How can I tell if Windows 10 is downloading something in the background

Tashreef Shareef
by 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 Windows to iOS and streaming services... Read more
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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.

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

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.

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