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How to Set Windows Update Bandwidth Limit on Windows 10/11

Key Takeaways:

  • By default, Windows Update uses all the available bandwidth to download and upload Windows Updates in the background.
  • You can use the Settings app or Group Policy Editor (GPO) to set the Windows Update bandwidth limit to control its download and upload speed.
  • Limiting Windows Update bandwidth will improve internet connectivity for other applications on your system and the overall internet browsing experience.

Windows 10 and 11 users get a new cumulative update almost every week. To be specific, you can expect a new update every Tuesday. Microsoft calls it Patch Tuesday.

When there is a new update, Windows automatically downloads and installs it in the background. While downloading, Windows will use all the available bandwidth to download the update as soon as possible. However, the Delivery Optimization service built into Windows can limit Windows Update bandwidth usage if you are actively using the internet.

The problem is that the automatic Delivery Optimization settings might not be enough in all situations leading to a degraded internet experience when the updates are being downloaded or uploaded.

Luckily, there is a way to limit Windows Update download speed. In this article, I will show you how to easily limit Windows Update bandwidth using the Settings app and Group Policy Editor. With just a few simple steps, you can take control of your internet connection and make sure that Windows updates don’t get in the way of your online activities.

Table of contents:

  1. How to limit Windows Update bandwidth via Settings
  2. How to limit Windows Update bandwidth via Group Policy

The steps below work the same in Windows 10 and 11.

How to limit Windows Update bandwidth via Settings

You can use the built-in delivery optimization feature to set and control Windows Update download and upload speed.

Follow the steps below to limit Windows Update bandwidth:

  1. Launch the Settings app with the “Start + I” shortcut.
  2. Select “Windows Update” on the sidebar.
  3. Click on “Advanced Options.”
  4. Click on the “Delivery Optimization” option.
  5. Press on “Advanced Options.”
  6. Select the “Percentage of measured bandwidth” option.
  7. Select the “Limit how much bandwidth is used for downloading updates in the background” checkbox.
  8. Use the slider to set the limit you want to apply.
  9. Select the “Limit how much bandwidth is used for downloading updates in the foreground” checkbox.
  10. Use the slider to set the limit you want to apply.
  11. Select the “Limit how much bandwidth is used for uploading updates to other PCs on the internet” option.
  12. Use the slider to set the limit you want to apply.
  13. Close the Settings app
  14. Reboot the system.
  15. With that, you are done limiting Windows Update bandwidth.

Steps with more details:

First thing, open the Settings app on your Windows system. You can use the “Windows logo key + I” keyboard shortcut or open the Start menu and click the “Settings” icon for that.

Once the Setting app opens, select the “Windows Update” option on the sidebar. As the name implies, this is the page where you will find all the options related to Windows Update. Next, click on the “Advanced Options” option on the main page.

open Windows Update advanced options

Here, find and click on the “Delivery Optimization” option.

open delivery optimization settings page

The ability to control Windows Update bandwidth is an advanced feature, so click on the “Advanced Options” option.

open delivery optimization advanced options

Under the “Download Settings” section, you will see two main options. They are:

  • Absolute bandwidth: This lets you set an absolute limit regardless of the available bandwidth. For example, if you want to limit Windows Update to 5 Mbps, you can use this option.
  • Percentage of measured bandwidth: This lets you set the limit in the percentage of the measured bandwidth. For example, you can allow Windows Update to use 20% of the available bandwidth. Do keep in mind that Windows determines the overall available bandwidth. So the amount of bandwidth used by Windows updates may vary depending on your internet connection speed.

Select the “Absolute bandwidth” option. After that, select the “Limit how much bandwidth is used for downloading updates in the background” checkbox and set the bandwidth in the available field.

Next, select the “Limit how much bandwidth is used for downloading updates in the foreground” checkbox and set the bandwidth in the available field.

limit Windows update bandwidth

If you don’t want to set hard limits, you can select the “Percentage of measured bandwidth” option and use the sliders to Windows Update bandwidth limit. One thing to keep in mind is that Windows will automatically test and determine the available bandwidth. You have no control over it. That is one of the reasons why I recommend you stick with the “Absolute bandwidth” option.

Finally, close the Settings app and restart your computer. After restarting, the Windows Update bandwidth limit is applied, and the update process no longer hogs all the available bandwidth.

How to limit Windows Update bandwidth via Group Policy

If you are using Windows Pro or Enterprise edition, you can limit Windows Update download speed using the Group Policy Editor.

Here’s how to limit Windows Update bandwidth using Group Policy Editor:

  1. Press “Start key + I” to open Group Policy.
  2. Go to the “Computer Configuration -> Administrative Template” folder.
  3. Go to the “Windows Components -> Delivery Optimization” folder.
  4. Open the “Download Mode” policy.
  5. Select the “Enabled” option.
  6. Choose “LAN (1)” from the Options dropdown.
  7. Press the “Ok” button.
  8. Find and open the “Maximum Background Download Bandwidth (percentage)” policy.
  9. Select the “Enabled” option.
  10. Set the percentage in the blank field under “Options.”
  11. Click on the “Ok” button.
  12. Find and open the “Maximum Foreground Download Bandwidth (percentage)” policy.
  13. Select the “Enabled” option.
  14. Set the percentage in the blank field under “Options.”
  15. Click on the “Ok” button.
  16. Close the Group Policy Editor.
  17. Reboot the Windows computer.
  18. With that, you are done limiting Windows Update bandwidth via Group Policy.

Steps with more details:

To open the Group Policy editor on your Windows device, press the “Windows + R” keys on your keyboard, type “gpedit.msc” in the blank field, and press “Enter.” This will launch the Group Policy Editor, which is a tool that allows you to view and modify the group policies that control the behavior of your device.

After opening the Group Policy, go to the “Computer Configuration/Administrative Templates/Windows Components/Delivery Optimization” folder. This folder contains all the policies to manage and configure the Delivery Optimization feature.

open delivery optimization folder in group policy editor

Once you are here, find and double-click on the “Download Mode” policy. After opening it, select the “Enabled” option and then choose “LAN (1)” from the “Options” dropdown menu. Press the “Ok” button to save changes.

select download mode

Now, find and double-click on the “Maximum Background Download Bandwidth (percentage)” policy. Select the “Enabled” radio option, and set the percentage you want to allow Windows Update to use on the “Options” field. Press the “Ok” button to save changes.

limit Windows update bandwidth via group policy editor

After that, find and double-click on the “Maximum Foreground Download Bandwidth (percentage)” policy. Select the “Enabled” radio option, and set the percentage you want to allow Windows Update to use on the “Options” field. Press the “Ok” button to save changes.

I’m allowing Windows Update to use 20% of the available bandwidth to download updates.

limit Windows update bandwidth via group policy editor

Finally, close the Group Policy Editor and reboot the computer. Once the system is rebooted, the Delivery Optimization service enforces the Windows Update bandwidth limit.

That is all. It is that simple to limit Windows update bandwidth or download speed in Windows.

I hope this simple and easy Windows how-to guide helped you.

If you are stuck or need help, send an email, and I will try to help as much as possible.

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