The launch of Windows 10 brought an overhaul of Windows Update that includes new features to make the update process simpler. Updates are downloaded by a process called Delivery Optimization. As the name implies, this is an intelligent service which is capable of choosing the best source to get you up-to-date.
Delivery Optimization speeds up the download process by allowing updates to be provided by sources other than Microsoft. With older Windows versions, updates always came from Microsoft's servers. This meant that if you owned several computers, each one would need to download every update that Microsoft released.
Delivery Optimization offers an alternative approach that's much more efficient. Windows 10 systems treat Microsoft servers as one of many update sources. The system will first consult with other devices on your network, as well as Windows 10 PCs on the wider Internet. If it finds a machine that already has the update, it can retrieve it directly without reaching back to the Windows Update servers.
Of course, this does come at a price. To enable the peer-to-peer feature, your PC has to do its part in uploading parts of updates to the wider web. If you've got poor upload bandwidth or a restrictive data usage cap, you might find Windows' automatic uploading causes you more problems than it solves.
You can disable Delivery Optimization by opening the Windows 10 Settings app and heading to the "Update and security" category. The Windows Update page should open automatically.
At the bottom of the page, click the "Advanced options" button and then the small "Delivery Optimization" link at the bottom of the page. Note that older versions of Windows 10 label this link more obviously as "Change how updates are delivered" – you may wish to refer to an older version of this tutorial.
You're now on the Delivery Optimization settings page where you can control how the feature works. To disable Delivery Optimization entirely, turn off the "Allow downloads from other PCs" toggle button. This will prevent Windows from acquiring updates from non-Microsoft sources, including devices on your local network.
Typically, you will want to keep Delivery Optimization enabled for devices on your network, but disable the peer-to-peer Internet functionality. This keeps downloads fast within your home while preventing Windows from consuming your bandwidth. To enable this option, keep the toggle button turned on but select the "PCs on my local network" option.
By default, Windows comes with the "PCs on my local network, and PCs on the Internet" box selected. This enables the peer-to-peer Internet transfers, as well as transfers within your local network. If you want to re-enable the Internet sharing in the future, return to the Delivery Optimization settings page and enable this checkbox.
If you want more control over Delivery Optimization downloads, click the "Advanced options" link to see additional settings. Here, you can control how much bandwidth Delivery Optimization is allowed to use when downloading and uploading new updates.
It's possible to set a monthly upload limit when peer-to-peer Internet sharing is enabled, which allows you to share updates with the web while staying within your data cap. To enable these options, just tick the checkbox next to each one and adjust the sliders to your desired values. Note that older versions of Windows 10 may not have all of these settings.
Finally, you can get a detailed overview of how much bandwidth Delivery Optimization is using. Back on the main Delivery Optimization settings page, click "Activity monitor" to see a graphical representation of the service's recent activity. The page shows you average download speeds, as well as how much data has been used when sharing updates with your local network and the wider Internet.
That's all about Delivery Optimization. While it sounds technical, it's really just a way for Windows to get updates in the most timely manner. Although the default settings won't be appropriate for every user, if you've got a fast and unlimited data plan you probably don't need to worry too much about Delivery Optimization's actual operation.