Windows 10 Data Usage

This information is specifically for those who are using Windows 10. Some people have connected their Windows 10 to mobile hotspots and later complain about their data finishing; and blaming the MNOs (Mobile Network Operators) for it. On most occasions, that’s a false accusation – the problem may lie with Windows 10.

As you probably might know, when Microsoft and all these big companies are coming up with their products, they don’t factor developing countries into their designs – most of the times. And who can blame them, when piracy is high in those countries.

By default Windows 10 would download patches and security updates for your machine as long as they’re available and you’re connected to the internet without notifying you – that’s because connections are by default not metered. They also know that some people might connect to internet connection that have limited data plans. So, they came up with something called Metered Connection. This is accessible via Settings (Start -> Settings -> Network & Internet -> Wi-Fi -> Advanced Options). Unfortunately, this is set to OFF by default, because Windows 10 is designed for PCs with unlimited internet connections. If you set it ON, the connection becomes metered and you’re basically telling Windows 10 that you don’t want it to use your data anyhow – you want to have control.

A metered connection means that Windows 10 will disable downloading of automatic updates, automatic downloading of app updates and peer-to-peer uploading of updates, etc.. Also, apps that could read this setting could stop downloading for metered connection. BitTorrent apps that could read this setting could potentially stop downloading to ensure that your data is not consumed.

In conclusion, if your Windows 10 is connected to a mobile hotspot or a fixed broadband connection which is capped (Vodafone Ghana comes to mind), it is probably best if you set the connection to a metered one. In this way, you determine when to download updates and the likes by manually going to settings to do it. That’s what I normally do.

Note: This post first appeared on my Facebook timeline on 13 July 2016 when I wrote it.

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