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If you are looking for a simple, free and easy to use application to control how much traffic your computer is allocating to applications, look no further than NetBalancer.

NetBalancer allows you to prioritize how bandwidth should be distributed among applications. You specify whether you want to give an application Low, Normal, or High priority and set a Limit for them, if necessary.

The Free version allows you to set rules for up to 5 different applications, which is usually more than enough. For my case, it’s managing my Browser, Bit Torrent speed and a few of my online games (which naturally gets High to ensure absolutely minimum lag when playing).

Although not very powerful compared to other solutions, its a very simple, and most importantly FREE, way to set up your computer so that downloading doesn’t choke other applications on your computer.

However the limitation is that this app only works on the computer it’s installed in. It does absolutely nothing for other computers on the network. For those facing problems with bandwidth hogging housemates, you will need to look into router-level QoS settings, which is a whole different beast alltogether.

If you have 5 minutes, download the app now, set up a few rules and you won’t have to bother about having to pause downloads if you want to stream video or music ever again.