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How to Minimize Laptop Data Usage: Easy Checklist to Reduce Your Data Costs

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If your laptop uses too much data, it can get frustrating, especially when using a limited or capped plan. In addition, even if you are on an unlimited internet plan, having too much of your data consumed by the laptop can create a clog in your entire network, which may affect other connected devices. Fortunately, Windows offers several easy ways to monitor and track data usage and ways of managing it based on your desired limits. Read on to discover the easy steps to minimize laptop data usage.

Set up a metered connection

The straightforward way to minimize laptop data usage in Windows is to set up a metered connection. This connection type allows the operating system to limit unnecessary background data usage. Hence, it will significantly reduce internet consumption on your laptop.

Here’s how to set it up:

  • Click the Windows button and open Settings
  • Select Network & Internet
  • Select the specific network you’re using, whether Ethernet or Wireless
  • Finally, scroll down and enable the Metered connection option

Set a data limit

If you only have 30GB of data in your monthly internet plan, you must ensure that this essential resource can go the entire duration. That means ensuring that your laptop does not use more than 10GB every month with OneDrive and other background network consumption tasks. Windows will send notifications if you get close to the data limit so that you can adjust your usage accordingly.

Here’s how to set a data limit:

  • Open the Settings menu in Windows
  • Select Network & Internet
  • Now select Data Usage and then click Enter Limit
  • Set your preferred limit type, reset date, and specify the data limit in gigabytes (GB) or megabytes (MB)
  • Select Save to apply the new data limit

You can track your usage by visiting the Data usage page to monitor how much data you have left and how many days until it resets.

Pause Windows Updates

Windows updates are one of the top culprits in excessive data usage as some updates can be as large as 1GB or more, which can put a considerable strain on your internet connection. Fortunately, you can now pause updates for up to 5 weeks in Windows 11, allowing those on low or limited data to use their laptops without any issues.

  • Open the Settings menu in Windows
  • Select Windows Update
  • Select Pause Updates and specify the duration between one and five weeks

Stop Synchronization

Windows can synchronize your files, preferences, and app list across all your Microsoft devices for quick access every time. However, while it is a very convenient feature that can help streamline your work, it consumes a lot of data. Use the following steps to disable synchronization on Windows 10:

  • Open the Settings menu in Windows
  • Select Accounts
  • Select Sync your settings and turn the switch off

Likewise, you can also pause syncing on OneDrive to stop file synchronization and stop the app from uploading your files to the cloud.

Disable App Store updates

By default, all Windows Store applications usually run automatic updates. That includes various native apps like News, Sports, and Mail to other Store apps, like games. Most of these updates can be significantly large, especially game apps that can even be more than 4GB.  

Here’s how to disable app store updates:

  • Open the Microsoft Store
  • Select Options and then click Settings
  • In the App updates section, turn off automatic updates

Enable Battery Saver

Enabling the laptop battery saver setting in Windows can also help to reduce your data usage. That is primarily because this feature works by restricting background tasks and disabling push notifications to extend your laptop’s battery life.

Here’s how to enable the battery saver option:

  • Open the Settings menu in Windows
  • Select Battery
  • In the Battery Saver section, click to turn the status on

Disable Antivirus updates

While antivirus updates are essential for promoting safety since they contain the newest files required to fight new viruses, they can also get cumbersome when you have limited data. These files are often released daily, so your laptop has to check and download the latest security updates constantly. However, you can easily disable the automatic antivirus updates through the specific antivirus software on your machine. You can always download the updates later on a different PC and then copy the files using a USB stick.

Check data usage on each app

Windows has an excellent Data Usage section in Network & Internet that helps users see the volume of data consumed by each app on their laptop. You can quickly identify which programs have consumed the most data over the last 30-day period. You can then configure those apps to utilize less internet data.

Since PC gaming is famous for its massive game files, it is crucial to plan for a specific time when you want to download new games. A game like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare has an enormous download size of 230GB, which can put a massive dent in any data plan. Likewise, you can set up a game store like Steam to stop automatic updates and help minimize data usage for installed games.

Reduce the resolution while streaming video online

If you enjoy streaming lots of videos, whether on YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime, or others, then it is likely that you are using too much data. Fortunately, there are a few ways to minimize the data you’re using while watching videos without missing out on your favorite entertainment. For example, you can reduce the resolution of your online videos from 4K to 720p or 480p or lower. Even though you may miss out on a few details, you will save a lot on data and still get to enjoy your videos.


The easy tips shown above should help guide you on minimizing laptop data usage to avoid the annoying surprises of accidentally running down your internet before the expiration date. In addition, you can also save on data costs by using the information shown above.

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Pigtou Editorial Team

A group of tech enthusiasts who find pleasure in troubleshooting and resolving various issues. When we're not engaged in writing, we typically enjoy playing table football or spending time with our office dog.
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