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· 3 min read
Martijn Smit

If you've ever installed WhatPulse on a Windows computer, you have probably seen a popup asking to install NPcap. The installer mentions something about using it for network monitoring, but what is NPcap exactly? This blog post aims to demystify NPcap, explaining its functions, installation requirements, and its interaction with WhatPulse.

What is NPcap?

NPcap is a packet capture library for Windows, widely respected for its performance and compatibility between versions of Windows. It serves as a core component for network monitoring and analysis applications, capturing network traffic on the network interface directly and providing detailed insights into the network traffic goingin and out of a computer. It's essential for developers, network administrators, and cybersecurity experts who need to diagnose network issues or monitor traffic for suspicious activities.

How Does NPcap Work?

At its core, NPcap works by operating deep in the kernel of the Windows operating system, which allows it to intercept and log network traffic that passes through network interfaces—be it Ethernet (cabled), WiFi, or others. This low-level operation is crucial for capturing a detailed and accurate snapshot of network activity without missing a beat.

npcap architecture

Because it's so low-level, it's required to use administrative permissions to install NPcap.

No NPcap?

If NPcap isn't available on a computer, WhatPulse uses network interface counters as a fallback mechanism. These counter provide basic statistics about the network traffic being transmitted and received over the network. While they do not offer the same level of detail as NPcap, they still allow WhatPulse to gather useful network statistics. These counters are less invasive and do not require administrator privileges, making them an excellent alternative for users who prefer not to install additional software.

However, the statistics will be limited to network interface stats only. Without NPcap, there will be no per-application, geographical, or protocol network stats. Network statistics collected through the network interface counters are also not sent to the website, so they do not count towards the unpulsed stats.

Types of Network Statistics Gathered by WhatPulse

WhatPulse collects different types of network statistics, which provide insights into computer behavior and network efficiency. These include:

  • Data Usage: Total bytes sent and received.
  • Network Activity: Timestamped stats of active usage that's used for the real-time network traffic chart.
  • Application Data: Network usage per application, which helps identify which apps consume the most bandwidth.
  • Geographic Statistics: Data usage distributed by location, useful for tracking where your data is going to and coming from.


NPcap provides a deep level of monitoring by capturing every packet on the network, while WhatPulse offers a user-friendly interface to view and analyze this data. Whether you're a casual user curious about your network usage or a power user seeking to optimize network performance, these tools provide valuable insights into your network.

Activity Tracking Made Easy with WhatPulse Statistics

· 2 min read
Martijn Smit

Hi 👋

Welcome, WhatPulse enthusiasts! I’m thrilled to introduce the latest version of WhatPulse, version 5.7, packed with a new features, a ton of improvements and bug fixes to help elevate your user experience. Let's delve into a few key highlights of this release:

🎉 New Features

  • Brazilian Portuguese Language: WhatPulse now offers a Brazilian Portuguese translation, enriching accessibility for Portuguese-speaking users thanks to Éder Magalhães Machado's contribution.
  • Windows Installer Update: You can now install WhatPulse without requiring Administrative permissions. This is an alternative to using Portable Mode on computers where you don’t have any administrative permissions (like a work computer). More information here.

📈 Improvements

  • SSL Libraries now included for Linux: The AppImage now consistently loads bundled OpenSSL libraries, preventing SSL errors due to version disparities. You’d get SSL errors when trying to log in before.
  • macOS Compatibility: Dynamically detects whether the device runs on Intel or Apple Silicon-based systems, ensuring you receive the correct version during updates.
  • Client API Enhancements: Improved REST API functionality with consistent JSON format headers for seamless connectivity. This could’ve led to delays when calling the Client API in the previous release.
  • Windows Registry Optimization: The installer now uniformly uses 'WhatPulse' as its registry key, ensuring accurate version tracking across applications. Apps like UCheck Software Updater can now correctly see the latest WhatPulse version.

🐛 Bug Fixes

  • Settings: Resolved an issue where disabling auto pulse settings failed to save correctly, and settings with inputs were not editable when the Geek Window was open.
  • Uptime Calendar Bug: Fixed a crash related to fast navigation through the uptime calendar.
  • A bug that could cause the application to crash if a backup took too long has been fixed.
  • Fixed keyboard heat map sharing to your online profile.

There’s even more improvements and bug fixes included in version 5.7, these were the highlights. Check out the release notes for a full list!

How to update

Version 5.7 is now available when you use the Check for Updates function, and you can download it from:

· 4 min read
Martijn Smit

As I sit down to pen this post – ironically hitting more keys that WhatPulse will count – I find myself reflecting on an incredible journey that began 20 years ago. WhatPulse started as a simple idea: to track the number of keystrokes and mouse clicks. Little did I know, it would grow into a vibrant community of people, each sharing a piece of their digital lives.

happy birthday

The early days

Back in 2004, the concept of WhatPulse was born out of a mixture of curiosity and fun. It was the era of early internet communities, some on IRC, and the idea of tracking keystrokes and mouse clicks seemed like a neat way to gamify our computer usage. Our first version was basic and based on the soon-to-be-shutdown Project Dolphin, but the enthusiasm from early adopters was anything but. I remember the thrill of seeing our first user outside our initial test group on the WhatNET IRC servers – someone from across the globe, sharing in our little creation.

Milestone: The first million

In 2005, we hit our first significant milestone: one million keystrokes tracked. This was more than just a number; it was a testament to our growing community. It was around this time that we realized WhatPulse wasn't just a tool, but a window into the digital behavior of people worldwide.

More stats: WhatPulse 2.0

The launch of WhatPulse 2.0 in 2012 marked a significant leap. With new features like network monitoring and uptime tracking, we weren't just counting keys and clicks anymore. We were exploring the broader aspects of computing behavior. The introduction of team competitions added a communal dimension that resonated with our users, turning solitary computing into a shared experience and competition.

A global reach

I'll never forget the day in 2014 when we realized we had users in over 100 countries. It was a surreal moment – a little project that started as fun idea and supported my programming school classes, was now a global phenomenon. Each user brought their unique digital footprint, painting a diverse and vivid picture of computer usage worldwide.

Power of Community

Our community has always been the heart of WhatPulse. In 2016, we hosted our first user meetup. It was a surreal experience to meet face-to-face with people who shared a passion for our little application. Their stories – from using WhatPulse in professional gaming to academic research – were as diverse as they were inspiring. The only thing I regret is not to keep doing these.

“Those are some pretty stats.”

In 2016, we launched the dynamic dashboard that continuous to hold all your account statistics in one place. It was the first time we had a real-time and fully customisable canvas on which you can put any WhatPulse statistic you want in all shapes and sizes; charts, graphs, tables and dynamic text.

Application-centric stats

One of the recurring themes with conversations with WhatPulses’ users were applications. You wanted to know which type of applications you were spending time in, typing and clicking in, and which were using up your network bandwidth. In 2021, the social applications were launched, making it possible to see what kind of apps you are using (productive, games, communication apps, etc.). They all got a nice profile page and we started accepting community contributions to make sure the application information (description, category, tags, etc.) is correct.

From side-project to something more

So far, WhatPulse has been a side-project with mostly myself running the website and software with help from a few volunteers. Shout out to my business partner James Newton, and Krzysztof Setlak, Zach Bloomquist, Ash Pearson, and Scott Byzcek (rip). This is why 2021 was also a big year for me personally, as I transitioned from working for an employer, to working for myself. Among a few other things like MuteDeck, WhatPulse now has my full time focus.

Where’s the cake?

I was wondering the same thing, but the cake is coming! Before the summer of 2024, we’re going to celebrate the 20th with our community. We’re planning a few cool contests with prizes (cake!) on our Discord server. Be sure to join the fun there. More info soon.

20 Years and beyond: Looking forward

As we celebrate two decades of WhatPulse, it's not just about looking back but also looking forward. I’m excited about the future, driven by the same curiosity and passion that started this journey. Our community continues to be the guiding star, inspiring us to innovate and improve. There’s some cool stuff planned for the next year(s), and we’re far from done. 🙂

Thank you for joining us!

· 2 min read
Martijn Smit

Hi 👋

Say hello to a fresh beta WhatPulse release! This last release of 2023 includes a new language, and a bunch of bug fixes and improvements. Read on for more details.

🎉 New Features

  • Brazilian Portuguese Language: WhatPulse now includes a Brazilian Portuguese translation, making it more accessible to Portuguese-speaking users. Courtesy of Éder Magalhães Machado.

🐛 Bug Fixes

  • A bug that could cause the application to crash if a backup took too long has been fixed.
  • A fix has been applied to ensure application icons in certain lists are visible on all table rows. Certain systems had the icons inside even rows hidden.
  • Uptime Calendar Bug: Fixed a crash related to fast navigation through the uptime calendar.
  • Auto Pulse Settings Disabling Fix: Resolved an issue where disabling auto pulse settings wasn’t being saved correctly.

📈 Improvements

  • Windows: The installer now consistently uses 'WhatPulse' as its registry key instead of a random GUID. This means the WhatPulse version in the registry is always up to date, meaning apps like UCheck won't be confused about which version is installed.
  • macOS: Dynamically detect whether the device is Intel or Apple Silicon-based. This means you'll always get the right version when updating.
  • Linux: The AppImage will now always load bundled OpenSSL libraries to prevent SSL errors when there's a gap in your OpenSSL version and the one WhatPulse's build with.
  • Client API: Ensured that the REST API always returns the JSON format headers, and fix a possible delay when connecting with an IP address that's not in the allowed list.
  • Immediate Tray Icon Update: When you change the color settings, the tray icon will now update right away to reflect the changes.

How to Upgrade

You can upgrade by using Check for Updates when you've enabled beta updates. You can also download the installers below:

Windows, MacOS Intel or   Apple Silicon, Linux AppImage.

· 2 min read
Martijn Smit

I’m excited to announce that, the clean and simple typing test website developed by Lucas Hockley, is joining the WhatPulse family.

Originally from Cambridgeshire, UK, Lucas began developing four years ago and has since delivered over 6 million type tests through a focus on a sleek design, complemented by a modern, minimal typing experience.

The website lets users track their progress across different typing test modes and compete on the global leaderboards. While simplicity is key, you can customize your type tests by choosing a simple or advanced word list, the duration, using punctuation or numbers, and the end result is a magnificent chart of your typing session.

Take a type test

We’ve acquired to further enhance the functionality of the typing test website and integrate it with our existing WhatPulse community, like the ability to share the tests via your WhatPulse profile, adding achievement badges to collect alongside your other WhatPulse accolades, and the integration of WPM roles into our popular and growing WhatPulse Discord server. We have some exciting plans for as well, like supporting multiple languages, building out more leaderboards, and more.

Existing WhatPulse users can look forward to’s typing test soon being integrated into the WhatPulse website as an additional fun activity. Who are the fastest typists among our community? It’s time to find out!