In Windows 10, can I find out what specifically BITS (Background Intelligent Transfer Service) is downloading?

Super User Asked by user2129761 on September 23, 2020

I am using WIFI with a metered connection, which means Microsoft Updates will not automatically download. However, recently I’ve noticed via Task Manager that BITS is running and downloading something when I start my computer. This has not happened before on a metered connection, so I am trying to find out what BITS is trying to download. (Microsoft Update says I am up to date, although I noticed it is not always accurate about this.)

I am not looking for information on how to disable BITS. I just what to know what it is downloading, not only out of curiosity but in case malware might be involved.

I uninstalled Microsoft Office years ago, so this should not be a factor. I looked through Task Scheduler and found nothing obvious that would invoke BITS. System Startup does include "Intel Driver & Support Assistant" and "SecurityHealth", which possibly could call on BITS, but I have never noticed them downloading anything before.

2 Answers

There is no way that I know of to know what BITS is downloading, but if you wish to find out what outside connections has your computer, this is possible. Use the free utility TCPView to view all connections in real time. New connections will display briefly highlighted in yellow.

Another tracing method is detailed in the article How to Track Internet Activity for Free Using Windows Firewall Log, although you may find yourself overwhelmed with the number of details.

As BITS only serves higher-level applications, a simple way to find out which applications are using too much network time, is by using the Task Manager. The "App history" tab contains all the activity on the computer for the last 30 days. You may click the "Network" column to sort all applications in order of network usage.

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Correct answer by harrymc on September 23, 2020

Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) work in the idle network bandwidth. BITS is mindful of network usage, cost and bandwidth, it uses idle network bandwidth to transfer the files and will increase/decrease the rate of file transfer based on the amount of idle network bandwidth available. If any application starts to consume more network resources, BITS will adjust it and decrease. It should not hamper your regular foreground network activities. Usually applications like Windows Update use it. This ensures that Windows Update downloads only, when no other download is in progress on the computer.

You can use Process explorer to see processes are using which applications, but I am afraid there is nothing such for services. You can disable it if no windows update is in progress.

Answered by Wasif Hasan on September 23, 2020

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