How To Limit Windows 10 Data Over A Metered Connection

Originally published on on Sept 2, 2015 By Andre Da Costa
Living in a rural area comes with limits for bandwidth, and for me that means I only have access to 3G networks. If you are like me, you might be coming to the realization that Windows 10 loves data…a lot. I don’t have any choice since I like to keep up with the latest and greatest in software. I noticed after upgrading to Windows 10 in July, my data plans were quickly eaten up in minutes. I was wondering what could be causing this? I had already done the common task like setting my connection as Metered (which I will show you how). The data just kept disappearing. Eventually, I discovered the culprits.
Save on Your Windows 10 Data Usage
Set your connection as metered
One of the first things you can do is set your connectionHow To Limit Windows 10 Data Over A Metered Connection as metered. This will let Windows 10 know you don’t want large updates and apps automatically download. Go to Start > Settings > Network & Internet > Wi-Fi > Advanced Options.
Then toggle Toggle on Set as metered connection.
Turn off background apps
By default, Windows 10 keeps some apps running in the How To Limit Windows 10 Data Over A Metered Connection.2background and they eat up a lot of date. In fact, the Mail app in particular was a major offender. You can turn off some of these apps by going to Settings > Privacy > Background apps.
Then toggle off apps that use background data that you really don’t need. In my case it was pretty much all of those apps that are listed.
OneDrive was another part of Windows 10 I discovered sips data in the background. Although disabling it might be a drastic step, since it’s a critical selling point in the operating system, I don’t need to keep it running all the time. I go into town once a week, so if there are some files I need to sync, I do so at an Internet café.
To disable OneDrive, right click the Taskbar and click Task Manager or press CTRL + SHIFT + ESC.
Click the Startup tab Then under the Startup tab you can How To Limit Windows 10 Data Over A Metered Connection3disable OneDrive. For more on this type of action, check out our article: How to Disable Startup Programs in Windows 10.
You might also want do this for other syncing clients such as Dropbox or Google Drive.
Disable PC Syncing
This one might sound like heresy to disable such a hallmark feature in Windows 10. I love PC syncing, but I honestly don’t need to have it running around the clock. You can turn it off and when you do need to keep things synced, you can easily turn it on.
How To Limit Windows 10 Data Over A Metered Connection.4Go to Settings > Accounts > Sync your settings and turn Sync settings off.
If you think it’s a bit too much, you can pick and choose some settings to sync, for example, Web Browser should not be as bandwidth intensive as Other Windows Settings and Language Preferences.
Turn off notifications
Another area that I notice can save you some data isHow To Limit Windows 10 Data Over A Metered Connection.5 turning off Notifications. For instance, if you don’t need to have background apps notifying you of on-going activities, just disable it, right click Action Center and select Turn on quiet hours.
Turn off Live Tiles
How To Limit Windows 10 Data Over A Metered Connection.6Feed based apps such as News will retrieve the latest news and other information in the background. if you keep Live Tiles turned on. You don’t need to do this for every app, but apps like Mail, Twitter, Weather, Facebook will grab the latest information. You can turn that off by right clicking on the Tile and click Turn off live tile.
Configure Windows Update to download updates over your local area network
Windows 10 introduces a cool enhancement to Windows Update I’m excited about; the option to have Windows Update download updates from a PC within your local network in a peer to peer fashion. It’s called Windows Update Delivery Optimization (WUDO).
This is great for scenarios where you are using a metered How To Limit Windows 10 Data Over A Metered Connection.7connection but have multiple PCs running Windows 10. You can use one PC to simply update the other, as long as they are the same architecture. You can enable this by going to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > Advanced Options > Choose how updates are delivered > and make sure it’s on. Also, make sure it’s set to PC’s on my Local Network.
Note that WUDO is a controversial feature in Windows 10 for some. For Windows 10 Home and Pro, it’s set to send Windows Update data to other PCs on the Internet by default (it’s only set to PCs on my local network for Enterprise and Education editions). If you’re in a limited bandwidth situation, you definitely don’t want to be sharing updates with other PCs on the Internet. For more on WUDO, read our article: Stop Windows 10 from Sharing Your Windows Updates to Other PCs.
Defer Windows Updates
If you are running Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise, there is an option in Windows Update settings that lets you defer the download of new features for several months. This can be significant since new feature improvements can be quite large. Also, this does not affect the download and installation of security updates, and neither does not it prevent the download of features indefinitely, but it’s a welcome stop gap. Please note, when Defer Windows Updates is enabled, it also affects Microsoft Office Updates.
How To Limit Windows 10 Data Over A Metered Connection.8You can enable Defer Upgrades by going to Settings > Update and Security > Windows Update > Advanced Options scroll down a bit and check Defer upgrades.
Of course, not all these strategies have to be implemented. Depending on the type of plan you subscribe to, these tips will help you better manage Windows 10’s data usage, and make it last longer.
Did I miss anything? What are your favorite methods for limiting the amount of data Windows 10 uses? Leave a comment below and let us know, or continue the discussion in our free Windows 10 Forums.
About Andre Da Costa
Based on the Caribbean Island of Jamaica, Andre is aHow To Limit Windows 10 Data Over A Metered Connection.9 certified computer technician and Microsoft Most Valuable Professional since 2010. Previously the lead review editor at and contributor at, Andre is now a contributing author for
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