monitor the local computer where they are installed or a limited number of external computers.

This has more to do with the underlying hardware than the operating system, though. For instance, Windows 10 computers rarely have more than one processor socket. Likewise, they will typically support much less RAM than servers.

Some Of The Best Windows 10 Network Monitoring Tools

As we’ve previously indicated, most of the Windows 10 monitoring tools we could find are quite limited. We could only find one system with a feature set that is comparable to the big well-known monitoring platform. The other tools are smaller tools with much more limited capabilities. So, let’s have a closer look at each of them.

1- SolarWinds IP Monitor (FREE TRIAL)

SolarWinds is the publisher of some of the very best network and system administration tools. The twenty-year-old company has gained a solid reputation and its flagship product, the Network Performance Monitor, consistently scores among the top SNMP monitoring tools. Like that wasn’t enough, SolarWinds also makes several free tools, each addressing a specific need of network administrator. The Advanced Subnet Calculator and the SolarWinds TFTP Server are two excellent examples of those free tools.

Among its huge product portfolio, SolarWinds offers an integrated monitoring solution that goes by the name of the SolarWinds ipMonitor. This integrated tool offers essential up/down and performance monitoring for networks, servers, and applications. It uses many standard protocols including WMI and SNMP to provide agentless, monitoring of systems, devices and applications.

SolarWinds ipMonitor - Dashboard

The SolarWinds ipMonitor has auto-discovery to quickly discover infrastructure components. It will also recommend SmartMonitor settings. These two features make setting up the product simpler and faster. Furthermore, it includes its own embedded web server and database for an even simpler, integrated installation experience without the need for installing separate components. The tool boasts an easy-to-use web interface and network maps which can give you a clear, at-a-glance view of your environment. It can send customizable alerts and reports to help ensure you are the first to know about issues or application failures. In addition to alerts, it also has automated remediation capabilities to minimize downtime.

The SolarWinds ipMonitor web-based interface offers centralized summary views that are fully customizable. It will provide much-welcome visibility into the health of your whole infrastructure. The tool’s dashboards make it easy to identify problem areas at a glance, letting you resolve issues quickly. The system’s user interface supports drag-and-drop, making it easy to add and remove elements from the views and helping ensure you have all the reports, statistics, and gauges that you need, right there at your fingertips.

Price for the SolarWinds ipMonitor starts at $1 495 for up to 500 monitors. This one-time cost includes the first year of maintenance. If you want to give the product a test run before purchasing it, a free 14-day trial is available.

2- Antamedia Bandwidth Manager

The Antamedia Bandwidth Manager is actually a bit more than just a monitoring tool. As its name implies, it is a bandwidth management platform. It can run on any desktop version of Windows since Windows XP as well as on current Windows Server versions. The software includes a feature to block unwanted sites and gives you over 100 filtering options to manage what content you would like to block. The tool can also help you optimize your traffic—for instance when you have multiple devices sharing a bandwidth-limited internet connection—in order to limit traffic consumption.

Antamedia Bandwidth Manager Screenshot

The product’s free trial version will let you monitor and control up to 3 devices. If you want to have access to more devices – you will have to buy the full version. The tool will let you control the download and upload speed for all devices/users on your network. This tool is specifically targeting small public Internet access networks such as those you’d find in small businesses, schools, and cybercafes.

3- GlassWire

The GlassWire network monitor allows you to visualize your network utilization by location, application, and traffic, on easy-to-read graphs. The tool will also let you view historical traffic data from up to 30 days back. You can use the tool to identify the cause of a casual spike in your network activity and avoid it in the future.

Glasswire Screenshot

There’s also a security element in GlassWire and it will alerts you about hosts that are known threats, unexpected network system file changes, network spikes, ARP spoofs, and DNS changes, allowing you to quickly take corrective actions. This tool also works remotely so you don’t need to be in front of your computer to remotely monitor and block suspicious activity on the computers or servers that the tool is configured to monitor and manage.

Furthermore, GlassWire includes a built-in firewall which is a great tool to intercept network threats and stop them before they can cause damage to your system. It can help you detect what current and past servers your PC is communicating with, allowing you to get rid of potential threats.

4- NetWorx

NetWorx is an excellent example of a smaller tool designed to measure your Internet speed as well as your bandwidth consumption. This free tool allows you to track specific connections, such as your wireless or mobile connection, or all connections simultaneously. Its main limitation is that it will only monitor the local computer where it is installed. But it does more than just monitor it.

Networx Screenshot

One feature of NetWorx we found particularly useful is how it lets one set data quotas and get warnings when certain limits are exceeded. A network usage graph is also available with this tool, allowing you to easily monitor how much bandwidth are you currently using. In addition, the tool provides a detailed report which allows you to see how much bandwidth is being consumed on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. You can also see how much bandwidth each user on the computer uses.

NetWorx is an excellent yet limited tool for bandwidth monitoring. Its main drawback is the lack of a detailed report that could display bandwidth consumption by individual applications.

5- BitMeter OS

BitMeter OS is an interesting open source monitoring tool. It is one of these tools that will not monitor external devices, though. All it monitors is the computer where it’s running. The tool starts whenever you boot your PC and it runs in the background, monitoring your bandwidth usage. When you want to view your bandwidth consumption, you can either use your web browser or a command line interface.

Bitmeter OS Screenshot

The tool can not only show you your current bandwidth usage, but it can also display your bandwidth usage over the past days or weeks. In addition, you can see a summary for the current day, month, or year. For even greater flexibility, you can also display a summary for specific days. All of the tool’s reports can be exported in CSV format. The tool will also let you set an alert to be triggered when you exceed a certain bandwidth threshold.

BitMeter OS is a simple tool, and although it doesn’t offer much in terms of advanced features, it could be the ideal tool for a computer user who wants to keep a close eye on their bandwidth usage.

6- FreeMeter

FreeMeter is a basic bandwidth monitoring tool for Windows 10. This is another tool that will only monitor the computer where it’s installed. It has an unimpressive interface that consists of a live graph showing your current network usage. The graph—actually the whole user interface—can be minimized and it will remain active in your taskbar. As for the graph itself, you can customize its update frequency, its scale, its colour, and its transparency. This is as basic as can be but it had the advantage of not putting too much load on the computer where it’s running.

Freemeter Screenshot

There’s more to this FreeMeter than just its graph, though. Double-clicking the graph opens up a report window that shows you your weekly, daily or monthly bandwidth consumption. And just like you could do with the previous tool, you can set alerts to be notified when your bandwidth consumption exceeds certain limits.

Read 6 Best Windows 10 Network Monitoring Tools for 2019 by Renaud Larue-Langlois on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

The 5 Best New Features in Windows 10’s 1809 Update

Every October Microsoft releases a major update to Windows that (hopefully) fixes the biggest bugs and gripes, while also bringing new features into this OS-as-a-service product.

While there were quite a few problems with the 2018 “1809” update that caused a two month delay, it should now be available through the regular update service.

If you’re already running 1809 or are just looking forward to it, here are some feature highlights you can look forward to in the newest Windows version.

Finally, Dark Mode for Explorer!

Microsoft already provided a Dark theme in a previous update, but unfortunately Windows Explorer itself retained its white background.

Dark modes and themes are pretty much everywhere these days. Not only do they make screens easier to read in the dark, they reduce screen power consumption. Most importantly, they look pretty cool to boot.

Enabling Dark mode for Windows apps couldn’t be easier. First Go to Settings – Personalization – Colors. 

 

Now scroll down to the bottom of the window.

Under Default App Mode choose Dark. Now Windows Explorer will have a dark background and your eyes will thank you.

The Snip & Sketch Screenshot Tool

Windows 10 had much better support for screenshot editing out of the box than previous versions. However, the tools available were a little fragmented and with the 1809 update there is now one tool to rule (and replace) them all. The Snip and Sketch tool.

You can find this tool with all your other apps or by simply typing its name in the Start Menu search bar. With it you can easily capture and edit screenshots with ease.

Your Phone App for Android Users

Like it or not, smartphones are now a part of almost everyone’s daily life. So Microsoft has decided to integrate Android phones into the Windows Desktop using a new application known as Your Phone.

There is no indication when or if other phone OSes will ever be fully supported, but if you have an Android smartphone you can now send texts and view photos. There are also some limited iOS functions. Specifically sending web pages from your iPhone to Windows.

You can find the app among your other Windows apps. The fastest way to access is is by searching for “Your Phone” it in the Start Menu.

To link your phone, just click “Get Started” and follow the prompts. Then enter your number here.

Enter your number and click Send. You should receive a text with a link to the Your Phone Companion app. Install it and then open it.

Now you just need to sign in with your Microsoft account to complete the link.

Now you’re ready to start sharing content between your phone and Windows desktop.

Start Menu Search Upgrades

The search functions in the Start Menu have been expanded substantially. Now when you search for something you’ll see several tabs to categorize the results. There are also more relevant web results, with shortcuts to download or install an app.

The search itself is also now much faster, coming up at the same time it takes for the Start Menu itself to appear.

The Supercharged, Cloud-powered Clipboard

The humble Clipboard has also received a major overhaul. Now when you copy something to the Clipboard there are more things you can do than just paste it somewhere.

For example,you can now stack your copied items by activating the Clipboard History. If you press Windows+V then you can see that history and pick the item you want to paste.

You can also choose to sync clipboard data to the cloud and then to you other devices.

Windows, Reloaded

The Windows 10 of today is already much more mature and refined than when it first launched. Despite a rough start, the 1809 update has brought some truly useful and welcome changes to the system. Enjoy!

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