Tech Tip: Stop Windows 10 From Sending Updates to Other PCs Over the Internet

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While we recommended holding off on Windows 10 when it was first released, we know that it’s starting to show up in more environments and being put into production at more companies. As long as you’ve verified compatibility with all your apps and peripherals, Windows 10 will work fine, but there is one thing you might want to turn off: Windows 10’s “patch the world” feature.

Windows 10 has the ability to user peer-to-peer patching. This is a great feature – on your local network. Basically, if you download the patches on any computer on your network and that computer shares it out with the rest of the office and those computers share them with other patches on the network. This is a great feature to save Internet bandwidth as you’re downloading patches once and then sharing them internally. With data-capped internet connections becoming more common, and Windows patches getting quite large, this may save a few bucks.

The problem is that, by default, the peer-to-peer patching is also sharing those patches with computers out on the internet. So once you download it, you could be potentially sharing those patches with everybody. We ran into an instance this last week where we had a client’s Windows 10 computer on our bench that was sending patches outbound and completely saturating our Internet connection, causing the whole office’s internet to slow to a crawl.

Needless to say, we recommend you disable this feature.

Unfortunately, Microsoft’s buried the ability to turn off this feature deep in a few screens, so here is how you disable the upload to the Internet features.

  1. Open Up the Settings App. Open it by clicking the Start button and selecting “Settings” at the bottom-left corner of the Start menu.
  2. Click on the Update & Security icon.
  3. Click the “Advanced options” option at the bottom of the Windows Update pane.
  4. Scroll down to and select “Choose how updates are delivered.”
  5. Select the option you prefer under “Updates from more than one place.” We recommend just selecting “PCs on my local network” here.
  6. Close out the window, and your settings are now saved. We recommend a reboot to restart the required services and fully kill any currently occurring Windows update sharing that might be going on.

You Can Also Set Your Connection as Metered, but we don’t recommend it. You could also set your current Wi-Fi connection as “metered.” When you set a connection as metered, you’re telling Windows it’s a connection with restricted data — such as a mobile data connection, Wi-FI hotspot from a smartphone you’re tethered to, or an ISP with a capped data connection. Windows won’t upload updates on a metered connection. That being said, it won’t automatically download critical Windows updates, either.

To set your current Wi-FI network as a metered connection, open the Settings app again and head to Network & Internet > Wi-Fi > Advanced options. Hit the switch for “Set as metered connection.”

The reason we don’t typically follow this method is it won’t work if your computer is connected to the network via an Ethernet connection without some horrendously ugly registry hacks. So we recommend you adjust the settings via the above method, which will work whether you are using WiFi or Ethernet, and you still get critical Windows updates downloaded.

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