Lan connection icon in the task bar, how do I change "Packets" to "Megabytes"

Posted on 2006-05-14
Last Modified: 2008-03-06
In windows 2000 if you click on the LAN icon in the task bar, its properties open and show you MB Recieved and MB Sent.
In windows XP Pro (SP2) however the same action brings up Packets sent & Recieved.

Is it possible (I'm sure it is) to change Packets to MB?

This is handy (to me anyway) as I like to keep a running total of MB used.

Question by:Tycoonlex
    LVL 4

    Accepted Solution

    It is impossible to tell the exact amount of MB's to a packets. The older uses the Send/Receive in bytes (32Kb of each trasmission). The later (XP) shows it in packets.

    On the Internet, the network breaks data into parts of a certain size in bytes. These are the packets. Each packet carries the information that will help it get to its destination that is the sender's IP, receiver's IP and tells the network how many packets the data has been broken into and the number of this particular packet. Each packet contains part of the body of your data. A typical packet contains maybe 1,000 or 1,500 bytes.

    Most packets are split into three parts; Header, Payload & Trailer

    I don't think that you can switch the 'Packets' to MBs
    LVL 32

    Expert Comment

    Hi Tycoonlex,

      If you are looking for a way to find out how much data is being transferred, then you can use some free tools to do this. One such thing can be found here at


    Author Comment

    I should have mentioned that i really hate 3rd party utilities, i have tried plenty of them but they all seem to get bogged down with
    endless amounts of useless data - useless unless your a hacker or network administrator, and they are (yet) another program running in the background chewing up resourses......... Surely if it used to be able to show MB then
    changing it back would be a matter of a setting somewhere or a registry edit.

    I find it hard to believe that Microsoft has finally written something "out" of their code, almost everything that you liked about a previous version of windows can be restored in one way or another..........
    LVL 32

    Assisted Solution


      I don't think you will be able to do anything to change the way it shows up, but if you don't prefer third party tools then 'calculation' is your only method which will give you an approximate amount of data transferred.

     First you need to find out your outgoing MTU size set on your system. That will 'one' packet for outgoing connection. Say it is 1492 bytes(I believe that is the default for windows). Then packet * 1492 bytes will give you the total bytes transferred. Divide it by 1024 and again 1024 should give you data in MB. While this may be assumed true for outgoing traffic, it doesn't necessarily mean your incoming traffic is of that size.

    About third party tools, I've used something called 'NetMeter' to measure my broadband connection and it is pretty decent in its resource usage and shows data broken up in days, weeks, months etc. I just don't have a link for it but if you google you will find it. I would recommend you to try that once and see.


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