How to configure Windows 10 to use less data

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Configure Windows 10 To Use Less Data

The official public release of Windows 10 three years ago brought many unexpected changes, most of which are good. But then, like every other man-made things there are few hiccups and negatives here and there that most users found intimidating, especially when compared with Microsoft most successful operating system in the last decade, Windows 7.

One of these is lack of flexibility and the inability to easily control how Windows 10 uses network data. First time users particularly will find it very difficult to use a small amount of data to do anything "visible" on Windows 10 if not configured properly. I'm talking about using 1GB of internet data within 30 minutes without doing anything, without even opening any browser.

But with proper configurations and restrictions set in place, you will be able to use the same amount of data far much longer without any hidden process consuming your data without your permission. Applying these configurations and restrictions is what I will be showing Windows 10 users today.

In Windows 10, Microsoft has up its game in privacy and security (which is a good thing) and has taken full measures to make compulsory some optional features that users can "easily" override in Windows 7, 8 and 8.1. The flexibility of "deciding to" and "not deciding to" enable certain features has deteriorated with few options left for users to have full control of. Among these is Windows Update.

To make the best use of your purchased data, some Windows 10 features will need to be disabled. Also, you will need to make sure that your network connected device is checked as Metered. "Metered" and "Unmetered" is Windows way of distinguishing between "Paid" and "Free" data. When a network connection is marked as unmetered (free), all background processes will be given full access to make use of the connection, while marking the connection as metered will restrict those access.

Here are three things you need to do on your Windows 10 device to make it consume less data:

1. Disable Windows Update

Disable Windows Update

Although Microsoft does not provide any official means of totally disabling Windows Updates on Windows 10, there is a bypass to permanently or temporarily turn it off. Follow the steps below:

  • Right-Click the Start Menu, select "Run", enter "services.msc" in the text box that appears, then click OK
  • A list of items will show up, search for "Windows Update"
  • Right-Click on Windows Update then select "Properties"
  • Click the drop-down box opposite "Startup type" and choose "Disabled"
  • Click OK to save

PS: Disabling Windows Update can make a device vulnerable to attack. Also, you will stop receiving latest patches and drivers update for your computer hardware components and softwares. I suggest you turn it on anytime you have access to a free public Wi-Fi.

2. Set Your Device Connection As Metered

Set data connection as metered

As I previously pointed out, setting your WiFi network as metered will stop some background process from eating up your data. Here is how to do it:

  • Click the Start Menu and select "Settings"
  • Go to "Network & Internet"
  • Click "Wi-Fi"
  • Select "Manage known networks"
  • Choose the WiFi network you want to set as metered then click "Properties"
  • Tap the small switch box beneath the "Set as metered connection" option to turn on. You can do likewise for other known WiFi connections

3. Disable Background Apps and Other Windows Settings

Disable background apps

Microsoft gives Windows 10 users the option to disable some background process that are not always needed. These includes some Windows Store (or Microsoft Store) applications and some built-in Windows apps. Here is how:

  • Click the Start Menu and select "Settings"
  • Go to "Privacy"
  • Select "Background apps" from the menus on the right
  • The list of apps that runs in the background on your Windows 10 PC will be presented. Turn off the ones you do not use.

Furthermore, to effectively saves as much data as possible you will need to restrict the Windows Feedback. This can be found under "Privacy" in Settings.

Change Windows Feedback settings
  • Click the Start Menu and select "Settings"
  • Go to "Privacy"
  • Select "Feedback & diagnostics" from the menus on the right
  • For "Windows should ask for my feedback", select Never.
  • For "Diagnostic and usage data", select Basic

After applying the given steps your data should last thrice as much as it used to be when browsing on your PC.

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