Enable Metered Connections In Windows 8/8.1/10 To Save Internet Bandwidth

Metered connections is one of the features of Windows 8 which was not present in Windows 7 or earlier Operating Systems. This setting has been a life saver for me several times. Through metered connection, I can choose whether Windows system should use the Internet resources or not. We can limit the Internet bandwidth used by Windows 8 or later Operating Systems through metered connection settings.

If you are a power user, you must have seen a process svchost.exe (netsvcs) using your Internet bandwidth. This may be stopped by setting your connection as a metered connection in Windows.

What does a metered connection do?

A metered connection will restrict applications from using extra Internet bandwidth. It especially does the following:

  • Windows Update will only download priority updates.
  • Apps downloading from Windows Store will be paused.
  • Start Screen tiles will stop updating live data from the Internet.
  • Offline files will not synchronize automatically through the Internet.

Setting a Metered connection in Windows 8/8.1/10

Configuration settings of metered connections are almost the same in Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10. The screenshots in this article are taken on a Windows 8 PC.

Setting a network connection in Windows 8 as metered connection is pretty easy. Just follow the step by step information given below:

  1. Go to the Charms bar (Windows Key + i)
  2. Select Change PC Settings
    Metered Connection - Change PC Settings
  3. Select Network from the left hand menu
    Metered Connection - Network Settings
  4. You will get a list of network connections on the right hand pane. Select the connection you want to change to metered connection
    Metered Connection - Select Network Connection
  5. Set the “Set as metered connection” setting to On.
    Metered Connection - Set as metered connection

To disable the metered connection setting on any network connection, just follow the same steps and at the last step, just set the metered connection setting to off.

Please note that Ethernet networks can’t be set as metered connections. You will need to have a wireless connection to set it as a metered connection.

Disable synchronization and device updates under a metered connection

There are a few settings you can configure to save more bandwidth than the default settings.

Disable OneDrive Sync Settings

Windows 8 or above have Microsoft OneDrive integrated into the Operating System. So OneDrive always keeps on synchronizing data which consumes a considerable amount of bandwidth. You may turn it off by following the steps below:

  1. Go to Charms bar –> Settings (Windows Key + i) –> Change PC Settings
  2. Select OneDrive from the left side menu and then select Metered Connections from the left side menu
  3. On the right hand pane, under Sync settings, turn both settings to off.
    Metered Connection - OneDrive Settings

Turn off device updates

Turning off device updates will prevent Windows from downloading information for new device drivers and updating the drivers on a metered connection.

  1. Go to Charms bar –> Settings (Windows Key + i) –> Change PC Settings
  2. Select PC and Devices from the left side menu
  3. Select Devices and make sure Download over metered connections is set to off.
    Metered Connection - Change Device Settings

Disable Search Suggestions and Bing Search Results

If you use Windows Search in Windows 8 or above, you will notice that it is powered by Bing as you’ll get web results along with the local search results. You can turn this search feature off on metered connections.

  1. Go to Charms bar –> Settings (Windows Key + i) –> Change PC Settings
  2. Select Search and Apps from the left side menu
  3. Select Search from the left side menu and turn off both settings under Metered Connections
    Metered Connection - Change Bing Search settings

Tracking data usage on a metered connection

Windows provides a very basic calculation on data usage over a metered connection. It will only list down the amount of data that has been downloaded and uploaded over the connection. If you want more details, I recommend a free utility called NetWorx which gives a lot of information as well as simple upload and download data usage.

To turn on tracking of data usage on a metered connection, do the following:

  1. Click or tap on Network Connections icon in the system tray
  2. Right click the network you want and select Show Estimated Data Usage
    Metered Connection - Show estimated data usage
  3. Left clicking on the network will show you the estimated data usage
    Metered Connection - Estimated data usage

I hope I have covered most of the settings of Metered Connections in Windows. If I have missed anything or you have any suggestions, we are always open on discussions in the comments below.

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Usman Khurshid
Usman Khurshid is a seasoned IT professional. He has been working in the IT industry for the last 15 years. From making a simple network including physical cabling to consulting for SMEs about cloud computing, he has vast experience in the computing industry. He is also certified in Microsoft Technologies (MCTS and MCSA) and also Cisco Certified Professional on Routing and Switching.