Limit Bandwidth and set the Time when Windows Updates can download – Configure BITS Settings

This post will show you how you can set the time window between which you can configure Windows 10 to download Windows Updates using Group Policy or Registry Editor to configure BITS Settings.

Does your internet suddenly slow down, despite the fact that you weren’t really doing anything dissimilar than before? Well, this can be due to many reasons, and one of the most prominent ones is Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS). This particular Windows process can start using a great deal of your network bandwidth, apparently out of nowhere.

Let’s look at the reasons and how you can deal with it.

Understanding BITS and why Windows Updates can be untimely

So, what is BITS? It is a process that transfers files (downloads or uploads) between a client and server and provides progress information related to the transfers. BITS is most commonly used by Windows to download the Windows Updates to the client’s local system. By default, BITS transfers files in the background using only the idle network bandwidth in an attempt to preserve the user’s interactive experience with other network applications.

This potentially can be an issue for those users who have a fast network adapter (10 Mbps) but are connected to the network via a slow link (56 Kbps). This is mainly 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 simple words, BITS can eat up a great amount of the network bandwidth to carry out the background download process leaving the users with issues like slowness. The answer to this problem is to use a system policy configuration to block BITS from using the bandwidth. The same trick can also be applied to the users who do not face bandwidth concerns but simply want to limit their data downloads to certain times of the day.

Solution – Configure BITS Settings

To totally block, limit or do both follow the steps below as suggested on Microsoft Answers:

Open Registry Editor and go to this location:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\BITS

Right-click on a blank spot on the left side and select New > DWORD Value as shown below-limit time Windows Updates

You have to create the following DWORDS and give them appropriate values:

  1. EnableBITSMaxBandwidth
  2. MaxBandwidthValidFrom
  3. MaxBandwidthValidTo
  4. MaxTransferRateOffSchedule
  5. MaxTransferRateOnSchedule.

Configure BITS Settings

This set of settings will block BITS completely between the hours shown, and beyond those hours BITS will use only 2 KBPS of the entire network bandwidth.  These values can be customized by the users based on their own preference.

For Users With Windows Pro Edition, you can limit the maximum network bandwidth for BITS background transfers using the Group Policy Editor. This tool does the same thing and creates the registry values mechanically. More on that on MSDN.

Conclusion 

Configuring the time for downloading Windows Updates allows the users to smoothly carry on their day-to-day activities even while updates are being downloaded in the background. However, it is not recommended to disable this service completely.

TIP: You can prevent Windows 10 from automatically restarting, for the purpose of installing Windows Updates using the Active Hours feature.

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Ankit Gupta is a writer by profession and has more than 7 years of global writing experience on technology and other areas. He follows technological developments and likes to write about Windows & IT security. He has a deep liking for wild life and has written a book on Top Tiger Parks of India.