Set a Network connection as metered in Windows 10

By | May 7, 2018

Do you have a limited data plan and access the Internet using a network connection? In this guide, I will show you how to set a connection as metered in Windows 10. Although we will mainly discuss metered network (Ethernet) connections, this guide can be used to set any connection type as metered.

Windows 10 does not care about how much data it uses when downloading updates and drivers, syncing settings and/or connecting to cloud services. This is unacceptable if you have a limited data plan.

If you found this article because you are experiencing ‘DefaultMediaCost’ (Metered Connections) registry permission errors, use method 2 steps 1 to 8, to solve it.

When you set a connection as metered, it will significantly reduce the amount of data you use. It is a way to let Windows 10 know that you have a limited data plan and it should use the internet sparingly.

However, keep in mind that using a metered connection will prevent some features on Windows 10 and certain apps that depend on an internet connection to work properly. For example, it will prevent Windows 10 from downloading updates, Windows Store won’t be able to download new updates and on the Start menu, Live Tiles will no longer update.

Method1) Set a Network Connection as Metered in Windows 10 Creators Edition

With Windows 10 Creators Edition came the ability to set a network connection as metered in appose to only being able to set Wi-Fi connections as metered in Windows 10 versions prior to Creators Edition. If you do not have Creators Edition or you are stuck on Windows 8, the second method will sort you out.

Here is how to set your network connection as metered in Windows 10 Creators Edition: Open the Settings app by pressing the Windows key + i. Click on Network & Internet. Click Ethernet in the left pane and then click on Ethernet again in the right pane to access its settings.

Ethernet Connection Settings Windows 10

Finally, turn on the Set as metered connection toggle switch.

Ethernet Metered Connection Setting Windows 10

Method 2) Set a Network Connection as Metered in Windows 8 and 10 using the Registry

In this method we will be using the Windows Registry to configure Metered Connections. This hack is easy enough to apply and as long as you stick to the instructions, there should be no issues. That said, before you get started and if you are not sure what the Registry is, consider reading, What is the Windows Registry and how to Edit it.

Before we continue; other than the default method using the Settings application, it seems that Windows 10 Creators Edition removed permission to edit metered connections. I’m not sure if this was deliberate or a bug. However, it seems like Microsoft do not want us to have control over our internet connections. Fortunately there is a way to get control back.

1) To access and edit the Windows Registry we use a free utility shipped with every Windows version, called the Registry Editor or Regedit for short. To open the Registry Editor; on your keyboard, hold down the Windows key and then press R (Windows+R). This will open the Run dialog. In the Open textbox, type regedit and press Enter or click on the OK button.

Run Regedit

2) In the Registry Editor, use the left sidebar to navigate to the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\NetworkList\DefaultMediaCost

3) Right-click the DefaultMediaCost key and select Permissions.

Registry DefaultMediaCost Permissions

4) On the Security tab, click the Advanced button.

Permissions for DefaultMediaCost

5) Next to TrustedInstaller, click the Change link.

Advanced Security Settings for DefaultMediaCost

6) On the Select User or Group dialog Type Administrators, click the Check Names button to make sure you’re working with the correct object, and click OK. Your Computer name should appear next to Administrators.

Select User or Group for DefaultMediaCost

7) On the Advanced Security Settings for DefaultMediaCost for DefaultMediaCost dialog, select the “Replace owner on subcontainers and objects”  and “Replace all child object permissions entries with inheritable permission entries from the object” boxes. Click Apply and then OK to continue.

Registry Change Owner

8) On Permissions for DefaultMediaCost dialog, select the Administrators group, and then make sure to check the allow Full Control box. Click Apply and then OK to continue. You should now have full control to set any connection as metered.

Permissions for DefaultMediaCost Administrators

9) In the DefaultMediaCost Registry key, you’ll find different entries for all connection types. For example; 3G, 4G, Default, Ethernet, and WiFi. Each connection type has the value 1 or 2. 2 means that the connection type is metered, and 1 means that the connection type is not metered.

DefaultMediaCost Registry Values

10) Finally, Double-click the Ethernet DWORD value key, and change the value to 2. This will set the Network connection as metered. Please note that you may need to restart your computer for the setting to take effect.

Set Ethernet as Metered DWORD

You can use the above method to set any connection type as metered. One way to test if you are on a metered connection is to open Microsoft Outlook, which will detect and alert you that you are using a metered connection.

Outlook Metered Network Warning

Set a Network Connection as Non-Metered

To set a network connection back to non-metered; follow the same steps as above, but change the value from 2 from 1. Furthermore, if you used the first method, simply turn off the Set as metered connection toggle switch.

Conclusion

Metered connections is a good feature for people with limited expensive internet. For example; here in South Africa we have high data costs and slow connections. However, this is slowly changing for us.

Setting your internet connection is a great way to save data, but what exactly happens when you do set a connection as metered? Well, Windows 10 will stop using the internet in many ways.

  • Windows Updates will not download automatically.
  • Windows 10 apps will not update automatically.
  • Offline content will stop syncing to other devices.
  • Emails will not download automatically.
  • Many programs are becoming metered-aware and will stop using the internet.

Whatever your reasons for wanting to set a network connection as metered, now you know how. In conclusion, thank you for reading this guide and feel free to leave a comment if you do not agree or would like to add something.

 

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