Manage internet data usage and Windows updates in Windows 10

Technical Level : Intermediate

Summary

Users with limited internet data plans can significantly reduce undesirable internet use by Windows 10.  Amongst the measures that can be put into place is control over when Windows update runs.

I have split the article into separate sections in the hope of reducing the difficulty of studying this issue.  I have endeavoured to explain each part of the article clearly enough for those novices who are prepared, albeit with trepidation, to study the article section-by-section, paragraph-by-paragraph, sentence-by-sentence.

1  Set the internet connection to metered - WiFi, ethernet & other types of connection - control Windows update

Appendix A - Consider automating switching between metered & non-metered - non-essential - for those whose internet data allowance varies with the time of day [such as SatComms users]

Appendix B - Consider checking the metered property automatically - non-essential

Appendix C - Set all connection types to metered in the Registry - non-essential - for Ethernet or any other non-WiFi network connections

Appendix D - Make the most of direct Windows update downloads - non-essential

2  Run Windows Defender malware definition updates despite the metered setting - automate updating of malware definitions

3  Manage hardware driver updates & updates to their associated software - avoid potentially large hardware-related downloads

4  Avoid undesirable OneDrive & MSAccount syncing - blow away the clouds

5  Manage updates to Windows "Modern" apps - control potentially large downloads

6  Manage internet use by Windows "Modern" Apps - partially controls Apps

7  Install Windows optional features - remove the metered property if optional features need to be installed

8  Manage internet use by IE - disable predictive downloading

9  Manage internet use by other applications - check all other applications

Denis


Details

Warning - Some Windows updates reset the settings described in this Wiki article.  Running system repairs such as a "Reset" or a "Repair install" procedure can also do so.  I check each setting regularly.  I intend to further automate these checks beyond the test explained in Appendix B below but do not know when I will have time to do so.

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1  Set the internet connection to metered - WiFi, ethernet & other types of connection

1.1  If your internet connection uses your WiFi connection then there is a recognised method available to you for controlling when updates are downloaded - setting the metered property.  This can be used, for example, if you use WiFi to connect to your router or your phone's WiFi Hotspot.  You can use the metered property to manage data usage or just to give you control over when Windows updates.

1.2  I have never seen any side-effects of setting a connection to metered other than those I have addressed in the rest of this Wiki article.

1.3  You can only set the WiFi connection to metered after you have connected to it at least once unless you decide to use the Registry edit in para 1.6 below.  You can connect to a network then set it up straightaway or you can connect to it, disconnect from it then set it up later.

Settings,

Network,

WiFi,

Manage known networks,

{select the WiFi connection concerned},

Properties,

Set as metered connection

Once made, the metered setting will apply to that connection every time you use it.  You do not have to keep repeating the setting.

  • When you switch a WiFi connection to metered, the change takes effect immediately.  Any Windows update file download or App update file download already in progress will complete and no further downloads take place.
  • When you switch a WiFi connection back to non-metered, the change takes effect immediately.  Windows update searching & App updates can start straightaway.

1.4  With the connection set to metered, Windows will not search for updates automatically.  If you tell it to search [Settings, Updates] then it will do so and it will then tell you which updates are available. 

  • You can download & install the updates despite the metered setting but Windows will not force you to do so. 
  • Otherwise you can just use the search results to tell you that it will be worthwhile getting onto another network soon so you can do the updates - I often use the free & fast WiFi in my local library for this.
  • You will sometimes see some updates proceeding straight to download & install - this is the case for updates that MS have marked with a special security categorisation and they are generally so small [judging by their rapid download time] that there is probably no point worrying about them. 
  • Apart from these special updates, you have to either accept all updates now or ignore all updates for the time being [i.e. just take no action].  You cannot pick some updates but omit others.  If you decide to leave them for now the only option you will have the next time you want to check for updates manually is to download & install all the existing updates first and only then search for new ones. 
  • We are no longer shown any estimate of update size.  This estimate was always inaccurate anyway [it was generally a worst-case size] but at least we had something to go on.  Anything labelled as a "cumulative update for Windows 10" can be 200MB to 1GB and might get even bigger in the future as more updates accumulate.  There is no special term used for major updates such as the recent 2-3GB Anniversary update [other than the updates' name but using that to decide is just guesswork] - the next one, v1703, is due in March 2017.  In order to find out the total size of the updates now, we'd need to go to the Microsoft Update Catalog [see Appendix D] to search for each one individually then add their sizes together.
  • If you sometimes get the chance of connecting to somebody else's unlimited & preferably fast data connection, such as one in your local library, but do not want to spend the rest of your life sitting there letting Windows update work its way through downloading then installing, you can download many updates directly and install them later on at a time of your choosing.  See Appendix D - Make the most of direct Windows update downloads.  A side benefit of downloading updates directly is that you then have the update ready for use without having to repeat the download.  If the update fails or if you later restore an older system image, you have the means to re-update without further ado.

1.5  If you have your connection set to metered then you need to obtain Windows updates one way or another to take advantage of fixes to recently-identified security vulnerabilities in the OS itself. 

  • Over 90% of malware takes advantage of non-updated OSs and simply fails to achieve anything on fully-updated OSs.  The main point of having Windows Defender or another anti-malware application is to try to guard against the remaining 10% of malware that can overcome the OS's intrinsic defences. 
  • I run Windows update manually at least once a month [normally once a week]. 
  • I have seen a strange effect from not updating at least monthly.  On both of my computers about a month after my last update, the CPU usage suddenly leapt up to almost 100% and stayed there for days making the computers almost unusable.  Task manager allowed me to see that update-related services were responsible even though there was no attempt to download any updates.  During this period, these services would not give way to applications I wanted to run so two minute tasks were taking over an hour.
  • The metered setting means I can get updated when I want but I do not get bounced with updates unless I have prepared for the event [by making a new system image & checking my repair disk/ installation disk still works in case I need to restore that pre-update system image i.e. if the updates wound my computer]. 
  • I have to accept that I am less than fully protected against malware inbetween manual updates.

1.6  Non-WiFi connections  The Windows user interface does not provide a method for setting the metered property for individual Ethernet connections but it can be done by editing the Registry to set the default property to metered for all Ethernet connections - see Appendix C.  There is nothing difficult about applying this Registry change - you take ownership of a Registry "key" [i.e. a section of it] then just change its values.  Naturally, the normal warnings about making a full Registry backup beforehand apply. 

     
  • In addition to having an entry for setting ethernet to metered, the same Registry section has a "default" entry and that can be used to set all types of connection to metered.
  • The metered property is already set by default for cellular [3G & 4G] connections and you will see their entries in the same Registry section. 
  • As you will also see, this Registry key can also be used to set all WiFi connections to metered but if you have altered any of them individually then that alteration can survive this Registry change.
  • When you switch an ethernet connection to metered, the change takes effect immediately.  Any Windows update file download or App update file download already in progress will complete and no further downloads take place.
  • When you switch an ethernet connection back to non-metered, the change takes effect only after the next reboot.  No automatic Windows update searching or App updates will take place until that reboot.

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Appendix A - Consider automating switching between metered & non-metered

If you are not interested in automatic switching then skip this appendix now.  Automatic switching is not straightforward.

A.1  Automatically switch WiFi connections between metered and non-metered

A.1.1  I have provided a pair of batch files for switching WiFi connections between metered & non-metered at particular times of day together with instructions for setting this up in Task scheduler.  These batch files only work for WiFi connections.  Automatically switching between metered and non-metered can be useful for users of some Satellite ISPs as they often provide unlimited data periods overnight.

A.1.2  Once the WiFi connection is non-metered, Windows updates will start to run within an hour [normally sooner but there is no fixed rule about this].  Once the WiFi connection is set back to metered, Windows updates files that are already downloading will complete but no new file downloads will start.  So you need to set up the change back to metered before your data limitation comes back into force.  I have not seen it take more than a couple of minutes for downloads to stop because individual Windows updates actually consist of several separate files so each bit can be quite small - it is the file that completes downloading not the whole Windows update.

A.2  If you want to automate switching Ethernet or "default" connections between metered & non-metered then you can use these batch files instead.  These batch file will only work if the procedure in para 1.6 has been used manually first so that you are certain the Registry key has appropriate permissions.  Please do note the warning in para 1.6 concerning the need to reboot to allow switching back to non-metered to take effect and have a look at the currently-incomplete discussions in the link given in Appendix C about attempts to force immediate reversion to non-metered behaviour without having to reboot the computer {I have not yet been able to make the reversion work without a reboot}.  These batch files must be Run as Admin {right click on a batch file and this option appears}.  You can use the procedure linked to in para A.1.1 to set Task scheduler up to run this batch file automatically [the procedure includes providing for the necessary Admin permission].

The forum window can wrap the lines of code so note that the lines that appear to start with NT\ are actually continuations of the lines Windows NT\

A.2.1 Batch file to switch to metered

REG ADD "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\NetworkList\DefaultMediaCost" /v Default /t REG_DWORD /d 2 /f
REG ADD "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\NetworkList\DefaultMediaCost" /v Ethernet /t REG_DWORD /d 2 /f

A.2.2 Batch file to switch to non-metered

REG ADD "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\NetworkList\DefaultMediaCost" /v Default /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f
REG ADD "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\NetworkList\DefaultMediaCost" /v Ethernet /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f

:: The next line forces the computer to restart.  Hopefully a solution will eventually be found to avoid this

C:\Windows\System32\shutdown.exe /r /t 0

A.3.1  If you want to automate switching all WiFi connections between metered & non-metered then the situation is not straightforward at all. 

  • You can substitute /v WiFi in the above batch files but they will only work if you have never manually changed any WiFi connection metered properties before. 
  • If you have ever set a WiFi to metered manually [see para 1.3 above] then these batch files often have no effect - no error message is generated so this method is unreliable. 
  • I found that the Registry & hence the batch files could regain control if I manually set the WiFi connection back to non-metered then started again but the very fact of the failures having happened without any error report makes me too wary of this apparently simple solution. 
  • Use the batch files given in the link in para A.1 above instead because they are a reliable means of automatically switching individual WiFi connections between metered & non-metered.  You can add appropriate lines to each batch file to work through each one of your WiFi connections in turn so that all can be included in the switching.

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Appendix B - Consider checking the metered property automatically

If you are not interested in automatic testing then skip this appendix now.  Automatic testing is not straightforward.

B.1  Because some major Windows updates can reset the Registry key governing metered status, I like to run a check of the metered property automatically so I know if this resetting has taken place.  I have been humming & hahing for ages about posting this section because it is complicated to explain and because there are so many potential variations in user requirements.

B.2  This batch file tests the Registry setting for WiFi, ethernet & default connections.  It does not need any Admin ["elevated"] permissions to run. 

The forum window can wrap the lines of code so note that every real line starts with one of these

@ : :: Pause

so the line that appears to start with REG_DWORD is actually a continuation of the line /t REG_DWORD

and the line that appears to start with values] is actually a continuation of the line unexpected error values]

@prompt $g :: This line merely makes it easier to see what is going on during testing and has no functional effect
:: Initial conditions
@Set OutputFile=%Temp%\%Random%-MeteredCheck.txt
@Set /a Counter=1
@Set Alarm=Off

:CheckStatus
:: Set parameter to examine for each loop
@If %Counter% EQU 1 Set ThisCheck=WiFi
@If %Counter% EQU 2 Set ThisCheck=Ethernet
@If %Counter% EQU 3 Set ThisCheck=Default

@Reg Query "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\NetworkList\DefaultMediaCost"  /t REG_DWORD | Find "%ThisCheck%    REG_DWORD" >%OutputFile%
@set /p ThisSetting=<%OutputFile%
@If not "%ThisSetting:*x=%"=="2"  (Set Alarm=On) & GoTo EndMeteredCheck
@Set /a Counter=%Counter%+1
@If %Counter% LEQ 3 GoTo CheckStatus

:EndMeteredCheck
@del %OutputFile%
:: Report only if one or more are set to non-metered [i.e. their values were not 2 - this includes unexpected error values]
@If "%Alarm%"=="Off" Exit
@echo One or more connection types are non-metered
Pause at the end only when One or more connection types are non-metered

B.3  If you want to test the operation of the batch file then make a copy of it in which you have

  • Removed all the @ symbols
  • Removed the line del %OutputFile%
  • Replaced the word Exit with something like Pause All OK
  • Replaced the Set OutputFile=%Temp%\%Random%-MeteredCheck.txt line with a folder path in a more convenient location for testing such as Set OutputFile=%UserProfile%\Desktop\MeteredCheck.txt or Set OutputFile=D:\Desktop\MeteredCheck.txt

B.4  Potential variations  The following suggestions have all been tested.  I hope that they provide enough guidance to help you with your particular circumstances. 

B.4.1  Potential variation 1  You can avoid testing the Default network setting if you do not use it.  Replace the line @If %Counter% LEQ 3 GoTo CheckStatus with @If %Counter% LEQ 2 GoTo CheckStatus

B.4.2  Potential variation 2  You can also avoid testing the ethernet network setting if you do not use it.  Replace the line @If %Counter% LEQ 3 GoTo CheckStatus with @If %Counter% LEQ 1 GoTo CheckStatus  Note that the looping becomes redundant in this case; I have merely provided a simplistic suggestion to achieve the potential variation described.

B.4.3  Potential variation 3  If you want to test the ethernet network setting but not the others then take both these actions.  Note that the looping becomes redundant in this case; I have merely provided a simplistic suggestion to achieve the potential variation described.

-  Replace the line @If %Counter% LEQ 3 GoTo CheckStatus with @If %Counter% LEQ 2 GoTo CheckStatus

-  In the line @If %Counter% EQU 1 Set ThisCheck=WiFi replace WiFi with Ethernet

B.4.4  Potential variation 4  I do not normally use Pause lines in batch files such as the one shown above because if I have set up a batch file to tell me something important then I want to be actively informed of the result [I do not want to merely notice that a batch file icon is still showing on the taskbar when I know that that batch file only takes a moment to complete].  I have only used Pause in the batch file above so I can avoid diving into great detail about potential means of reporting things.  Personally, I use VBS [MsgBox, InputBox or WshShell.PopUpBox depending on particular circumstances] in place of Pause lines in batch files. 

-  The call can be as simple as a line in the batch file Reporter.vbs and Reporter.vbs can contain as little as MsgBox "One or more connection types are non-metered"

-  Alternatively, you can make the batch file write the VBS file and then call it up.  To do this you would insert two lines into the batch file echo MsgBox "One or more connection types are non-metered" >Reporter.vbs and then the line Reporter.vbs

-  Note that all references to Reporter will require its full path as well as its filename. 

-  Note also that Reporter.vbs can be called up as shown, the more conventional alternative line Call Reporter.vbs is not essential and actually has no effect.

-  If you have never learnt any VBS then you might prefer to stick with the simple Pause line I wrote in the above batch file.

B.5  Trigger the batch file each time the computer restarts 

I have only seen a Windows update reset the metered settings if that update has been so major as to require a computer restart.  So checking the metered settings every time the computer is restarted is sufficient.  To set this up, put the batch file in its permanent location and make a shortcut to it.  If you want to, assign a meaningful icon to the shortcut and set it to run minimised so the command window does not take up screen space while it runs.  Copy the shortcut to

C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\StartUp

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Appendix C - Set all connection types to metered in the Registry

I was originally made aware of this Registry key by How to set an Ethernet Connection as Metered.  The author of that thread has gone on to use batch files to take ownership of the Registry key but that, to my mind, is unnecessary since the permissions are only reset once in a blue moon so a manual procedure seems adequate.  But the link is there for you to consider if you wish.

Run RegEdit as Admin
Go to key HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\NetworkList\DefaultMediaCost
Right-click on the key, select Export then save the key to any convenient folder such as your Desktop. You can then use this file later to get back to where you started if you make mistakes.
Right-click on the key, select Permissions, click on Advanced
The owner is shown as TrustedInstaller, click on Change
In the text entry box, type in the word Administrators, click on Check names, OK  {Make sure you type Administrators not just Administrator}
Set the checkbox for Replace owner in subcontainers...
Click on Apply
Select the Administrators entry in the list box below [which will state their Permissions as being just Read], click on Edit
Set the checkbox for Full control, click OK
Click OK again to return to the DefaultMediaCost key in the main view
In the right-hand pane, double-click on each Value to set its Data
Set Default to 2
Set Ethernet to 2
Set WiFi to 2
Use SnippingTool to capture the new key location, Values, Data
Close RegEdit

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Appendix D - Make the most of direct Windows update downloads

If you sometimes get the chance of connecting to somebody else's free, unlimited & preferably fast data connection, such as one in your local library, but do not want to spend the rest of your life sitting there letting Windows update work its way through downloading then installing then you can still make use of the opportunity by downloading some large files.  Theses downloads can be done on your own computer or on a different one.

D.1     Cumulative updates

D.2     The latest consolidated Windows 10 installation file

D.3     Individual updates for which you already know the KB number

D.4     An example of using the direct download facility

D.1  Cumulative updates are large updates that account for the bulk of Windows update downloading activity.  If you ever had Windows 7 and had to reinstall it you will recall the endless downloading cycles & the installation of countless individual updates.  Windows 10 has a different approach.  All the security & bug fix updates are rolled up into a single update at least every month. 

  • The MS list of cumulative updates is at Windows 10 update history
  • MS do not always update this list of CUs promptly so I sometimes go straight to a search of the MS update catalog - Microsoft Update Catalog - Cumulative Update for Windows 10 Version 1607 instead to see if there is anything new there.  If I find a new CU listed then I double-check Windows 10 update history before searching for the information page of the new one using its KB number.
  • If you find a new CU in Windows 10 update history you can click on  the latest one to get to its information page.  The info page explains the CU's applicability and normally has a direct link to the relevant search results in the Microsoft update catalog service from where you can select the correct 32 or 64 bit download[s] for your computer[s].  It is important to read the CU's information page to avoid wasting time & internet data allowance downloading one that does not apply to you.
  • You'll see my advice about using the Microsoft update catalog service in para D.3 below. 
  • These downloads are big but they do get most of the work done so that you might not mind running Windows update afterwards to get the remaining updates [which might be just a few updates to MS Office for instance].  
  • Updating this way is also relatively inefficient - Windows update would select just those parts of the update that it needed but downloading it from the Microsoft update catalog service is an all or nothing choice.  But if you are on a free, fast & unlimited data connection then you can just let it get on with the job once you have initiated the download. 
  • Do not be concerned by the downloaded file's strange extension [.msu] as Windows will recognise it when you run it and will handle it correctly.  You will always need to give Admin permission for the update to be installed.

Personally, I keep each downloaded cumulative update for a month or so until I am confident that the next downloaded cumulative has installed correctly and works correctly.

D.2     The latest Windows 10 installation file is available through Download Windows 10 & Download Windows 10 Disc Image (ISO File).  

D.2.1  Decide if it is worth making  anew installation disk

  • Whether or not making a new one is worthwhile depends on which version of Windows 10 is loaded on that MS server & which version you currently have. 
  • You can find out the available version by keeping an eye out for comments in this forum or another user forum as there is no information in the download webpages to help you.  Just by way of example, last month I saw comments from several other users stating that Download Windows 10 had the Anniversary update in it so I knew it would be worthwhile visiting my local library to download it on their free & fast internet connection.  After installing that I only had minor updates to worry about on my limited data connection.
  • I have just started monitoring MSDN Subscriber Downloads as its list of "ISO" files available to download shows their release dates.  You do not need to subscribe to MSDN to see the list.  If this list is updated at the same time as Download Windows 10then we could use the information to decide if downloading from Download Windows 10 was useful.  I will not get an answer for several months [Version 1703 is expected in late March 2017].

D.2.2  Using the Media creation tool to create an installation disk

  • Use Download Windows 10 to download & install the Media creation tool then use this tool for the next stage, downloading the installation file.
  • Check for updated instructions in its companion FAQ page.  
  • Then run the Media creation tool, select the option to download for another computer even if you are on the correct computer ["Using the tool to create installation media (USB flash drive, DVD or ISO file) to install Windows 10 on a different PC"].  This choice ensures that the tool downloads the installation file rather than installing it directly.
  • You can choose the 32 bit installation file or the 64 bit installation file and you can choose the Home / Pro / Education Edition download to match what you have installed & activated already. 
  • You can also turn off its use recommended option [which detects what you have installed on the computer you are working on] and download a combined installation file - I did this once in order to make a combined installation disk [5GB or so] to use on both my 64 bit Windows 10 Home & my 32 bit Windows 10 Pro computers.
  • You can connect a USB/DVD and tell the Media creation tool to complete the whole procedure [the download & making the installation disk on the USB/DVD] or you can choose to download the "ISO" file only.
  • Once you have made the installation disk, scan it with your antimalware application just as you would for anything else you have downloaded. 
  • Once you have made the installation disk, you can uninstall the Media creation tool.  It contains a fixed reference to the current version so you will need to download & install it again in the future if you decide to make a new installation disk [your currently downloaded & installed Media creation tool would always download the same version of Windows that you have just finished downloading].

D.2.3  Using the Media creation tool to download an installation file only

  • If you choose to download only then the installation file that downloads is an "ISO" file that is, in effect, a highly compressed image of an installation disk. 
  • You can decide to download the ISO file directly without using the Media creation tool.  The latest ISO is available for direct download at Download Windows 10 Disc Image (ISO File).  At the time of writing, this link does not allow you to choose the combined x86 & x64 installation file that I referred to above; only the Media creation tool provides that option.
  • Once you have downloaded the ISO file, scan it with your antimalware application just as you would for anything else you have downloaded. 
  • If you are already familiar with integrity checks then you can compare the downloaded ISO file's SHA1 code with that given in the appropriate Details link in MSDN Subscriber Downloads.  This list does not, at the time of writing, include all possible ISO downloads.
  • You can double-click on the ISO file to "mount" it [make it a "virtual" disk] for use as an installation disk or you can use another utility to convert the ISO file into an installation disk on a USB stick or DVD. 
  • There are several utilities that can do the conversion from ISO into a disk.  I always use the badly named Windows USB-DVD Download Tool [it has nothing to do with downloading, its specialist role is to take the ISO file and use it to create an installation disk].
  • Once you have made the installation disk, you can uninstall the Media creation tool.  It contains a fixed reference to the current version so you will need to download & install it again in the future if you decide to make a new installation disk [your currently downloaded & installed Media creation tool would always download the same version of Windows that you have just finished downloading].

D.2.4  Using the installation disk

  • You can install the downloaded version on your own computer using what is variously called a Repair install or InPlace upgrade procedure whether you chose to make an installation disk or just downloaded the ISO file.  If you did make the ISO into a USB/DVD installation disk then you can use that to run a completely clean installation of Windows 10 by booting from the installation disk. 
  • The installation disk is also useful as a repair tool.  After the initial screen[s] to choose keyboard layout & regional settings, there is a screen with a large Install now control that also has a much smaller & easily overlooked Repair your computer control.  If you click on Repair your computer then you will be using the installation disk as an enhanced form of System repair disk with which you can access the Windows recovery environment.  I routinely boot from my installation disk & access the WRE when I want to restore a system image.

D.3     Individual updates for which you already know the KB number 

D3.1  If you know the KB number of an update that you know you need then you can use the Microsoft update catalog service to find it and download it.  I have posted detailed Microsoft update catalog instructions separately.  Most importantly:-

  • You will need to give Admin permission to proceed before choosing a download folder.  In earlier versions of the Catalog you had to be logged in to an Admin account instead but this requirement seems to have been dropped.
  • Previously, you had to use IE but MS have now made the site compatible for other browsers [including but not limited to Edge, Chrome, Firefox, Opera].  I have seen a couple of reports by Edge users that they still get a notification to use IE instead.
  • Unless you have been to the catalog recently, you will need to accept the installation of a small IE add-on [it takes no time at all]. 
  • Once you have downloaded an update from the catalog, scan it with your antimalware application just as you would do with any other downloaded file. 

D3.2  You will rarely be in a position to know the KB number of an update in advance to be able to download it from the catalog but I thought it would be remiss of me not to point out this method to you. 

  • You cannot easily, for example, run Windows update then track down the updates shown in its results because the next time you run Windows updates it will try to download its original list even though you have now installed some of them. 
  • You would have to clear out the update queue before using Windows update again.  There are two possible methods:-

D3.2.1  Reset Windows update, including its update queue, using the batch file in Windows Update - Reset in Windows 10 - Windows 10 Forums  Now that I have tested this recently updated [19th Oct 2016] batch file a couple of times I will always use this method.

or

D3.2.2  Reset Windows update, including its update queue, using the Control panel, Troubleshooting, Windows update troubleshooter  This often resets the update queue to allow you to start afresh but it does not always do so.  [I no longer use this method as the amended TenForums batch file always resets the update queue.]

D.4  An example of using the direct download facility

  • I am going to restore system images from a month ago on both my computers. 
  • I know which updates I will need afterwards because they are currently listed in Control panel, Programs & features, View installed updates [most of them are Office 2007 updates]. 
  • I have decided that direct downloading is worthwhile because it will save having to run Windows update then download updates on both computers. 
  • So, I am going to

- download the updates once,

- restore the system images on both computers,

- install the latest & already-downloaded CU [see D.2 above] on both computers,

- install the downloaded updates on both computers.

  • And then I can run Windows update on both computers just to get anything else that has appeared in the meantime.  Hopefully, they will all be small updates.

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2  Run Windows Defender malware definition updates despite the metered setting

2.1  I regard Windows Defender as important enough to warrant using part of my limited data allowance.   Windows Defender definition updates generally use about 1MB a day.   Windows Defender needs to be told to update as it is otherwise prevented from downloading updates on a metered connection - this can be done manually through its user interface or by setting up Task scheduler to do the job automatically.

2.2  To open Task scheduler, click on its shortcut in Start menu, All apps, Windows administrative tools.  Near the upper-left corner of its window, click on Task scheduler library.  Look on the right-hand side of the window & click on Create task... then give the task a name and set up its properties as suggested below.  You can set this new task up individually for each user [paras 2.2.1, 2.2.3] or just set it up once for all users [paras 2.2.2, 2.2.3].  I prefer to set up a task for each user because that makes the Windows Defender icon in the System tray change to its update-in-progress version  at the appropriate time so that each user can see what is happening [the update-in-progress icon does not appear if the task is set up once for all users].  Setting up tasks in Task scheduler is not difficult but doing so involves many individual settings [hence the apparent complexity of the lists that follow].

2.2.1  Set up a specific Task scheduler task for each user

General - Run only when user is logged on

or

2.2.2  Set up a common Task scheduler task for all users

General - Run whether the user is logged on or not

General - Run with highest privileges {You will need to enter the Admin password during setting up & after any subsequent edits but will not need to do so when it runs.}

2.2.3  Settings common to both options

Triggers - {Entirely up to you but do consider the following possible choices}

Triggers - Set Daily for a time when you are often connected to the internet

Triggers - Accept the default entry Recur every 1 days

Triggers - Consider setting Repeat task every and then type 4 hours in the entry box {it does not have this in its dropdown list but it accepts typed in alternatives} {I find this setting useful as the times when I am connected to the internet are fairly unpredictable and this constant repetition raises the chances that at least one instance of the task will catch me each day while I'm connected.}

Actions - Program/script     "C:\Program files\Windows defender\msascui.exe"

Actions - Arguments            -UpdateandQuickScan -hide

[There is no longer an option to update without then running a Quick scan but I have not found this to be a problem since Windows defender does not slow the system down very much during Quick scans - it generally slows it down enough to be annoying but not catastrophic]

Conditions - Clear the setting for Start the task only if the computer is on AC power {It only uses up a very small amount of battery power so there's no point in deliberately avoiding its use in DC.}

Conditions - {Entirely up to you but do consider the following possible choices}

Conditions Start only if the following network connection is available - Any connection {If you routinely use networks which always have an internet connection then this choice would be best.}

Conditions Start only if the following network connection is available - Any connection {If you routinely use several networks and several, but not all, of them routinely have an internet connection then this choice would be best.  This choice will cause tasks to run on non-internet networks and they will complete correctly as they will simply not find any updated definitions to download - Windows Defender cannot tell the difference between not finding any updates and not finding any server to offer it updates.  In this situation the above Trigger setting Repeat task every 4 hours will be particularly useful.}

Conditions Start only if the following network connection is available - Choose one of your networks from the dropdown list {If you routinely use several networks but only one routinely has an internet connection then this choice would be best.}

Settings - Run task as soon as possible after a scheduled start is missed {This setting further raises the chances that at least one instance of the task will catch me each day while I'm connected.}

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3  Manage hardware driver updates & updates to their associated software

3.1  Hardware driver updates would normally form part of Windows updates.  They can be avoided by setting the metered property then setting two entries within Settings.  Hardware "driver" updates can vary in size from a few KB to over 100MB because they can include the maker's operating software as well as the driver itself.

3.2  You can also inhibit hardware driver updates even if you have chosen not to make the internet connection metered.  Right-click on the Start button & select System.  Click on Advanced system settings, Hardware tab, Device installation settings.  Set it to No (your device might not work as expected).

3.3  Check and set up two hardware update items within Settings. 

  • Settings, Devices, Printers & scanners
  • Settings, Devices, Connected devices

Set Download over metered connections to Off.

Note that each device setup will now be annotated as incomplete even if it is.  This warning just means that Windows is sulking.  You could check this by going to the hardware maker's support site and manually installing the latest drivers for it then fully testing the hardware.  Windows will still just sit there sulking. 

3.4  You will need to decide on a schedule for checking for hardware updates manually.  You could, for example, remove the settings at para 3.3 then run Windows update manually.  Personally, I visit the support sites for my printer-scanner every few months when I have access to a non-metered, unlimited internet data network.  I do not bother checking drivers for my very old internal WiFi cards or my USB TV tuners because they are no longer actively supported anyway.  So, for me, removing the settings at para 3.3 then running Windows update manually only helps devices such as mouse drivers.

3.5  I feel that I should add a further note about driver updates just for the sake of completeness even though it is a bit off-topic here.  There is an alternative to disabling all device driver updates.  There is a Microsoft utility for disabling updates to specific hardware devices but its reliability is not yet clear because not many users have reported their experiences of using it yet - see How to temporarily prevent a Windows or driver update from reinstalling in Windows 10  

3.6  Similarly off-topic - if you are trying to decide on a reliable procedure to follow & reliable sources to use in checking device updates then refer to Where to get hardware drivers [give the webpage time to finish loading without doing any scrolling or you'll move off the post that this link points to].

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4  Avoid undesirable OneDrive & MSAccount syncing

4.1  You can turn off OneDrive if you do not use files in the cloud or if you want to avoid them syncing between the cloud and your computer. 

4.2  Open Task manager by right-clicking on your TaskBar & selecting it.  If the bottom left corner of its window has a link saying More details then click on it.  Then click on the Start-up tab, right-click on Microsoft OneDrive & select Disable

4.3  By doing this you will avoid the OS updating your computer with any files you have saved online in your MSAccount and updating your online account with any changes to them made on your computer.  I have seen procedures for disabling the services upon which OneDrive relies but have never seen any point in doing so because this simple change in Task manager gets the job done.

4.4  If you log in to an MSAccount-linked user account on your computer then it is worth checking Settings, Accounts, EMail & app accounts and Settings, Accounts, Sync your settings.  If relevant, you should also check Settings, Accounts, Access work or school.

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5  Manage updates to Windows "Modern" apps

5.1  App updates do not run on a metered connection for users with local accounts.

5.2  If you are using an MSAccount-linked user account then you can go to the Windows Store and clear the control for automatically updating apps [it is in the settings available by clicking on your account picture].  This ought to prevent Apps from updating but I have not used this enough to know if it is reliable.  Don’t go to the Windows Store if you are logged in to a local user account.  You will be required to log in to the Windows Store and it will then surreptitiously convert your local user account into an MSAccount.

5.3  Some App updates might be worthwhile since they might contain fixes to recently-identified security vulnerabilities.  Since we cannot tell the difference between a functional update & a security-related update we have to assume that they are all worthwhile. 

5.4  I have only been able to update Apps manually by turning off the metered setting [and letting it decide when it feels like updating which might be immediately but might not] or by logging in to an MSAccount on my computer then going to the Windows store to check for App updates manually {I created an MSAccount user account on my computer for this purpose - my day-to-day user account is a local one}.  There are no reliable size indicators for App updates in the Windows Store - even while they are downloading they change their size indicator, seemingly at random.

5.5  There is a task in Task scheduler that clearly relates to updating Apps but I do not want to waste your time by going into any detail about it.  I have never been able to control App updates by manipulating this task.  There is no documentation to explain its relationship with other tasks, with Windows update or with the metered property so I have no basis for interpreting the observations I have made when I have disabled it or any of its triggers. 

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6  Manage internet use by Windows "Modern" Apps

6.1  You can also achieve partial control over non-update internet usage by Windows "Modern" Apps.

6.2  You can uninstall some of the Apps that you are not going to use - Settings, System, Apps & features, {select an undesired App}, UninstallThe Uninstall control is greyed out & inoperative for many Apps such as the Weather App [which must therefore be an indispensable component of Windows without which the entire OS would collapse].  

6.3  Review all entries in Settings, Privacy as there are several that affect internet data usage.  I have turned every Settings, Privacy item off pending a review of the purpose & effects of each item but that review will have to await suitable documentation being produced so I have made a note in my diary for 2 Jan 2025. 

6.3.1  Settings, Privacy, Background apps  Turning off background app communications stops them sending data over the internet but does not stop you from deliberately running them when you wish to do so. 

6.3.2  Settings, Privacy, Feedback & diagnostics  Whilst you can set Feedback to Never, you can only reduce Diagnostic & usage data to Basic.  The Basic setting also prevents use of the separate Feedback App

6.3.3  The Basic setting has additional effects on Windows Insider Program members

  • It disables Windows Insider Preview Build downloads
  • It disables access to any Windows Insider-related functions
  • Settings, Updates, Windows Insider Program will not acknowledge you as a Program subscriber
  • It does not unsubscribe you from the Windows Insider Program

6.4  The Maps App has its own metered-related settings.  See Settings, System, Offline maps.  As you can see below, I keep these turned off.  I rely on occasional use of non-metered networks to download additional maps or to update existing ones. 

6.5  Check the apps you have pinned to the Start menu.  You can prevent those that are internet-related from using data automatically by right-clicking on their icon and selecting Turn live tile off.

6.6  To check which apps have been using your internet connection use Task manager - note that this does not report the whole of your internet use, just the amount used by apps.  Right-click on the Taskbar, select Task manager, click More details if no tabs are shown, select the App history tab.  Click on the heading Metered network once or twice to sort it in descending data usage order. 

6.6.1  The period of usage it is showing you is displayed near the top of the window.  If the results are confusing then use Delete usage history to zero the results and check them again some days later. 

6.6.2  If there are entries there that you thought you had turned off in paras 6.3.1 & 6.5 above then open the app [right-click on the app's name and select Switch to] and check its own settings in case there is an additional setting there that is required. 

6.6.3  I keep finding that these apps have each used 0.1-0.2MB each month of metered network data despite all the above settings and I have not been able to solve this yet - Weather, Sport, Money, News, Health & fitness, Food & drink. 

6.6.4  I have also found that Cortana has used my metered connection [maximum observation 1.8MB in a month] even though Cortana is switched off.  I have not found a solution for this either.

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7  Install Windows optional features

7.1  There are several optional features of Windows.  To see the list,

Right-click on the Start button,

Control Panel,

[View by - Small icons, if necessary to see the entry on the next line of this procedure],

Programs and Features,

[left-hand side] Turn Windows features on or off

7.2  If you need to add an optional feature then you must set the internet connection to non-metered to do the job unless you have previously had that optional feature installed and had merely turned it off in the meantime without uninstalling it [i.e. you merely "unloaded" it].  The connection can be changed back to metered again afterwards.

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8  Manage internet use by IE

8.1  By default, IE will download other webpages & content linked to on the webpages you have open so that there is less work to do if you happen to select the link concerned but at the cost of increasing the amount of unwanted internet data.  This setting is supposed to boost performance but I always found that it slowed down opening new tabs in IE. 

8.2  To prevent this, change a setting in Internet options -

Right-click on the Start button,

Control panel,

[View by - Small icons, so you can see everything],

Internet options,

Advanced tab,

Click once in the scrollbar so you can see the relevant entry,

Clear the setting for Load sites & content in the background to improve performance,

OK.

8.3  I don't know anything about equivalent actions for other browsers.

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9  Manage internet use by other applications

9.1  You ought to review internet usage by your other applications.  Application options might allow you to control any automatic updating functions and might also allow you to control other internet traffic they generate. 

9.2  For example, I recently installed Bitdefender to see if it was worthwhile but its malware definitions' updates were 3GB a month for each of my computers.  This is not a typo or an experimental error {it does not include any "product" updates, only "definitions" updates} - BitDefender definitions updates replace rather than alter malware definition modules.  Bitdefender have promised to email me if they ever decide to use incremental updates instead and I will update this paragraph if that ever happens.  In the meantime, Bitdefender is not at all suitable for anybody with a limited internet data allowance.

 

Forum Article Info


Last updated May 28, 2020 Views 15,873 Applies to:

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Hi,

I set metered connection. But, still my Windows 10 updating automatically. Is there any way to stop?

Temporarily i turned off the updates from disable the update services file. Metered connection option was not useful for me in my Windows 10.

Regards,
வினோத்குமார் நடராஜன்,
சென்னை
https://twitter.com/vinoth_vingo
This is not a comment on the article.  You need to start a question if you want to get assistance with your technical problem.  I would suggest including screenshots showing that the connection is metered & that Windows updates are downloading automatically or you'll just get people suggesting that you check again - I have never seen anybody else report this problem.
Try*3 - a user
Dell Inspirons 7779, 1545, 9300; Windows 10 Home x64 & Pro x86; Office Pro 2007; HP DJ2540; HTC UPlay [Android 6.0], MyPhoneExplorer

Hi,

thanks Try*3. I already raised this question to Microsoft support. But, still the problem was not solve. 

Regards,
வினோத்குமார் நடராஜன்,
சென்னை
https://twitter.com/vinoth_vingo

I'm suggesting asking a question in the forum instead of asking MS Support - Ask the community  There are some highly competent people here and somebody might have experienced a similar issue.  Use a title similar to Metered WiFi connection not behaving as metered in Windows 10 - Windows updates download automatically.

First, check that the system really has set the connection to metered.  In an elevated command prompt window enter

netsh wlan show profiles name="ThisWiFi" >"D:\Desktop\WiFiProfiles-ThisWiFi.txt"

{replacing "ThisWiFi" with the name of your WiFi connection [enclosed in " as I have done]}

{replacing "D:\Desktop\WiFiProfiles-ThisWiFi.txt" with a path & filename of your own choosing [this will also need to enclose this in " if it contains any spaces]} 

If the system knows it is supposed to be a metered connection then you'll find this entry six lines before the end of the file under the sub-heading Cost settings,  

Cost                   : Fixed

Fixed means metered.  If it does not say Fixed then the system has not set it up as metered. 

The other possible entries are

  • Unrestricted which means not metered
  • Default which would mean you had never changed it from its original default setting [for a WiFi connection, this would be not metered]
    Variable which I have not seen and have not investigated

Please check this and post all the information from this post, together with the screenshots I suggested before, in your own question.  In addition, be careful to explain exactly what you did to set the connection as metered and what you have seen that makes you believe the system is not behaving itself ["But, still my Windows 10 updating automatically"] so that people reading your question will understand your problem as much as they would if they had been looking over your shoulder.

I'm about to hide these posts so copy everything you need into your question instead. 

I will keep a look out for your question and will contribute if I am able to.

Try*3 - a user
Dell Inspirons 7779, 1545, 9300; Windows 10 Home x64 & Pro x86; Office Pro 2007; HP DJ2540; HTC UPlay [Android 6.0], MyPhoneExplorer

Hi Tryx3,

I've followed your instructions for setting Windows Defender as a scheduled task with task scheduler. I've set it to perform the task every 1 hour of the day. When the scheduled time is triggered Windows Defender opens but it doesn't update the definitions. 

Why can Windows Defender not update without doing a quick scan? I didn't set the -UpdateandQuickScan -hide Argument so maybe that's why it's not working?

I'm using a metered ethernet connection using the registry modification.

Without the -UpdateandQuickScan -hide arguments, all you are telling Windows Defender to do is open. 

"Why can Windows Defender not update without doing a quick scan?"  I haven't a clue but it's the only way I could get it updating.

Try*3 - a user
Dell Inspirons 7779, 1545, 9300; Windows 10 Home x64 & Pro x86; Office Pro 2007; HP DJ2540; HTC UPlay [Android 6.0], MyPhoneExplorer

I don't get the 'Manage Own Networks' option just 'Manage Wi-Fi Settings' with no properties option thereafter.

[This post has also been transferred to the thread  Off-peak download for Windows updates]

Peter,

You seem to have an early version of Windows 10. 

Everything covered in this Wiki article can be done in your current version of Windows 10 but the locations of the various settings have changed significantly.  I do not have full notes about the previous locations but, just to get you started, I think in your version a WiFi connection was set to metered by clicking on the WiFi symbol in your System tray [the bottom right of your screen, the right-hand end of the Taskbar] then right-clicking on the name of the network and selecting Set as metered connection.

You can check your Windows 10 version - right-click on the Start button, select Command prompt, enter winver.  The current version is 1607.  I think you should update your version.  For such a major update I think a Repair install or In-place upgrade [these are just two names for the same thing] is the most reliable procedure.  See How to Do a Repair Install of Windows 10 with an In-place Upgrade .  Step 5 of the guide takes you through creating an up-to-date installation USB and gives you a link to their advice for making it.

You will need to back up all your own files before running the Repair install.  The procedure allows you to choose to keep all your own files but you ought to be cautious with such a major task as there are lots of things that could go wrong.

If you have a further questions on the subject of running the Repair install, you can post them on the same page as the procedure you are following - you can also search this forum as there are several threads on the subject.

When the Repair install has been completed you should be able to use the advice in this Wiki article.

I think you are a SatComms subscriber [I think I have seen posts from you in some of the other threads on this subject]:- 

1  When you follow the link to make an installation USB, you will need to download a tool called the Media creation tool and then you will need to install it.  You will then run the Media creation tool.  When you do, you will have some choices to make & you'll have to connect a USB/DVD and then it will start downloading what is called an ISO file.  The ISO file is over 2GB so you will not want to start that phase until your unlimited download period starts.  The good news is that you can then go to bed as there will be no further decisions to make - you ought to find that the whole thing has been downloaded & the installation USB/DVD made by the time you get up.

2  When you do the Repair install, you will have an option to download updates as you run it.  You can avoid that by selecting Not right now.  That will allow you to complete the Repair install without needing to use internet data.  You can then run updates afterwards after you have set things up using the guidance in this Wiki article.

Denis

Try*3 - a user
Dell Inspirons 7779, 1545, 9300; Windows 10 Home x64 & Pro x86; Office Pro 2007; HP DJ2540; HTC UPlay [Android 6.0], MyPhoneExplorer

Denis,

I've had a look in more detail but (please excuse my naivety) I'm stuck on the first page! 

Step 5 of the 'To Do a Repair...' states I will need to create a Windows 10 installation usb drive to start with but how do I do this ??

Thanks & regards,

Peter

Peter,

I have replied in your own question's thread as I think it will be easier to keep track of things that way so click on the line below to get there

Off-peak download for Windows updates

Denis

Try*3 - a user
Dell Inspirons 7779, 1545, 9300; Windows 10 Home x64 & Pro x86; Office Pro 2007; HP DJ2540; HTC UPlay [Android 6.0], MyPhoneExplorer

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