I would like to update from Windows 7 to Windows 10 but may have a problem…

Question: I have a Toshiba laptop running Windows 7. I would like to update to Windows 10, but may have a problem.

I have been told that with Windows 10, Microsoft will force updates for Windows 10 to download automatically at a time of its choosing. I travel six to eight months a year around the United States in a motor home. Because it is impossible to drag an Internet-connecting cable behind me, I get my Internet from a Verizon cellular hot spot.

Unfortunately, this is a very expensive way to get Internet service. Because I use less than 1 gigabyte of data each month, the cheapest plan available is what I have. If I use any more, I am fined.

If Microsoft were to force my laptop to download an update larger than what I have remaining each month, it could cost me a lot of money. If it happens at the beginning of the month, it could eat up so much data that I would not be able to use my laptop the rest of the month.

Can you tell me if it’s true what I have heard about Microsoft controlling when Windows updates? Does the user no longer have control over when Windows downloads its updates? Is there anything limited data users like me can do about it?

M. Helm

Answer: Yes, by default Microsoft performs automatic updates of Windows 10. But the company has made provisions for users who have “metered connections,” in which the customer is charged for the amount of data downloaded.

What you want to do is configure your computers settings alerting Microsoft that you are on a metered plan (network) when you are on the road. Click on the Start button and select Settings. Next click on Internet & Network, then select Wi-Fi. Scroll down until you can click on Advanced Options and then move the slider labeled “metered connection” to the right.

Once you’ve done that, Windows Update will download only priority updates. All other updates will automatically take place when you connect to an unmetered network or you change your existing network back to unmetered.

You can also turn off updates all together to allow you to find a mobile hotspot to allow you to download updates through a network at a Starbucks or similar location while on the road. Although this is not a recommended location to do this you can protect yourself with a VPN (Virtual Private Network) connection. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a network technology that creates a secure network connection over a public network such as the Internet or a private network owned by a service provider. I will review What and How To regarding VPNs in a later article if interest is expressed.

Getting back to how to disable automatic updates … Log in to your Windows 7 or Windows 8 operating system as an administrator. Click Start > Control Panel > System and Security > Turn automatic updating on or off. In the Important updates menu, select Never check for updates. Deselect Give me recommended updates the same way I receive important updates. Follow the same steps to reactivate automatic downloads.

Here is a very simple YouTube Video that explains the entire process for Windows 7: How to Enable Administrator Login Account in Windows 7

You may also notice some other changes. Start-screen tiles, for example, may not update. More significant, if you are automatically syncing files with cloud storage, this will no longer take place so remember that when you visit a local WiFi Hotspot and sync your files too.

By the way, Verizon does send a text message warning when you reach 75 percent of your data limit and you can increase your limit quickly by responding to the text message. (I also spend quite a bit of time on the road and frequently have to rely on a cell hot spot for my Internet.) You might also contact Verizon regarding your Hotspot limits. They now offer data only plans for 2GB at $20/M, 4GB at $30/M, 6GB at $40/M and 8GB at $50/M. You would then add a hotspot broadcast unit for $20/M to connect all of your WiFi equipment. As an example a 4GB plan would allow you to view 12,000 webpages or 52,000 emails or 12 hours of streaming video or 800 hours of turn by turn navigation.

Hope this all helps, Dave

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