Today’s tip allows you to control the time window for downloading Windows Updates.
This is useful, for example, if your internet service provider has bandwidth caps or higher data prices during certain times of the day. It can also be useful if you have other reasons for limiting or blocking bandwidth usage during your peak working hours.
This post comes from the Microsoft Community via users SaraKumar789, whom wanted to stop updates from using bandwidth while playing online games, and user behrang.rajabi with a need to limit downloads to take place only between 3 and 8 am.
Windows downloads updates using a shared component named Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS). In general, BITS needs no manual configuration. BITS is supposed to test the amount of network traffic at your network card, and use only the idle portion of the network bandwidth. Basically, it only downloads using surplus bandwidth that is not otherwise being used. But, according to Microsoft:
“This can be an issue if the client has a fast network adapter but is connected to the network with a slow speed, because BITS will compete for the full bandwidth instead of using only the available bandwidth on the slow link; BITS has no visibility of the network traffic beyond the client.
In other words, BITS cannot always detect that your bandwidth (such as in a in rural location) is limited. Thus it will use more bandwidth than its fair share, causing constraints and slowness. The recommend solution is to use a system policy configuration to block it from using your bandwidth (as outlined here). However, the same trick can be used if you have no bandwidth concerns and simply want to limit the data downloads to certain times of day.
Here’s how to totally block BITS, limit it, or both.
- Open Registry Editor and go to this location: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\BITS
- Right-click a blank spot and choose New > DWORD Value and name it as shown below. Repeat for all other values shown.
This will block BITS completely between the hours shown, and outside those hours even then it will be restricted to 2 KBPS. Of course you can completely customize this using values you prefer if you want.
If you have Windows Pro edition, you can also set these using the Group Policy Editor tool, which does the exact same thing and creates these registry values above automatically.