Clear & Delete Windows Update Cache: 5 Easy Ways

Clear up update cache and free up disk space

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clear windows update cache

Update files can take up a lot of space, so many people want to clear the Windows Update cache to free up space on their system drive.

These files aren’t helpful after a successful update, and if you have limited storage space, this guide will show you how to remove them.

You can locate all Windows Update files in the following directory: C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download

How do I clear the Windows Update cache?

1. Use Disk Cleanup

  1. Click the File Explorer icon on your taskbar to open the app.
  2. Right-click the Local Disk (C) and select Properties from the drop-down.
  3. Click on Disk Clean-up, then click the Cleanup system files button.
  4. Check the boxes for Windows upgrade log files and Temporary Windows Installation files, then click OK.

To learn more, we have a great guide on how to use Disk Cleanup on Windows 11, so be sure to check it out.

2. Clear Windows Update cache manually

  1. Press Windows + R key to open the Run dialogue box, type services.msc and click OK to open Services.
  2. Double-click Windows Update and select Stop.
  3. Open the File Explorer, and navigate using this: C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download folder
  4. Press Ctrl + A to highlight every file, right-click and select delete.
  5. Press Windows + R key, and type services.msc, then press Enter.
  6. Find and double-click on Windows Update, then click Start.

Disabling Windows Update services before clearing the distribution directory will fully clear the cache without any issues.

3. Clear Windows Update cache via Command Prompt

  1. Left-click the Start button, type cmd in the search space, and select Run as Administrator.
  2. Type the following, then press Enter: net stop wuauserv
  3. Type the following commands and press Enter after each: C:  cd %Windir%\SoftwareDistribution  del /f /s /q Download

These commands will delete the cache files on your PC.

4. Reset Windows Update cache

  1. Left-click the Start button, type cmd in the search space, and select Run as Administrator.
  2. Type the following commands and press Enter: net stop wuauserv  net stop cryptSvc    net stop bits    net stop msiserver
  3. Run the following command one after the other:  ren C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution SoftwareDistribution.old    ren C:\Windows\System32\catroot2 Catroot2.old
  4. Type the following commands and press Enter after each one: net start wuauserv  net start cryptSvc    net start bits    net start msiserver
  5. Close the Command Prompt and restart your computer.

Resetting the relevant service can also clear the previous update cache from your computer.

5. Clear Windows Update cache via script

  1. Press the Windows + R key to open the Run window, type notepad and click OK.
  2. Copy and paste the following codes:
    @Echo On
    net stop wuauserv
    cd %Windir%\SoftwareDistribution
    del /f /s /q Download
  3. Save the file as Cleardown.cmd on your computer.
  4. Right-click the Cleardown.cmd file and select Run as administrator.

The steps above are also practical for clearing the Windows update cache.

How do I delete Windows Update history?

Deleting update history is similar to deleting the update cache. As long as you delete the contents of the SoftwareDistribution folder, you should also be able to delete the update history.

In conclusion, our readers may be interested in our article about fixing a damaged Microsoft Store cache that may affect their PCs.

Moreover, do check out our article on clearing caches on Windows 11. Also, you can check how to fix the Cache Manager error on Windows 10/11.

Learn how to enhance your gaming on Xbox Series X by following our tips on Clearing Cache on Xbox Series X.

Please leave your questions and suggestions regarding how to clear the Windows Update cache in the comments section below.

More about the topics: Windows Update