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How to Limit Windows 10 Data Use Over a Metered Connection

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 started wondering what could be causing this? I had already done the standard 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 connection as metered. This will let Windows 10 know you don’t want significant updates and apps automatically download. Go to Start > Settings > Network & Internet > Wi-Fi > Advanced Options.

Update: In the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, Metered connection is now located under Start > Settings > Network & Internet > Wi-Fi > your connection name.

metered connect update

Then toggle Toggle on Set as metered connection.

 Metered 1

Turn off background apps

By default, Windows 10 keeps some apps running in the background, and they eat up a lot of data. In fact, the Mail app, in particular, is 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 don’t need. In my case, it was pretty much all of those apps that are listed. When Windows Updates or new versions are installed, these settings might be reset, so, periodically check it to make sure.

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Background apps


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.

Select the startup tab Then under the Startup tab you can disable OneDrive. For more on this type of action, check out our article: How to Disable Startup Programs in Windows 10.

You might also want to do this for other syncing clients such as Dropbox or Google Drive.


Disable PC Syncing

It may sound odd 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.

Go 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.

PC Syncing

Turn off notifications

Another area that I notice can save you some data is turning off Action Center 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 on quite hours

Turn off Live Tiles

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Feed 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 “Turn off live tile”.

Turn off live tiles

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 ideal for scenarios where you are using a metered connection and have multiple PCs running Windows 10. You can use one PC to update the other directly, 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 (yeah, it’s a setting that’s buried deep, unfortunately) and make sure it’s on. Also, make sure it’s set to PCs on my Local Network.

 Download PC Updates

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 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.

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Defer Windows Updates

 If you are running Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise, there is an option in Windows Update settings that lets you delay the download of new features for several months. This can be significant since new feature improvements can be quite substantial. 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.

You can enable Defer Upgrades by going to Settings > Update, and Security > Windows Update > Advanced Options scroll down a bit and check Defer upgrades.

 Defer Updates Windows 10

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.

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60 Responses to How to Limit Windows 10 Data Use Over a Metered Connection

  1. Usman Nasir September 5, 2015 at 11:31 pm #

    Yes windows also send updates to other computers, and it really eats a lot of bandwidth.

    • Andre Da Costa September 7, 2015 at 5:01 pm #

      I have seen a significant reduction in bandwidth usage when I apply some of these tips. It would be nice if there was a Windows 7 mode, I think a Local Account is the closest to that.

      • Sam April 24, 2016 at 12:49 am #

        Hi, re:- set as metered connection – I did as you advised, went to settings, wifi through to advanced options but when I go there there is no toggle for set as metered connection. All that’s showing is properties info and a ‘copy’ button. I’ve just bought this PC brand new acer windows 10. I’m another who doesn’t have unlimited data.

        • Andy August 19, 2016 at 4:33 am #

          The Metered Connection toggle only shows once you are connected via WiFi or perhaps have WiFi turned on.
          If you are not using Wifi, the option does not show, so I guess this means you can only limit Windows 10 updates if using WiFi.
          Any other internet connection does not offer a Metered Connection switch.
          Microsoft thinks everyone has unlimited data.

  2. Bartholomew September 8, 2015 at 5:46 pm #

    open up Store, click your user icon in upper bar (next to search), go to settings, turn off update apps automatically

  3. Ali October 30, 2015 at 9:21 am #

    thank you for all this tips but i still notice some bandwidth usage by my anti virus that has network monitoring “ESET Smart Security” like svchost can you help me with that

  4. Josh November 4, 2015 at 11:07 am #

    Thank you so much for making this article. I have Windows 10 at work but at my home I get 35 GB per month so I have been holding off to upgrade because of the reports of heavy data usage. Thanks again.

  5. subaselva November 22, 2015 at 2:51 am #


  6. Carolyn December 2, 2015 at 1:40 pm #

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart! New Windows 10 machine and I ONLY have metered data. YIKES!!

    • Andre Da Costa December 12, 2015 at 7:26 am #

      You are welcome Carolyn. I notice Windows 10 will reset the Metered Connection option sometimes, so check it periodically.

  7. behan December 9, 2015 at 11:43 am #

    Thank you Andre! Like others, I’m only on metered data, and it is HUGE to have this advice.

    • Andre Da Costa December 12, 2015 at 7:37 am #

      Thanks behan, I hope Microsoft does more work in this area to optimize Windows 10 for limited bandwidth connections.

  8. Mike Webster December 10, 2015 at 11:40 am #

    My metered plan gives me only 5 GB per month, and I enhance it with whatever free wifi is being offered by the marinas and restaurants I visit. So this article could be very important for me. Thanks for writing it.

    • Steve Krause December 11, 2015 at 7:44 am #

      Awesome! Glad it was helpful! Thnx for the feedback, we appreciate it.

  9. teresaq December 11, 2015 at 9:01 pm #

    I was freaking out as I couldn’t afford the ticking meter! Thanks so much! By the way, I hate W10. I bought this used and it was already installed. If I knew how to roll back to previous windows and that PC would survive I so would do it!

  10. Ashish December 18, 2015 at 4:11 am #

    Thank you so much ….

  11. Dylan January 1, 2016 at 3:58 am #

    Thanks, by doing these steps it has helped a lot, but for some reason svchost.exe still goes a data killing spree. No idea how to stop it.

  12. david January 7, 2016 at 3:37 am #

    notited somthing strange with data couple days ago. havnt tested it yet but i hope this is correct.

  13. joy January 9, 2016 at 12:48 am #

    That is very helpful for my laptop. I am follow introduction that is worked my pc .

    Thank you.

  14. Prasida January 18, 2016 at 6:03 am #

    Thank you very much Andre! The tips are very useful. Applied them today, let me see the results. 🙂

  15. saiful bashar February 12, 2016 at 6:56 pm #

    Thank u very much for writing this. I searched for solution but this was the best.

  16. dre February 22, 2016 at 3:03 am #

    wow i really appreciate this advised…though it came just when i had already lost a considerable amount of data…very thatnkful anyways

  17. Manas March 2, 2016 at 3:30 am #

    Thanx bro….it was really very helpful for me

  18. Franco De Lange March 2, 2016 at 12:04 pm #

    Awesomeness, great post!!

  19. sueh March 9, 2016 at 12:48 am #

    I have being search heaps of sites to save data. Yours is the best so far. I have noticed a huge improvement in my data usage

  20. Rameshwar Rathnam March 10, 2016 at 2:02 am #

    Thank you Andre, Was great help.

  21. Andre Da Costa March 10, 2016 at 6:08 am #

    You are welcome everyone.

  22. Dana March 12, 2016 at 6:23 am #

    Thanks for all steps, it worked for me I have 4 gigabyte in my plan monthly with LTE broadband when I’m outside home , but when I come back home all my devices will connect to ADSL router should I rollback all settings to the first to get all updates and notifications!! Microsoft should think greater then that

  23. Ayat March 16, 2016 at 10:06 pm #


  24. sriharsha March 17, 2016 at 11:20 am #

    Thanks a lot. Info helps a lot.

  25. Sheridan C Ernstmeyer March 30, 2016 at 12:35 pm #

    Well I’ve done most of this but when I follow the very first path I don’t have an option to toggle to metered. Im on a mobile pay-as-you-go hotspot. I usually but a gigayte at a time which lasts 2 weeks. I’m about to but the the 428th one in 4 days. I didn’t even want Windows 10 it just drugging installed. I’m ready to sue Microsoft

    • Andre Da Costa March 30, 2016 at 5:20 pm #

      Well, that is a pay as you got hot spot. The instructions in this article pertain to mobile cellular data. You can use some of the additional instructions to help limit Windows 10 data usage. I would go back into Start > Settings > Network > Wi-Fi > Advanced Options

      Metered Connection should be the second option.

  26. Tharaka April 12, 2016 at 1:51 am #

    even though i used all the above tips, still my data usage is very high specially when i log into my face book account. If i stay 1 minute in my face book account, it will say that approximately 10 Mb will be received. why is that?? please give me a advice… normally i’m using google chrome.but for internet explorer also situation is the same.

  27. Archit agarwal April 19, 2016 at 4:04 am #

    thanxs man it totally helps me!!

  28. Chandu May 8, 2016 at 8:29 am #

    Thank you very much.. Very simplistic blog!

  29. Mehala May 15, 2016 at 5:55 pm #

    Thanks Andy its a great information..

  30. Mcdavid May 24, 2016 at 1:25 pm #

    Thanks, it worked. My pc takes all my data just for update.

  31. Sam May 26, 2016 at 3:34 am #

    I discovered that the toggle for ‘Set as metered connection’ can only be seen if you are on WiFi and NOT if you are using mobile broadband data. Also I notice that the ‘Set as metered connection’ toggle seems to automatically default back to ‘off’, even when I have previously switched it on when I had access to WiFi (which is not often). So it doesn’t stay on! Which means I have no control over it at all! It’s unbelievable that a facility for limiting data usage cannot be accessed when using mobile data!! Question: is there some other way to access this toggle if you don’t have WiFi? Please can someone help with this because in literally 10 mins I’ve used up 85mb of my data allowance!

    • Yogesh Lokhande July 6, 2016 at 4:03 am #

      also had same problem using windows 10
      Can anybody have answer of following

      Question: is there some other way to access this toggle if you don’t have WiFi? Please can someone help with this because in literally 10 mins I’ve used up 85mb of my data allowance!

    • merlin7777777 August 14, 2016 at 11:37 am #

      I have the same problem with it defaulting back to off. Have you found a solution yet?

  32. Venkat May 31, 2016 at 1:01 pm #

    Thanks a lot Andre Da Costa !!!

  33. Q June 16, 2016 at 9:11 pm #

    Well Done!

  34. Sugura June 22, 2016 at 1:25 am #

    Thanks it really helped

  35. Riona July 13, 2016 at 11:20 am #

    I used Long Path Tool and it helped me a lot with this issues.

  36. alex gates July 19, 2016 at 2:08 pm #

    thank you so much for this article, my main reason for avoiding upgrading my laptop to Windows 10 was the “data gobbling” of my recently purchased Winsdows 10 nextbook. That, and the complicated personalizing. I have no use for all the bells and whistles and use very few of MS programs/applets, but it has been a happy learning curve, though still a way to go.

  37. Tonio July 29, 2016 at 9:08 am #

    thank you so much was wondering why my pc consumer so much mb this really cleared up some things for me.

  38. ED July 31, 2016 at 10:48 am #

    I thank you immensely Andre. You made my day.

  39. JP August 10, 2016 at 6:49 am #

    It’s 100% working… Thanks

  40. a windows 10 user August 13, 2016 at 10:47 am #


  41. Vikas August 21, 2016 at 10:57 pm #

    Dear Andre, I recently installed a new windows 10 pro( took it from my friend on a pen drive bootable with crack). I have disabled every option above as told by you. Upgrades are on DEFER. No website is open. No other programs are installed. Still as soon as i connect to my mobile dongle internet, the data starts running at 3 or 4 mbps , no idea where it is going when no program is running. ( No metered connection option showing so far). Thanks..

  42. Diane August 30, 2016 at 10:00 am #

    Hi. I want to sync my IPhone-pictures only-up to my Windows 10 after I stop its data sucking. Do you know if I can do the pictures and videos only?

  43. Mykk Freeman September 7, 2016 at 3:49 am #

    Under internet, network in settings, you can check your data usage. it shows which aps use the most data. In that column of apps is an app title “SYSTEM” please help me.. What is that app, why is it eating data like crazy.. how do i turn it off.. it is using mb’s faster than a speeding bullet.. please HELP

  44. Max Abraham James September 14, 2016 at 10:14 am #

    Could anyone suggest a method to reduce background data consumption in a dial-up connection in Windows 10?

  45. Abhi September 20, 2016 at 5:01 am #

    Hi Mat, Thanks for the nice article and for your help. But as above I use broadband for internet and have plugged a LAN cable into my laptop (from the modem) so my internet works from Ethernet account, not using Wifi as my laptop generally sits at a same place. Here from Ethernet also, I am not able to see the ‘Metered’ connection. Is there any work around of this..? Is there no any way so we can stop the Windows update..? this is really making me SAD as Windows 10 eats up my all limit :(.

  46. Rykel Lim September 21, 2016 at 6:48 am #

    And yet Windows 10 supposedly has a TABLET mode!

  47. noname September 28, 2016 at 3:45 am #

    thanks man

  48. Rob W October 14, 2016 at 3:37 pm #

    I’m done with Windows 10. So fed up with the constant huge updates. Not only does it chew up our data each month, it slows everyone’s access because the OS is using bandwidth, not just the browser. It also eventually kills the OS. My laptop has just died because of a bad update and I needed it this week. I’m going to try using Ubuntu Linux as my main OS instead.
    We have a 6 person family and there are multiple devices so these issues are intolerable.

  49. Rob W October 14, 2016 at 3:39 pm #

    I’ll also add, if we have to turn off updates in Windows 10 because it causes problems, why not stick with Windows 7 instead? What’s the difference if Microsoft stop supporting it?

    • Steve Krause October 15, 2016 at 12:23 am #

      The reasons I upgrade are:

      1 – Security Updates. Microsoft patches security exploits monthly for all its products including the OS, Office, and other components.
      2 – Hardware Drivers are updated at times and require the latest OS.
      3 – Some Software will not install on Windows 7 (eventually)…
      4 – I blog about tech so I need the latest. 😉
      5 – I actually like Windows 10. It took a few weeks to get used to it but now, I couldn’t imagine going back to Windows 7.

      So, depending on what you are doing, there’s no reason you can’t stay with Windows 7 until you decide to buy a new rig. I know for one of my old Dell tablets, it’s running Windows 8 just fine and I have no plans to EVERY update it. Plus, I’m certain Win 10 will brick it anyway. 😉

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