Windows 10/11 is downloading something in the background

by Tashreef Shareef
Tashreef Shareef
Tashreef Shareef
Windows & Software Expert
Tashreef Shareef is a software developer turned tech writer. He discovered his interest in technology after reading a tech magazine accidentally. Now he writes about everything tech from... read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • If you notice your PC is lagging, it is very likely that Windows is downloading something in the background.
  • In most cases, the operating system downloads updates to maintain good functionality.
  • If these downloads slow down your PC to the point that you are unable to carry with your tasks, read the guide below to see how to stop/pause them.
  • We give step-by-step instructions on how to do this from the Task Manager and Resource Monitor.
how to stop windows downloading something in the background windows 11 windows 10

To fix various PC problems, we recommend Restoro PC Repair Tool:
This software will repair common computer errors, protect you from file loss, malware, hardware failure and optimize your PC for maximum performance. Fix PC issues and remove viruses now in 3 easy steps:

  1. Download Restoro PC Repair Tool that comes with Patented Technologies (patent available here).
  2. Click Start Scan to find Windows issues that could be causing PC problems.
  3. Click Repair All to fix issues affecting your computer's security and performance
  • Restoro has been downloaded by 0 readers this month.

Windows OS is an incredibly complicated piece of software, and most of the work happens quietly in the background. Windows also require the user to stay connected to the internet to download the latest Windows updates and security patches.

That said, at times, you may notice that your computer has utilized all the bandwidth to download something without asking the user.

While this may not be an issue for everyone, for those with a limited internet bandwidth it might cause difficulties, slowing down their bandwidth.

You can use bandwidth limiter software in order to keep an eye on its status and prioritize any apps that you need to use right away.

If you are also bothered by these mysterious background processes that are hogging up your internet bandwidth, here is how you can tell if Windows 10 is downloading something in the background and stop it.

How to check if something is downloading in the background on Windows 10 and 11

1. Use Task manager

  1. Right-click on the Taskbar and select Task Manager.
  2. In the Process tab, click on the Network column. This will show the process using the most bandwidth.
    Task manager end task Network usage
  3. Check the process that is using the most bandwidth currently.
  4. To stop the download, select the process and click on End Task.

Ending the process from the Task Manager is a temporary fix. Open the program that is using the bandwidth, and stop any downloads.

2. Use Resource Monitor

  1. Press the Windows Key + R to open Run.
  2. Type “resmon” in the Run box and press OK to open the Resource Monitor.
  3. In the Resource Monitor window, click on the Network tab.
  4. Expand the Network Activity tab.
    Resource Monitor Network usage
  5. As you can see in the below image, the process that is consuming the highest network data here is Microsoft Edge because I was streaming a YouTube video. However, you should be able to find other process utilizing the internet using the same method.

How can I tell if Windows 10 is downloading updates?

  1. Right-click on the Taskbar and select Task Manager.
  2. Click on the Process tab.
  3. Now sort the process with the highest network usage. So, click on the Network column.
  4. If the Windows Update is downloading you will see a “Services: Host Network Service” process.
  5. Expand the process, and you should see the Delivery Optimization process.
    Task Manager Windows Update is Downloading
  6. The Delivery Optimization process is related to the Windows Update and only activates if the Windows is downloading or installing the updates.
  7. You can stop the process by selecting Delivery Optimization and clicking on End Task.

1. Disable Windows Updates

  1. Click on Start and select Settings.
  2. Click on Network and Internet. 
  3. Click on Manage Known Networks.
  4. Select your WiFi network and select Properties.
  5. Scroll down and enable “Set as metered connection” option.
    enable metered connection windows 10
  6. Again go to Windows Settings and click on Update and Security.
  7. Under Windows Update, click on Advanced option.
    Disable Automatic Updates
  8. Make sure “Automatically download updates, ever over metered data connections” is turned off.

How can I stop downloading in the background in Windows 11?

Windows 11 users can identify and remove background downloads with the Task Manager as well. The process is very similar to what you would do in Windows 10.

Check your processes and use the Network column to see which one uses the most bandwidth.

1. Click the start button and type Task Manager or use the Ctrl+ Shift+ Escape
2.  Select the Process tab and find the app that uses the most bandwidth under the Network tab.
3. Select it and click the End task button.

This should stop the process and let you carry on with your tasks without interruption.