How to reduce data usage on Windows 10

This post is also available in: Italian

The need to save mobile data is often ignored by desktop operating systems, because in most cases they do not use metered connections, unlike tablets and smartphones.

However, many students or off-site workers are forced to subscribe limited data plans, and they connect to the internet by using internet keys, portable hotspots or by using the Wi-Fi tethering of their smartphones.

The first problem that arises by using a limited data plan on a computer is the fact that the updates of the operating system and other programs, such as antiviruses, are started automatically, drying up in a few moments all the available traffic and causing many hardships.

Windows 10, despite the automatic updates policy, has given importance to this need, introducing a feature that allows you to reduce data usage while using metered connections, by blocking automatic updates and optimizing overall consumption. This feature is available only for Wi-Fi networks, but, surprisingly, not for USB networks.
Let’s see how to activate this function and what are the tips that could help you to save mobile data while using a metered connection on your Windows 10 PC.

Tip  #1: Set the Wi-Fi connection as metered

  • Click on the Wi-Fi icon on the taskbar at the bottom right side of the screen and select Network settings (alternatively, you can reach the menu from Start > Settings > Network and internet > Wi-Fi);
  • Click on the network you are connected;
  • Turn the slider on under “Set as metered connection”,which will enable the function.


Tip  #2: “Instruct” the PC on what to do when the “metered connection” is enabled

Setting the connection as a metered one is useful, but you would have to check that the system is effectively avoiding downloading updates or synchronizing data when connected.
In this regard, go to Settings> Devices and check that under “Printers & Scanners” and “Attached Devices”, and ensure that the switch under “Download with metered connections” is off.

reduce data usage on Windows 10

This prevents that the drivers of these devices are updated when you are using a limited data plan.

Tip  #3: Download Opera browser

Another trick that will help you to save a lot of data when surfing the internet is to install the Opera browser, which has become famous because of its ability to compress packet data, thanks to the transfer of data flows on Opera’s servers and their subsequent compression.


You can download Opera here. Once downloaded and installed Opera, just open it and turn on the “Opera Turbo” feature, by clicking on the Opera button on the top left, and then checking Opera Turbo. Of course, from now on, Opera will be the browser that you will use when using metered connections.

Tip  #4: Disable automatic antivirus updates

This is a bit drastic solution and perhaps a bit dangerous but, in principle, you should not run many risk if you turn off automatic updates for a few days and you care to manually update the antivirus every time you can connect to an ADSL network.

Tip  #5: Disable automatic cloud synchronization

If you are using cloud services such as Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox and so on, disabling the automatic syncronization could help to save mobile data.


Tip  #6: Try not to waste data for things that can be delayed!

If your connection is limited, and you are using the network both for leisure and business purposes, try not to be mesmerized by the scroll of Facebook news, that consumes much data, subtracting it to more important things!

Also remember to keep an eye on the remaining traffic.

These are only some of the tricks that you can follow to save as much data as possible; if you have other tips to suggest, please write them in the comments below!

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2 thoughts on “How to reduce data usage on Windows 10

  • November 29, 2016 at 8:36 pm

    Even though I have windows 10, My page is not set up like you show, It shows titles including:
    WiFi sense
    Hot Spot networks
    I’m just disgusted that Ive wasted 2G of data doing nothing. I’m trying to complete a search or some research but Ive not been on very long at all, and I feel like my data is being vacuumed away….
    I don’t know what to do.

    • November 30, 2016 at 11:45 am

      Send a picture of your wifi’s page.


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