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For all its faults, Windows 8 introduced some pretty cool features to the world.
One of those features is called “network usage” and it tells users how much data they’ve used over certain periods of time. Just like your phone has a “data usage” section, so too does your Windows 8 computer.
Today, I’m going to explain how to monitor your internet usage on Windows 8:
Step 1) Go to your Windows 8 desktop
Step 2) Click on this icon
Step 3) Right click on your Wi-Fi network and click Show estimated data usage
Step 4) Click on the name of your Wi-Fi network one more time
Step 5) A dropdown menu will appear. This menu shows Windows 8’s estimated data usage since it started recording your data usage. If you’ve never accessed this menu before, then it will display all the data you’ve ever used since you installed Windows 8.
Step 6) If you want to reset your data usage statistics, just click the Reset button
Ultimately, this is just Windows 8’s best estimation of how much data you’ve used. It’s not meant to be a precise measurement, but it is intended to give you a reasonable estimation. Unfortunately, that estimation is not very detailed or precise.
Should You Use a Network Usage App?
If you don’t think the default Windows 8 network usage app is pretty enough for you, then consider using the Network Usage app on the Windows App Store.
This app breaks down your monthly and daily MBs in a more precise way. You can see the amount of data sent and received and all data is broken down into a pretty bar graph with teal and orange colors. It supports multiple internet connections and a user-friendly interface.
You can even break down data usage by day and try to figure out why you downloaded 46GB of stuff last Saturday.
How to Limit Data Usage
Unfortunately, metered internet plans are becoming more and more common. If you’re on a metered internet plan, then you may want to track your internet usage and restrict it once you hit a certain limit.
Windows 8 actually lets you do this without installing any third-party apps or software. To do it, follow the steps listed below:
Step 1) Open the Charms Bar and click Change PC Settings. Then click Devices, which is found under PC Settings.
Step 2) Scroll down through your devices and look for the Download over metered connections link
Step 3) Turn this off if you have a metered connection.
Flipping the switch to “on” prevents Windows from downloading software updates or information while you’re on a metered connection. It’s probably not something you need to worry about at home, but you may need to worry about it if you’re in an internet café in rural Thailand which only lets you use the internet for 10MB at a time.
It’s also useful if you’re connecting to the internet via your phone’s mobile network, in which case you don’t want Windows to suddenly start downloading 2GB updates over Windows Update.
Before that switch works, you’ll need to set your current Wi-Fi network or internet connection as a metered connection. To do that, simply click on your network connection icon in the system tray, left click on your current internet connection, and click “Set as metered connection.”
Only wireless connections can be metered in Windows 8, so you won’t see this option if you’re connected to the internet via an Ethernet cord.
There! Now you know everything you need to know about monitoring your internet connection, restricting bandwidth, and maximizing the gigabytes you spend on the internet.