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Windows 8 is a powerful Windows operating system that also has a hearty appetite for data. Here are a couple things to be aware of that’ll help you keep tabs on your data usage while using it:
Start screen tiles
The colorful boxes that offer up-to-date news, stock quotes, weather and other information look cool, but they’re consuming data in the background without you realizing it. It could be happening even if you’re not using your computer, as long as your device is on and connected to the internet.
You can easily limit and track this data consumption.
Consider which tiles really benefit you. Then right-click on each tile you don’t want and click “turn live tile off” from the options listed.
To track the data you’re using, click “Settings” from the start window, then select “Tiles.” Switch “Show Administrative Tools” to “Yes.” Now you should see how much data you’ve used. This won’t stop data usage, but will let you keep track of it. If your use appears to be approaching your monthly limit, you can then either shut off more tiles, take advantage of the Free Zone or Buy More Data.
If the data estimate doesn’t show under “Show Administrative Tools,” follow the steps at the end of this article to switch your computer to a metered setting.
Like all operating systems, Windows 8 has occasional updates, and your computer may be set to download these large files automatically. That means you might see a spike in data use that doesn’t track with the time you’re spending online.
If that’s the situation, check your download history: You might find the culprit is instead an operating system upgrade.
To check your download history, click on the magnifying glass on the upper right-hand corner of your start screen. Type “Updates” in the search bar. Then click “Check for updates,” and “View your update history.”
You can change the auto-update setting to “manual,” and download updates during the Free Zone.
If you’re looking for a broader fix to managing Windows 8 data usage, just change the Windows 8 setting to “metered.”
Using the “metered” setting, Windows Update will download only priority updates, app downloads from the Windows store might be paused, offline files might not automatically sync and start screen tiles might stop updating.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then tap Change PC settings. (If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, click Settings, and then click Change PC settings.)
2. Tap or click Network, and then tap or click Connections.
3. Tap or click the connection you want to change, and then, under Data usage, turn Set as a metered connection on or off.
For more details and instructions on changing your setting, see Microsoft’s article recommendations.