How to delete Win download files in Windows 10 [Full Guide]

Matthew Adams
by Matthew Adams
Windows & Software Expert
Matthew is a freelancer who has produced a variety of articles on various topics related to technology. His main focus is the Windows OS and all the things surrounding it. He is passionate about the...
Affiliate Disclosure
  • Windows download files can waste valuable hard drive space, and this guide will help you use it.
  • To start resolving this issue, you should use the recommended tool, or follow the methods below.
  • You can browse through a plethora of guide articles for a wide variety of Windows software at our How-to hub.
  • Our thorough System section includes more handy guides for Windows 10.
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Download files can take up quite a bit of hard drive space. Users typically download software setup files, which accumulate in their Downloads folders. Windows Update also downloads superfluous files to a SoftwareDistribution folder, which wastes even more hard drive space.

Downloaded Windows Update files and software installers can waste many megabytes, and even gigabytes, of hard drive space. So, it’s worth deleting those download files every few months to free up HDD storage space.

How do I delete Windows download files?

1. Delete files with a file eraser

BitRaser File Eraser is a disk clean-up utility for Windows 10 that thoroughly erases files. You can quickly delete Windows download files with Bitraser’s Erase List feature.

BitRaser supports 17 global data erasure algorithms. You can utilize it to fully erase general files, folders, partitions, software traces, system traces, and browser data beyond recovery.

Other useful features of Bitraser

  • Enables users to schedule data erasure tasks
  • Provides certified data erasure reports
  • Wipes unused disk space
  • Generates log reports
  1. To erase Windows download files with that software, click the Home tab on the BitRaser File Eraser window.
  2. Click Add Erasure list on the left of the Home tab.
  3. Select the Add New List option.
  4. Then press the Add Folder button, and click the Browse option.
  5. Select the SoftwareDistribution Download subfolder at this path: C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download
  6. Then click OK after selecting a folder.
  7. Select the Erase Subfolder option, but DO NOT select the Delete folder after erasing contents checkbox.
  8. Click OK to return to the Add Erasure list tab.
  9. Next, click the Save List option, enter a title in the list name box, and press the Save button.
  10. Select the erase list you just saved, and press the Erase Now button.

Note: Disable the Windows Update service before erasing Windows Update download files with BitRaser.

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2. Manually delete Windows Update download files

  1. Press the Windows and S keys at the same time.
  2. Input services in the search utility.
  3. Click Services to open that window.
    Services window how to delete win download files in windows 10
  4. Right-click the Windows Update service and select Stop.
  5. Open File Explorer by clicking its Windows 10 taskbar button.
  6. Next, enter this folder in File Explorer’s path bar: C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download
  7. Then press the Enter key to open the Download folder shown directly below.
    SoftwareDistribution Download folder how to delete win download files in windows 10
  8. Press the Ctrl + A hotkey to select everything in that folder.
  9. Select the Home tab.
  10. Click the Delete button.
  11. If a File Access Denied window opens, select the Do this for all current items checkbox and click Continue.
  12. Restart the Windows Update service by right-clicking it on the Services window and selecting Start.

3. Enable Storage Sense to automatically delete files in the user Downloads folder

  1. Enter storage in Windows 10’s search box.
  2. Click Storage settings to open that tab in Settings.
    Storage tab how to delete win download files in windows 10
  3. Click Configure Storage Sense to open more options.
  4. Toggle Storage Sense On.
  5. Then select a suitable option on the Delete files in my Downloads folder if they haven’t been opened for more than drop-down menu.
    Configure Storage Sense how to delete win download files in windows 10
  6. Storage sense will automatically erase downloaded files as configured when HDD space is low. However, you can click Clean Now to do so immediately.

So, that’s how you can erase Windows download files in the SoftwareDistribution and Users download folders. By doing so, you’ll free up HDD space for software and user files.

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