How to limit download bandwidth for updates in Windows 10

Windows 10 contains new features which let you manage how your network bandwidth is used to download updates. Microsoft had included a mechanism to limit bandwidth for background updates with update version 1709, also know as Fall Creators Update. With Windows 10 April 2018 update, you can now put a limit on how much bandwidth can be used by foreground updates .

What are foreground and background updates?

A foreground update is an update that has been manually initiated. If you open up Windows Update and manually check for updates and start a download, this is considered a foreground update. Compared to this, a background update is the one that is automatically downloaded, without the need of user intervention.

Limit download bandwidth for updates in Windows 10

To change the bandwidth usage limits for updates, go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update.

Windows Update

Click on Advanced options and you should land on the below screen. Click on Delivery Optimization at the bottom of this screen.

Windows Update Advanced Options

Click on Advanced options at the bottom of this screen.

Windows Update Delivery Optimization

Once you are in Advanced options, check the following boxes to adjust download and upload bandwidth for updates:

  • Limit how much bandwidth is used for downloading updates in the background
  • Limit how much bandwidth is used for downloading updates in the foreground

Now you can adjust the sliders to select the percentage of your PC’s network bandwidth you would like to allow for updates to download. I keep the settings on my Windows PC at 50%, as my Internet connection is fast enough. However, you can reduce this value to as low as you want, depending on what suits your usage.

Windows Update Bandwidth Settings

You can also enable Limit how much bandwidth is used for uploading updates to other PCs on the Internet if you want to save your bandwidth. There is also an option to set a Monthly upload limit. These settings are useful in case you have a tethered Internet connection, however, it is best to simply not allow uploading updates to other PCs.

Disable downloads from other PCs

Microsoft has a setting Allow downloads from other PCs, which is meant to speed up downloads from other PCs over your local network or over the Internet. This can help if you have a slow connection, however, enable this option also means that part of Windows Updates will be uploaded from your PC too. This could result in a lot of your bandwidth being used for uploads to other computers over the Internet. As most of us do not have such bandwidth available, and it could also result in unexpected Internet slowdowns. If you have multiple Windows PCs over your local network, this option can help in speeding up updates. But I highly suggest to not allow it to upload updates over the Internet.

Windows Update Delivery Optimization

Even though Microsoft has slowly been rolling out more options for Windows Update in Windows 10, it still does not fix the main issue that users do not have complete control over downloading updates. If you are a Windows 10 Home user, you have even less control than Windows 10 Professional users. These new options just add more complexity to managing updates. The simple options for downloading updates, such as those in Windows 7, were far simpler than what Microsoft has done with Windows 10.