Windows 10 shares your files with the internet… here's how to turn it off
Image: Microsoft News
If you are one of the millions of users who have upgraded to Windows 10, you are likely to be very familiar with the Windows update process. Microsoft updates Windows 10 when it needs to be updated. It’s part of Microsoft’s master plan and is generally a good thing.
To facilitate efficiency in the Windows 10 update process, Microsoft has created a system it calls, in typical cryptic fashion, Windows Update Delivery Optimization. To put it in simple terms, when Delivery Optimization is on, Windows 10 will send updates from your computer to other computers on your local network or on the internet. That’s right, Windows Update Delivery Optimization is a peer-to-peer (P2P) network, which operates similarly to BitTorrent.
Windows Update Delivery Optimization has two settings:
- Setting 1 allows Windows 10 to share files with other computers on your local network only.
- Setting 2 allows Windows 10 to share files with other computers on your local network and with other computers on the internet.
Setting 2 is the default for every edition of Windows 10 except Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Education; those editions default to Setting 1.
Windows Update Delivery Optimization is also active for any apps you purchase and download from the Microsoft Store.
Turn it off
This is a personal choice, but I really don’t like the idea of sharing files with strange computers out on the internet. I am sure Microsoft has taken every precaution to make these connections safe and secure, but it makes me uncomfortable, so I opt to turn off Windows Update Delivery Optimization. The settings are buried deep, so here is a step-by-step on how to change them.
First, open the Windows Update Settings screen. The easiest way to get there is to type it into Cortana—she’ll show you the way (Figure A). Click or tap the Advanced Options link on this page.
Click or tap the Choose How Updates Are Delivered link on the Advanced Options screen, shown in Figure B.
The Choose How Updates Are Delivered screen (Figure C) is where you can change the default settings for the Windows Update Delivery Optimization P2P system. You can opt to turn it off completely or you can leave it on but select the local network option.
I know there will be some privacy advocates and security experts out there who will wail against Microsoft for choosing to turn on Windows Update Delivery Optimization by default. But this is not some evil plot. It is just another Windows 10 configuration setting we all should know about. After all, making the Windows 10 update process as efficient as possible is a noble goal. I choose to sacrifice some system efficiency to placate my own personal paranoia. What about you?
Did you turn off Windows Update Delivery Optimization? What was your reasoning?