How to Use a Metered Connection on Windows 10

Limit data usage on Windows 10 with a metered connection

Man using a metered internet connection on his Windows 10 laptop in a cafe.

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The metered connection setting for Windows 10 helps you manage your internet data usage. This feature is especially useful when traveling or using an internet service with a small download limit.

Information in this article applies to all computers and tablets running Windows 10.

What Is a Windows 10 Metered Connection?

The metered connection setting limits the functionality of an existing internet connection. Any Wi-Fi network you use can be labeled as a metered connection. When using a metered connection, most operating system and app downloads will be paused, and some background operations will also stop working.

How to Set Up a Metered Connection on Windows 10

Before you can mark a connection as metered, it must first be added to your device's list of known networks. This is done automatically when you first connect to the network. After the initial connection has been made:

  1. Press the Windows key and select the Settings gear icon.

    Windows 10 Start Menu in fullscreen mode.
  2. Select Network & Internet.

    Windows 10 Settings app.
  3. Select WiFi in the left pane, then select Manage known networks.

    Windows 10 Wi-Fi settings.
  4. Select the name of the network you want to manage, then select Properties underneath.

    There is no limit to the number of metered connections you can set.

    Windows 10 Wi-Fi settings.
  5. Select the toggle switch under Set as metered connection to turn it On.

To return a metered connection to its default settings, repeat the steps above and select the switch again to turn it Off.

Windows 10 metered connection settings.

Is a Metered Connection Safe?

Setting a connection as metered doesn't make it any more or less secure. The metered connection setting just limits the amount of data that can be used when connected; it doesn't add any protection against hacking, viruses, worms, or other such online dangers.

Reduce your risks of contracting malware by installing antivirus software and avoiding unknown Wi-Fi networks.

When to Use a Metered Connection

Some wireless networks charge users based on the amount of data they download. Others place hard limits on data usage. The Windows 10 metered connection setting can be useful in such situations. For example:

When Not to Use a Metered Connection

While the metered connection setting can be useful in a variety of circumstances, it's not a good idea to use it all the time since it can decrease your device's overall functionality. Here are some features that are affected when the metered connection setting is activated:

  • Some Windows 10 operating system and security updates won't download and install, which can make your device more vulnerable to attacks or infections.
  • Windows 10 apps won't update. This can be a problem as many Windows 10 apps require the latest version to run properly.
  • Windows 10 Live Tiles may not update. This could be an issue if you rely on your Start Menu for important information such as weather reports or appointment reminders.