Metered Internet connections: FAQ

Here are answers to some common questions about metered Internet connections. If your Internet service provider charges you for the amount of data you use, you'll want to know about this.

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What's a metered Internet connection?

Internet service providers can charge by the amount of data used (the amount of data sent and received by your PC). That's called a metered Internet connection. These plans often have a data limit, and if you exceed the limit you might have to pay extra. In some cases, you aren't charged extra but your connection speed becomes slower until the billing cycle ends.

If you have a metered Internet connection, setting your network connection to metered in Windows can help you reduce the amount of data you send and receive.

What are the recommended settings?

It depends on whether your Internet service provider charges you by the amount of data you use. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Wi‑Fi networks—Windows sets Wi‑Fi networks to non-metered by default. But if your Internet service provider charges you by the amount of data you use, setting your network connection to metered can help you limit your data usage.

  • Mobile broadband networks—Windows sets mobile broadband networks to metered by default. But if your mobile broadband service is actually unlimited, then you might want to change the network setting to non-metered.

If you're not sure what to do, keep an eye on your data usage. If you find that you're being billed for extra data usage, setting your network connection to metered can help you manage this.

Note

  • Ethernet network connections can't be set to metered.

How does setting my network connection to metered affect my PC?

Any app that relies on an Internet connection to update or display info might be limited in the amount of data it can download or display. You might notice these and other effects:

  • Windows Update will only download priority updates.

  • Apps downloading from the Windows Store might be paused.

  • Start screen tiles might stop updating.

  • Offline files might not sync automatically.

How do I change my current network connection to metered (or non-metered)?

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then tap Change PC settings.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, click Settings, and then click Change PC settings.)

  2. Tap or click Network, and then tap or click Connections.

  3. Tap or click the connection you want to change, and then, under Data usage, turn Set as a metered connection on or off.

For info about signing in as an administrator, see User accounts: FAQ

I have Sync settings turned on. How can I avoid extra data charges on metered connections?

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then tap Change PC settings.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, click Settings, and then click Change PC settings.)

  2. Tap or click OneDrive.

  3. Tap or click Metered connections, and then, under Sync settings, turn off both sliders.

I have automatic device setup turned on. How can I avoid extra data charges on metered connections?

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then tap Change PC settings.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, click Settings, and then click Change PC settings.)

  2. Tap or click PC and devices.

  3. Tap or click Devices, and then make sure Download over metered connections is set to Off.

    This will block download of device drivers from Windows Update and device info for your device, while your Internet connection is set to metered. (These downloads will resume next time you're on a non-metered Internet connection.)

I get search suggestions and web results from Bing. How can I avoid extra data charges on metered connections?

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then tap Change PC settings.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, click Settings, and then click Change PC settings.)

  2. Tap or click Search and apps.

  3. Tap or click Search, and then, under Metered connections at the bottom of the page, turn off both sliders.

    This will keep you from getting search suggestions and web results from Bing when you're on a metered connection.

What if I get the: "Setup incomplete because of metered connection" message when I set up a peripheral device?

You can get this message when you connect a device and it tries to connect to the Internet using a metered connection to check for new device software. To avoid unexpected data charges, your PC won't allow the device to automatically check for new software when you use a metered connection. To always download device software on a metered connection, follow these steps:

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then tap Change PC settings.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, click Settings, and then click Change PC settings.)

  2. Tap or click PC and devices.

  3. Tap or click Devices, and then tap or click the toggle under Download over metered connections.

    Once you've finished downloading your devices updates, you can turn this setting off to avoid unexpected charges when you're on a metered network.

Note

  • Device software packages can be large, which might result in additional charges when downloaded on metered networks.

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