Delete Downloaded Windows Update Files in Windows 10

How to Delete Downloaded Windows Update Files in Windows 10

If you are running into issues with Updates, you can try to delete downloaded Windows Update files. When an update package is damaged or fails to install, Windows 10 may keep the corrupted file on the drive, so it will further cause issues with updates. Here is how to delete the downloaded Windows Update files that Windows 10 doesn't delete itself.


Windows 10 checks for updates automatically unless you disable this feature manually. The operating system comes with the Windows Update service, which automatically downloads and installs the updates from Microsoft. The downloaded update files are stored on your system drive in the C:\Windows folder.

There are certain reasons for having corrupted Windows Update files. It can be an improper shutdown, OS crash, power failure, or something gone wrong with your Registry. After that,  Windows Update may fail to do its job properly. The OS may fail to check for updates, or fail to install them. Sometimes,  the Windows Update page in Settings cannot be opened!

To fix most of the Windows Update issues in Windows 10, usually it is enough to run the built-in Windows Update troubleshooter.

Run the built-in Windows Update troubleshooter.

  1. Open the Start menu and type: troubleshooting and press Enter.Windows 10 Open Troubleshooters
  2. Click "Windows Update".Windows 10 Run WIndows Update Troubleshooter
  3. Click "Run as administrator" in the Troubleshooter's dialog and complete the Windows Update troubleshooter. See if Windows Update works properly.Windows 10 Run Windows Update Troubleshooter Button

When you run into issues though with updates, you may spend hours or even days figuring out what is going wrong. In such case, you can try to delete downloaded Windows Update files to start over. The SoftwareDistribution folder contains files related to updates obtained via Windows Update, it is present on all versions of Windows. It could have a couple of hundreds megabytes of size. But if this folder is much larger, this indicates that some updates are corrupted.

To Delete Downloaded Windows Update Files in Windows 10,

  1. Press Win + R on the keyboard and type services.msc in the Run box.
  2. Stop the service named Windows Update.
  3. Open File Explorer.
  4. Go to C:\WINDOWS\SoftwareDistribution\Download. Copy-paste this path to the explorer's address bar.
  5. Select all files of the folder(press the Ctrl-A keys).
  6. Press the Delete key on the keyboard.Windows 10 Delete Windows Update Downloaded Files
  7. Windows may request for administrator privileges to delete those files. Turn on the option "Do this for all current items" in the dialog and click on Continue.

Restart Windows 10 and check for updates. See if this fixed your issues.

Alternatively, you can create a batch file to automate the process.

Delete Downloaded Windows Update Files with a Batch File

  1. Open Notepad.
  2. Paste the following text:
    net stop wuauserv
    cd /d %SystemRoot%\SoftwareDistribution
    del /s /q /f Download
    net start wuauserv
  3. Save it to a file with a *.cmd extension. You can place it on the Desktop. Windows 10 Delete Windows Update Files Batch File 1
  4. Right-click the file you have created and start it as Administrator from the context menu.Windows 10 Delete Windows Update Files Batch File 2

You are done. Now restart the PC and check for available updates.

Here's how does it work

The command net stop wuauserv stops the Windows Update service. Next, the cd command switches the current folder to C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution. The del command erases the contents of the Download folder and its subfolders. Finally, the last command, net start wuauserv, starts the Windows Update service again.

To save your time, you can download this ready-to-use batch file.

Download the file

That's it!

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

9 thoughts on “Delete Downloaded Windows Update Files in Windows 10”

  1. This is the only solution that really works because Microsoft has decided to override your own group policy, services and registry settings. We can improve on this script to run it automatically lets say every minute or so.

  2. This has been really helpful! I have a Surface 3 with 32GB and couldn’t do the update because there wasn’t enough storage space. Now I’m able to update it.

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