How to Use A Windows 10 Metered Connection

See how a metered connection can help you save on data usage

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

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Windows 10's metered connection settings may be hard to find but they can be a powerful tool for decreasing your internet data usage and managing downloads. Here's everything you need to know about metered connections in Windows 10 and how to set one up.

What Is A Metered Connection In Windows 10?

The metered connection setting on Windows 10 computers, tablets, and laptops doesn't create a new internet connection but, instead, limits the functionality of an existing one. Any Wi-Fi internet connection can be labeled as a metered connection and any metered connection can also be returned to its regular status.

When an internet connection is set as a metered connection on a Windows 10 device, many operating system and app downloads will be paused and some background data usage, such as that needed for updating messaging apps, will also stop working.

The Windows 10 metered connection setting can be used anywhere but it's especially useful when traveling or when using an internet service with a small download limit.

How to Set Up A Windows 10 Metered Connection

Any internet connection can be set as a metered connection but it must first be added to your device's list of known networks. This can be done by connecting to the internet connection.

After the initial connection has been made, do the following to set it as a metered connection.

  1. Open Settings by pressing the Windows key and clicking the Settings gear icon.

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

    Windows 10 Settings app.
  3. Click WiFi from the left menu.

    Windows 10 Wi-Fi settings.
  4. Click Manage known networks.

  5. Click the name of the network you want to manage.

    Windows 10 Wi-Fi settings.

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

  6. When the network name is highlighted, click Properties.

    Windows 10 metered connection settings.
  7. Click the switch under Set as metered connection.

    Windows 10 metered connection settings.

    To return a metered connection to its original default settings, simply repeat these steps and click on the switch again to uncheck it. You can turn this switch on and off as many times as you like.

  8. This internet connection will now be set as a metered connection until you choose otherwise.

Is A Metered Connection Safe?

Setting an internet connection as a metered connection on a Windows 10 computer or tablet doesn't make it any more or less secure. The metered connection setting simply limits the amount of data that can be used when connected and doesn't add any protection against hacking, viruses, worms, or other such online dangers.

Never connect to unknown Wi-Fi connections and always double-check the name of a network before connecting.

When To Use A Metered Connection

The Windows 10 metered connection setting can be useful in any situation where you want to limit how much data you use on a specific internet connection. Some common situations include:

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 of the time as it can decrease your Windows 10 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. This can make your device more vulnerable to attacks or infections over the long term.
  • 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 Start Menu Live Tiles may not update their data. This could be an issue if you rely on Live Tiles for important information such as the weather report or appointments.
  • Some Windows 10 apps may not function properly.