Limiting Bandwidth for Updates

by Eric Wyatt
(last updated June 8, 2020)

The Windows operating system, that our computers use, takes up a large amount of disk space. When an update comes out it usually means that a large file needs to be downloaded to your system. In the past, downloading updates could easily take all of your available bandwidth, often resulting in a poor experience while still trying to perform other online tasks.

The new Windows 10 May 2020, or 20H1 update, however, attempts to fix this. The update expands on previous attempts to limit the impact caused by installing updates. The update provides a method to limit the amount of bandwidth an update can use.

To limit the bandwidth that your computer will use or allocate for downloading updates, follow these steps:

  1. Press the Windows key and type (without quotes) "Delivery Optimization" then press Enter. Windows displays the Delivery Optimization section of the Update & Security section of the Settings dialog box.
  2. Under "Absolute Bandwidth" check the first checkbox next to "Limit How Much Bandwidth is Used for Downloading Updates in the Background." This activates the input field underneath the checkbox.
  3. Using the input field, enter the desired cap limit you wish to set for your computer to use when downloading in the background (while using other programs).
  4. Check the second checkbox for "Limit How Much Bandwidth is Used for Downloading Updates in the Foreground." As with Step 2, this will activate an input field directly below.
  5. Enter the desired limit for when you are downloading in the foreground. Typically, you would set this number to be higher than the setting made in step 3. (See Figure 1.)
  6. Figure 1. Download Settings options within the Advanced Options section of the Settings dialog box.

  7. Close the Settings Window, your changes will take effect immediately.

Keep in mind that these numbers are for Megabits per second (Mbps) not Megabytes (MBps). Your internet speeds are typically referred to as Megabits (Mbps), so this number should be somewhat familiar. The lower Mbps you enter, the longer the update downloads will take. So, if you set your cap at 3 Mbps, a 1 GB update will take approximately 44 minutes to download. A lower Mbps will free up bandwidth for other online activities you may be using, such as video streaming or online gaming, while downloading an update. Keep in mind that entering a number higher than a speed your ISP offers does not mean that your updates will download faster than your ISP offers.

By setting a limit or cap on how much of your bandwidth can be used for updates, you stay in control of your bandwidth when you might need it for other activities.

 This tip (13769) applies to Windows 10.

Author Bio

Eric Wyatt

Eric Wyatt is a swell guy (or so his friends tell him). He is a formally trained designer and branding expert, bringing a wide range of skills to his Tips.Net articles. ...


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