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Is Windows 10 wasting your internet bandwidth? Here’s how to check, and what you can do to stop it.

Windows 10 brought about some big changes when it launched in 2015, many of which related to its focus on connectivity and interoperability. This is an operating system designed for the internet age — and that requires bandwidth.

Whether you know about it or not, Windows 10 may well be wasting your bandwidth. This could leave you without internet access, or responsible for extra charges for the data Why Do Data Caps Exist and How Can You Bypass Them? Why Do Data Caps Exist and How Can You Bypass Them? ISP and mobile data caps are the bane of everyday Internet users. Why do these exist? Are there any ways you can get around them? Here's what we know. Read More , so be aware of the methods employed by the operating system (OS) and the steps you can take to combat them.

Here’s an explanation of how Windows 10 could be squandering your bandwidth, and some strategies on how to cut down the waste.

1. Peer-to-peer Downloads

Microsoft made no secret of its intention to distribute Windows 10 to as many devices as possible How to Toggle the Touchscreen in Windows 10 How to Toggle the Touchscreen in Windows 10 Yes, you can turn your touchscreen on and off! We show you how it's done and how to set up a shortcut to make it convenient. Read More , and the company is making full use of the legion of systems that already have the OS installed. To distribute the downloads (and possibly save costs on Microsoft’s end), your PC might grab files from other users, rather than downloading them from a central Microsoft server. This is known as a peer-to-peer (P2P) download, the same technique that facilitates torrenting.

P2P can be a real boon, if central servers are at capacity during peak download times — but anyone with limited bandwidth might find that they run through their allocation very quickly, if they’re the one distributing updates to other users. Here’s how to turn this option off.

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choose how updates are delivered

First, type Windows Update Settings into the search bar and open the corresponding result. Click Advanced Options, then Choose how updates are delivered. Turn the toggle switch to Off, and you can rest safe in the knowledge that you’re bandwidth isn’t being used to help others make the upgrade 5 Unintended Consequences of Windows 10 Upgradegate 5 Unintended Consequences of Windows 10 Upgradegate Microsoft is ruining everything with Windows 10. The upgrade disaster has unintended consequences for Microsoft and its customers. We talk about how Microsoft's tactics violate user trust and decreases security, among other issues. Read More .

However, if you have several computers that need to be kept up-to-date on the same local network, you might consider setting the toggle switch to On and making sure that the radio toggle is set to PCs on my local network. This means that you would only have to download the install files from the internet once, transferring it between your systems afterward without using up more bandwidth.

2. Allocated Space on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1

Thanks to Microsoft’s zealous approach to building the user base of Windows 10, the latest version of the OS might be using up your bandwidth, even if you’re using an earlier version of Windows 5 Ways Windows 8.1 Can Make You More Productive 5 Ways Windows 8.1 Can Make You More Productive Who would ever want to buy a new computer and be forced to start using Windows 8? Well, this guy right here for one. Turns out Windows 8.1 is amazing for productivity! Let me explain... Read More . If your computer is set to download updates automatically, it might download around 3 GB of installation files without asking permission.

To change these settings, search for Windows Update and select the corresponding result. You might even catch your PC in the act of downloading Windows 10, so make sure to click Stop Download if that is the case.

Upgrade to Windows 10 in Windows 7 Download

Next, click Change settings and head to the Recommended updates section. The check box labelled Give me recommended updates the same way I receive important updates should be unticked — click OK to confirm your changes, if necessary.

Now head back to the Windows Update landing page and select Check for updates to see whether or not your system has already downloaded the installation package. Assuming it hasn’t, click Show all available updates and click on the Optional category.

Hide Windows 10 Update

Find the entry titled Upgrade to Windows 10… and uncheck the box to its left. Next, right-click it and select Hide update — you will likely need administrator privileges to do so. This will ensure that the Windows 10 package isn’t downloaded while you’re installing optional updates.

3. OneDrive Transfers

OneDrive was among the features that Microsoft was really eager to push with Windows 10, and as such it’s a very prominent element of the OS — albeit one that you can disable and replace How to Disable & Replace OneDrive in Windows 10 How to Disable & Replace OneDrive in Windows 10 OneDrive is deeply integrated in Windows 10 and Microsoft might tell you that removing it is not possible. Well, not unless you're willing to dig deep. We show you how to extract OneDrive from Windows... Read More if necessary. Many users rely on the service to access important files when they’re not on their primary computer, but it can be something of a bandwidth hog if left unchecked.

Files in specified folders are automatically uploaded to the OneDrive service, and files stored online can be downloaded automatically in much the same way. This can amount to several gigabytes worth of transfers very quickly, but there’s an option to put some limits in place — so long as you’re a member of the Insider Preview program. This functionality is expected to be available to all users as of the Anniversary Update Windows 10 Anniversary Update Due in July & These Are Its Best Features Windows 10 Anniversary Update Due in July & These Are Its Best Features You will love the Windows 10 Anniversary Update! The second big upgrade to Windows 10 since its launch in July 2015 is expected this summer. Here we highlight the most exciting features. Read More .

onedrive settings

First, right-click the OneDrive icon in your system tray and select Settings. Then head to the Network tab.

onedrive bandwidth settings

Switch each toggle to Limit to: and specify a maximum rate. The exact figure will depend on the bandwidth available to you, and it might take a little bit of trial-and-error to find what works for you.

4. Other App Processes

While OneDrive at least offers some control over how much data it uploads and downloads, other apps don’t offer similar settings. You can use a third-party app like NetBalancer to monitor and manage the bandwidth used by individual programs, but you can also cut out the middle man by delving into PowerShell Command Prompt vs. Windows PowerShell: What's the Difference? Command Prompt vs. Windows PowerShell: What's the Difference? Windows users can get by without using either the Command Prompt or PowerShell. But with Windows 10 and new features around the corner, maybe it's about time we learned. Read More .

run powershell as admin

Type PowerShell into the search bar (Windows key + Q), right-click the result labelled Windows PowerShell and select Run as Administrator. We will create a Quality of Service rule that throttles how much bandwidth is available to a particular piece of software, but first you’ll need to find out the name of the .exe that you’re looking to limit — for this example I’m going to pick Cortana, which Windows refers to as SearchUI.exe.

Enter the following string into the PowerShell window, changing the ‘-Name’ and ‘-AppPathNameMatchCondition’ values as suitable:

New-NetQosPolicy -Name CortanaBandwidth -AppPathNameMatchCondition SearchUI.exe -IPProtocolMatchCondition Both -NetworkProfile All -ThrottleRateActionBitsPerSecond 5000000.

You can also change the ‘-ThrottleRateActionBitsPerSecond’ value to something higher or lower, depending on the program being throttled. The above string will result in a limit of 5 Mbps.

To review this policy, open up Powershell and input:

Get-NetQosPolicy -Name CortanaBandwidth

To delete the policy, use the command:

Remove-NetQosPolicy -Name CortanaBandwidth

Reclaim Your Bandwidth

Whether it’s a Twitter timeline peppered with GIFs or a playlist of the latest YouTube videos The Most Disliked YouTube Videos of All Time (And Why You Hate Them) The Most Disliked YouTube Videos of All Time (And Why You Hate Them) We all experience negative reactions to things on occasion. However, thanks to its Dislike button, YouTube allows us to publicly display those negative feelings. Sorry, YouTubers, but your videos suck. Read More , the content we consume on the internet carries larger file sizes than ever before — and that makes bandwidth limits all the more important.

That’s why it’s a smart idea to make sure Windows 10 isn’t hogging more of your allowance than it should be. Just a few minutes tweaking some settings is enough to confirm that Microsoft isn’t siphoning off your bandwidth, so consider making these changes before you reach your limit.

Do you have any tips on how to prevent Windows 10 from wasting bandwidth? Why not head into our comments section to see if you can help other issues remedy their issues?

  1. Strafniki
    July 9, 2016 at 3:07 am

    Netbalancer sucks nowadays.
    Use Glasswire instead.

  2. Abd
    June 30, 2016 at 1:01 am

    One if you "four" windows 10 troubles is none windows 10's , it linked to previous versions as you said ! So it only 3 things and only the Cloud thing realy cuts off the bandwidth usage, the rest are waste of time.

    • Abd
      June 30, 2016 at 1:02 am

      *of your

  3. Cody
    June 29, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    There are some flaws in logic in this article.

    The premise is to limit how much data is used (because many of us have data caps on how much data we use per month).

    Number 3, limiting the transfer speed for One Drive isn't going to use less data. It's only going to slow it down. Stupid.

    Same with the QOS settings for Cortana.

    You're just going to slow it down.

    Why would you do this? The same amount of data will get used either way but your experience will be degraded.

    So so stupid.

  4. LenoClem
    June 28, 2016 at 10:47 pm

    NetBalancer Sucks!

  5. LenoClem
    June 28, 2016 at 10:22 pm

    Reason No.1 has nothing to do with internet bandwidth and the other three pertain to important security and program updates as well as OneDrive syncing the users files to the cloud, which you don't have to use if you don't want to. This whole article is just an advertisement for NetBalancer.

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