Data and where she is gone

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This conversation has been merged. Please reference the main conversation: More tips on how to save data

I started to write this as a comment on another post, but I wrote too much.

One thing that takes data is on-demand TV. I used to have the TV connected to the router, so that I could watch the occasional youtube video or watch a movie on demand, and then realized that the tv  (we have DirectTV) was using the Exede connection to do all the downloading instead of getting it from the Direct TV bird. I disconnected the ethernet cable to the TV a year ago and haven't hooked it back up since - but I read a message from someone else here who said they put the TV router on a timer, so it only turns on during LNFZ. I'm going to try that and see if it works, and then it will download stuff and save it for me. If that works it will be great. 

And also, apps like Dropbox. I have had a Dropbox account for a long time, and just sort of forgot how it works. If you put stuff in the Dropbox, or Google Drive, or iCloud, etc. folder on the computer, it synchs everything over the internet. So if for example, I save a file into my Dropbox folder thinking I can get to it online, I actually forgot that it creates a double hit: once to download the file to my computer, and again to upload it to Dropbox. I went into Dropbox and unchecked all the "synch" folders - Dropbox is nice, but that's way too much data. I don't need to have everything available everywhere. I back up to flash drives, minimize what I keep online, it's just another vulnerability risk anyway. 

There was a time when I had Dropbox and Google Drive and OneDrive all working, because I wanted to compare them. Guess what... that's three times the file gets uploaded. Don't need that. 

iCloud I absolutely hate. It seems like a nice feature, have all your photos, email, automatically backed up so if you lose your phone you still have them. Well, I can't find a way to set photo resolution to a lower value on the phone, so all the pictures are large, and when  iCloud was turned on it was uploading every photo. Plus, if I deleted a photo off the phone thinking to save space on my phone, iCloud would thoughtfully download it for me again. 

Evernote, same thing. Take a picture with the cellphone for a note: upload to iCloud, upload to Evernote. Silently. 

Here's what has got me within striking distance of getting my data under control:

Turn off Wifi on the tablets/phones most of the time. 

Turn off automatic update in app store on all devices. 

This doesn't work for everything - there are applications that update themselves even if you have system updates off. You have to just figure out which ones those are. 

HP printer drivers, for example, can take 500 MB to download, and I think the utility tries to set up "automatically download and install updates" unless you catch it. So you have to go into every single app, even if you don't think it's an app - like a printer control program - and check to see how updates are configured. Goes for browsers, too. 

Speaking of browsers: if you have multiple tabs open, and if you have the browser set to reopen the last windows, it has to go get all the data again. So if you have the browser open to a page with some large photos on it, every time you reopen that browser, even if you don't go to that tab, all the pictures redownload. There used to be a way to cache data and not  bring it down fresh every time but I don't remember how, or if it still is part of the browser software ... have to check you specific browser. 

Antivirus programs auto update, windows security updates are usually automatic, etc. 

Oh, and be sure to disable "load remote content" in mail. Otherwise every time you open an email message it goes to get the picture, whatever, again. That can take a lot of data. 

And I never believe any statement about "my kids don't do X when they aren't supposed to". Yes they do. They don't understand the data use any more than we do. They share passwords with friends. If your kid has a friend who has an iPhone, and if that iPhone has ever been on the network at your house, then it remembers that network and will automatically connect to it when in range. And then do whatever app update, download, etc. I recommend two things:

1.   Log in to the router and check the connected client list. Do this when a bunch of people are hanging around, and don't announce that  you're going to do it. See how many devices are connected to the router. You might have it refresh the list just to make sure it doesn't show any old ones. 

2. Change the router password regularly. And don't tell your kids what it is. You can put the password in their phones manually when you change it. Then they won't know what it is to tell their friends. And I'm not meaning this to say kids are not trustworthy. They really may just not know when the devices are on wifi. They really may not know that their friends devices are connecting, or how much data that uses. Changing the password manually - and making sure the guest account is disabled - will give you valuable information.  If they don't know the password, eventually they will have to ask for it, and then you don't tell it. You put it in manually and give back the phone. 

Yeah, it's a lot of hassle to figure out the data. Sometimes I do think that data is not tracked properly, or that my router did not start itself into LNFZ, but most of the problems I've found have been related to applications. I've been experimenting with small apps that track data traffic and it's been enlightening. Stuff I never suspected, stuff I knew was using data but not that much. It's really like anything: exede tracks how much data goes up and down - AND THEY REALLY ABSOLUTELY NEED SOME DECENT FREAKING TOOLS FOR THE END USERS TO DISPLAY THIS INFORMATION - but you'd be amazed at how data-hungry apps and devices are nowadays. 

I think you could get some help if you want to post details about what applications are installed on devices and computers, and people would give you information about how that app behaves with your data and how to streamline/prune/trim/regulate. 

And there really could be a hardware problem: a problem with the exede router, a problem with your home router, that is using data. Maybe the router's trying to download firmware. Maybe it's having trouble reading and generating errors which generate requests from other  servers for data retransmission. You could have a bad ethernet card. A bad ethernet cable. A bad USB hub. Problem with alignment of your dish. Aliens sitting on the satellite. A bad anything. 

And last but not least ... check for virus and malware.   Someone nefarious could have slaved your machine, and it can be very hard to find out if this has happened if you don't monitor traffic. You might have clicked on a link in an email and wondered why nothing happened, when what happened is a small trojan or virus or worm got installed on your PC and is now sending out traffic. Maybe it's being used as for torrent, or maybe to attack other computers on the net. This is  darn hard to figure out. Let me say that again. IT'S VERY HARD TO FIND OUT IF YOU HAVE MALWARE, BECAUSE IT CAN HIDE ITSELF FROM THE ANTIVIRUS PROGRAMS. It takes time, and hard work, to find and remove viruses. Buy a Mac, they don't really get viruses.  Failing that, try Kaspersky, try Microsoft's anti virus, try Malwarebytes, find and use a good antivirus protection program along with enabling the firewall on the router and on the individual computers. Don't use the computer as Administrator. Create a regular user account, and log on with that. If you log on as Administrator it gives malware total access to your machine. If you log on as a user, it limits what it can do. There are log files you can check and other resources for making sure you are malware free, and it's way too much to cover here, but it's a real risk and you have to do it. 
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Kentuckienne

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Posted 5 years ago

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Bill Gregg

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Thanks so much. What a helpful post.
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HMC1940

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That is a lot of good information Kentuckiene. I don't have or use a router so don't have that to worry about. But you were saying something about pictures using data. I use a camera but don't know why you couldn't do it with pictures on cell phone--download them to your computer then burn them to DVD or put on flash drive.~~~Another thing a lot of those free antivirus programs aren't good like they use to be. What I use is Kaspersky Internet Security.  I also run scan at least once a month on all drives.  You did a great job of though of telling how people can lose data.  BIG THUMBS UP!
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Old Labs (VS1-329-L12FZ)

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Good info, Kentuckienne.

You might want to consider adding it to the following thread that's frequently cited and continues to grow:

Data usage tips | Exede Internet Community

and glad to see you've gone from frustrated to a smiley face.     
(Edited)
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Exede Amber, Employee

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Hello Kentuckienne, Thank you so much for all this wonderful information. This will be very helpful to all customers. Thank you for taking the time to post this.

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