How To Limit Upload Traffic Bandwidth in OneDrive

/update on May 24, 2016/

Apparently, the recent update to OneDrive added a very important but long overdue feature that can limit traffic bandwidth for both download and upload.

You can right-click the OneDrive icon in the system tray and select Settings.

Opening OneDrive Settings from System Tray

Then go to Network tab in Microsoft OneDrive Settings window to set up the upload/download rate to limit the traffic bandwidth. Click OK to save the changes.

Microsoft OneDrive Settings - Network

/End of update/

Have you noticed that uploading big files to OneDrive could be frustrating sometimes? See the screenshot below, OneDrive sends data to the cloud in 952Kbps eating up all my home internet upload bandwidth, which caps at 1Mbps. And when things like this happen, browsing Internet becomes a very painful thing to do.

2015-05-07 23_31_52-Task Manager

That’s because, unlike Dropbox, OneDrive doesn’t have a QoS-like feature built in that could limit the upload speed to a certain rate.

So is there any way to make that happen, even OneDrive doesn’t have it?

Option 1: Set up a QoS rule in Group Policy

Open Local Group Policy Editor (press Win+R, type in “gpedit.msc”, and hit Enter), navigate to User ConfigurationWindows Settings and right-click Policy-based QoS, and create a new policy.

Give a name for the policy, deselect Specify DSCP Value, and check Specify Outbound Throttle Rate to enable it, and put a number that’s lower than your internet upload limit.

2015-05-07 23_45_45-Policy-based QoS

Click Next, and leave the rest of the settings default in the next 3 steps. Once the rule is created, the Group Policy will look like this. You can right-click the policy name to make changes if needed.

Policy-based QoS

It may take a few moment to have the new policy to kick in. A reboot may be required.

Option 2: NetBlanncer

NetBalancer is an internet traffic control and monitoring tool designed specifically for Windows systems. It balances your internet activities based on the priorities set on each running application using this tool. The applications with higher priority gain more traffic bandwidth than those with a  lower number. The tool comes with 6 priority levels, from the limit, ignore block, to low, normal, and high, in each download and upload category. And you can manage them for each network adapter separately.

See our review on NetBalancer here.

To throttle OneDrive’s upload speed, sort the Up Rate column first so the one that eats up the upload bandwidth the most will show at the top. Right-click OneDrive (SkyDrive in my case), go to Upload Priority and Limit…

2015-05-07 23_54_37-NetBalancer 8.6.3 by SeriousBit

Then, specify a speed limit in Upload Priority section. Click OK to save the changes.

2015-05-07 23_58_07-Edit Priority

The change takes effect right away. As you can see from the screenshot below, the traffic bandwidth drops significantly right after limiting the upload speed.

2015-05-07 23_14_02-NetBalancer 8.6.3 by SeriousBit

A few last words

I would suggest that give the QoS policy in Group Policy a try first and if that fails, use NetBalancer as your last resort. Dropbox did a lot better job than OneDrive in terms of managing network bandwidth. It would be nice if OneDrive could have this feature included. Setting up a policy-based rule for managing the network is not for everyone but having the option right inside OneDrive could make things a lot easier.

Feel free to share your comments here.

Kent Chen

Microsoft MVP, IT Professional, Developer, Geek, and the co-founder of Next of Windows.

Last updated: 05/24/2016

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