Setting WiFi connections to Metered on Windows 10 prevents Windows Automatic Update downloads on those connections

A large Windows Update download ate up my data quota for the day on my Jio connection. This was done automatically without my having noticed it. Using a small increment of 153 MB for the day (a sachet plan) had resulted in the entire 153 MB data getting used up in a few minutes!

That led me to explore how to control such automatic Windows update and other such automatic update downloads. One decent solution is to set WiFi connection to metered. This can be done by using Network & Internet Settings as administrator and choosing Metered connection for the WiFi networks one uses. When one logs in as ordinary user (NOT administrator), though the Network & Internet Settings windows do not show the WiFi connections that were set as metered under administrator login, as metered, I observed that Windows does treat those connections as metered for ordinary user logins too and DOES NOT automatically initiate a Windows Update download.

One can manually initiate a Windows Update download even on these metered WiFi connections, at which time Windows uses those metered WiFi connections for Windows Update downloads.

I could not find a way to set Cellular (e.g. Huawei 4G USB Dongle) and Ethernet connections as Metered. But under Network & Internet Settings, there is a Data Usage menu option that gives some Data usage statistics and provides a limit facility for Cellular data as well as an option to restrict background data usage on the Cellular connection.

To track data usage, I found that the Windows 10 Data Usage info. was not that useful. While there are specialty apps that seem to give detailed info. on data usage, I have used BitMeter2 off and on over many years to get top-level data usage, and used it again this time to get an idea of how much data was being downloaded in real-time.

Detailed Log

Detailed log info. is provided below. Readers who are not interested in such details may please skip the rest of this post.

24th Jan. 2018

Today I had an unhappy experience with using a limited data of 153 MB data per day Internet connection (IIRC, it is a Rs. 52 sachet pack giving 153 MB data each day, for 7 days). [Update on 3rd Feb. 2018: Using the sachet pack to get more data after base plan’s per day data quota exhaustion but with more days validity, was a bad choice as I did not need the validity period of the sachet pack. Instead I should have chosen an Add On pack which would have given me more data than 153 MB per day, with validity period same as the base plan. After revision around 30th Jan. 2018, Rs. 51 Add On plan gives 3 GB data, ! Earlier, it seems, the Rs.51 Add On plan gave 2 GB data. end-3rdFeb-Update]

Within a few minutes of my using that data sachet on my desktop PC connected to JioFi3 router having the Jio SIM with that data sachet, it got exhausted! Now I had not initiated any large download. I had opened a CNN page which had a video and many pics – I think that would have taken up quite some data. But I don’t think that itself would have amounted to 153 MB!

Perhaps there was an automatic download initiated by Windows 10 OS (Automatic Updates) or by some applications installed on my desktop PC.

I need to explore how to control such automatic updates on Windows 10.

I put on the option for Metered connection for the Jio Router connection (after the data exhaustion, so don’t know how helpful that may be in future). But I could not find an option for Metered connection for the Huawei 4G USB dongle.

11:52 PM, 24th Jan 2018

1 GB/day plan for 84 days got active on Huawei Jio SIM around 11:20 PM (on 24/1/18).

Data Usage info. on Windows 10: All Settings (from mouse-click on bottom right icon on screen) -> Network & Internet -> Data usage

There seems to be no option for setting up a Cellular Network (Huawei 4G USB dongle comes up as that) as a Metered connection [Big downloads are avoided by Windows on Metered connection].

So one has to run Mobile Partner application and track data usage to see whether something in the background (e.g. Windows Update) is eating up a lot of data.

I set up the Track Data Usage with 1 GB as the data limit and 1 day as the validity period. So far, in the past 5 minutes or so it has downloaded only 1.61 MB and uploaded 400 KB leading to data usage of 1.99 MB. That’s very fine. In around the same time today afternoon 153 MB got consumed!

So the way to keep a check is to run Mobile Partner with Track Data Usage when using Huawei 4G USB dongle.

30th Jan. 2018: I later downloaded BitMeter2 which is a simple net data logger that I have used for many years now. It is not sophisticated but may serve the purpose in an easier way than other programs. E.g. BitMeter2 does not need administrator login like MobilePartner needs, and comes up much faster than MobilePartner.

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