Windows 10 launched on July 29 – as a free upgrade for Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 users – to generally positive reviews. But major privacy concerns have emerged post launch, the most annoying one being that Windows 10 uses an individual’s internet connection to share updates with others across the internet.
Microsoft calls the feature Windows Update Delivery Optimisation and says it is designed to help users get updates faster. It is enabled by default in Windows 10 Home and Pro editions. Windows 10 Enterprise and Education have the feature enabled, but only for the local network.
This is the same way that torrents work: A person’s computer is used as part of a peer-to-peer network to deliver updates faster to others.
Considering that Windows 10 updates are mandatory for most users, the move seems to be aimed at helping ease stress on the for the Redmond giant’s servers. The problem for most users is that these uploads will count against their data caps.
Users can disable the Update Delivery Optimisation but the option is buried in the settings menu for Windows Update. Users have to click on “advanced options” and then “choose how updates are received”.
In response to criticism, Microsoft defended the feature by saying it “helps people get updates and apps more quickly if they have a limited or unreliable Internet connection”. It said the move “does not slow down your internet connection” as it uses a “limited portion” of idle upload bandwidth.
Microsoft said that delivery optimisation will not download or send personal content and that it only sends “parts” of the update cache.
For users who have ISPs with data caps, it’s worth checking if this feature is enabled.
Users can stop sharing updates on capped connections by setting their connection to metered or disabling the delivery optimisation feature entirely.