Last week we looked at how to monitor data usage in Windows 10. This week, we’ll show you how to minimize that usage to get the most out of your metered connection.
Postpone Windows Updates
As we have discussed in past articles, Windows Updates are very important for maintaining a secure system. So why are we discussing how to disable them? Because Microsoft has changed the way automatic updates work. In the past, Windows Updates were downloaded directly from Microsoft servers. In Windows 10, your computer can now download and upload updates to and from other computers, both on the Internet and on your own local network. This method can be more efficient due to the fact that if one Windows 10 computer downloads an update, the one next to it won’t have to. This feature can also be a problem if you’re using a metered connection as some of the Windows 10 updates (new build versions especially) can be over 3GB in size. The good news is that there is a simple way to fix this. All you need to do is to set your wireless connection as a metered connection as we showed you last week. Missed that article? Here’s how you do that. To mark a wireless connection as a metered connection in Windows 10, first connect to the network, then click on Start > Settings > Network & Internet > Wifi > Advanced options and enable Set as metered connection.
Are you on a metered connection but unable to use it wirelessly? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Although Windows 10 currently doesn’t allow you to set a wired connection as a metered connection you can still disable the various Windows features that consume your data. First, you’ll need to disable the Automatic Peer-to-Peer Update Sharing feature. To do this, click on Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > Advanced Options. Now, click on Choose How Updates are Delivered and either select PCs on my local network or simply disable this option entirely.
Please remember that changing these settings will disable automatic updates. If you are using these instructions, consider making at least a monthly trip to your favorite WiFi hotspot and spend some time updating your computer.
Disable App Updates & Live Tiles
The Windows Store automatically updates apps you have purchased. As with Windows Updates, setting your wireless connection as a metered connection will disable this feature. To disable it for a wired connection, open the Windows Store app (it looks like a shopping bag with the Windows logo on it), then tap or click on your profile picture (it’s at the left end of the Search bar) and click on Settings. Click on the Update apps automatically switch so it says Off.
Next, you’ll want to turn off the Live Tiles feature in the start menu. Please note that if you are using the Weather, News, Money or other “live” apps that they will no longer show you current data until you open the app. To disable to live data feed on an app tile simply right-click on the tile then click on More, Turn live tile off.
Some Final Thoughts on Saving Data
Most large data consumption comes by browsing sites and viewing content that consumes large amounts of data. Sites like YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu are prime culprits because video needs a large data stream. You can minimize this effect by watching lower quality videos. Most video sites will adjust your video quality based on your connection speed but you can manually change the quality to save on data consumption, even if you’re on a fast connection.
Other culprits in data consumption are file-sharing programs like uTorrent, BearShare, LimeWire, etc. File-sharing programs not only download files but also upload them to other users. Using these programs can also be illegal if used to download copyrighted materials. Finally, remember that malware infections can use tremendous volumes of data because they may not only infect your computer, but they often use your computer and Internet connection to infect other computers. If you’re on a metered connection and find yourself going over your data allotment, you may want to bring your computer in for service. You should also consider investing in a quality anti-malware program such as Emsisoft Anti-malware. As my mother would say, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!”
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