Stop Windows 10 from using your PC for file-sharing

Windows 10's Delivery Optimization feature turns your computer into an update-sharing hub. Here's how to turn that off.

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

One of Windows 10's new features is its optimized update delivery system. If Microsoft's servers are busy, Windows 10 can grab updates for the operating system and for Windows Store apps from other computers -- either on your local network or over the Internet.

On one hand, this "Delivery Optimization" feature can be useful if you have a shaky Internet connection and need an update right away, or if Microsoft's servers are bogged down. The catch, however, is that if this feature is turned on (which it is, by default), your computer also turns into an update-sharing hub, feeding updates to other devices both on and off your network.

Peer-to-peer file-sharing opens up some security concerns, even if it's only for Windows updates. According to Microsoft, Delivery Optimization uses the same security measures as Windows Update and the Windows Store to ensure no privacy breaches occur; the system checks the authenticity of each part of an update or app downloaded from other PCs against information obtained from Microsoft before installing it. Delivery Optimization cannot access your personal files or folders or change any files on your device.

But there's also the issue of data. If your PC is feeding updates to other computers over the Internet, it might be eating through your data limit or tying up your bandwidth. Delivery Optimization won't run if you're using a metered connection (here's how to set your Wi-Fi and Ethernet connections to metered), but you may still want to turn it off just in case. Here's how to do that.

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

Open the Settings menu and click the Update & security button.

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

In the Windows Update section, under Update settings, click Advanced options.

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

In the Advanced options menu, click Choose how updates are delivered.

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

To turn this feature off completely, click the toggle under Updates from more than one place. If you leave this feature on and simply check the radio button next to PCs on my local network (the default selection is PCs on my local network, and PCs on the Internet), your computer will be able share and receive updates from PCs on your local network but not from stranger's PCs online.

Once this feature is turned off, you will no longer receive or send Windows updates to other computers.