Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Networking can be complex and difficult, and the various versions of Windows, while attempting to make easier, often end up with exactly the opposite result. Windows networking is hard.
Unfortunately, network sniffing is a very simple thing to do and it has actually nothing to do with the network discovery option.
Network activity can happen for many reasons from expected to benign to malicious. There are free tools that allow you to easily see what's happening.
Some Windows messages indicate something was set by your network administrator or just the administrator. That's probably you, even if you didn't do it.
The area of you Windows taskbar near the clock can have an icon for every network connection. We'll look at how to get only those you care about.
Windows 7 has a useful utility for monitoring system activity. You can use it to find out a lot about what your computer is doing online.
Windows networking is difficult, to put it mildly. I'll walk through setting up a share and connecting to it, and explain why it's not terribly secure.
Ethernet LAN does not imply (or provide) any encryption. It is simply a method to get data packets from point A to Point B. It's up to you to set up any encryption.
A lot of network traffic can mean several things. It can mean that you're doing a lot on the internet or it could mean that some malware is.
"Limited Connectivity" displays when your computer is having problems completing its network configuration. It might as well mean "no connectivity".
If your computer is connecting unexpectedly, there are things you should check. You may have spyware, or your email program may have a mind of its own.
In Windows 7, the firewall is on by default. Sometimes, the firewall will actually prevent machines from seeing one another, even within your local LAN.
Gigabit network cards hold the promise of faster connections and operations. The key is knowing where your other bottlenecks might be.
Dial-up connections can drop because of noise on the line. There are several sources to look for and only one remedy.
Network adapters often try to detect the network speed for you. This can cause problems if both sides are trying to auto-detect at the same time.