Delete Software Distribution Folder: Best Way to Remove It

Delete the folder to fix update issues and clear storage

by Vlad Turiceanu
Vlad Turiceanu
Vlad Turiceanu
Passionate about technology, Windows, and everything that has a power button, he spent most of his time developing new skills and learning more about the tech world. Coming... read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • The Software Distribution folder is managed by the OS and used as a space to store temporary files that pertain to Windows Update.
  • Many ask whether they can safely delete the Software Distribution folder.
  • Deleting the folder doesn't trigger any major issues, but you can have problems with Windows Update, sometimes momentarily.
how to delete software distribution folder in Windows

The Software Distribution folder is responsible for temporarily storing the important update files that Windows needs to perform an update. And we’ll show why you should and how you can delete the Software Distribution folder.

Several users have, on multiple forums, including Microsoft, shared issues with the folder and were wondering if deleting it poses any immediate or significant threat. So, let’s find out all about it.

Can I delete the Software Distribution folder?

Yes, you can clear the Software Distribution folder in Windows just like any other folder. Here are a few reasons why you might want to consider deleting it:

  • Issues with Windows Update: To fix Windows Update errors, it’s often the recommended troubleshooting method to clear the contents of the Software Distribution folder.
  • Free up storage: The folder may take up considerable space, and if you want to free up storage, then deleting it won’t be the worst choice.
  • Plan to disable automatic updates: If you plan to disable automatic Windows updates, the Software Distribution folder serves no purpose, and you can remove it.

Is it safe to delete the Software Distribution folder?

Yes, deleting the Software Distribution folder poses no significant harm. It would take a little longer the next time you check for and install Windows Updates.

Also, Windows will automatically recreate the folder and download the relevant files needed to complete the update process.

How we test, review and rate?

We have worked for the past 6 months on building a new review system on how we produce content. Using it, we have subsequently redone most of our articles to provide actual hands-on expertise on the guides we made.

For more details you can read how we test, review, and rate at WindowsReport.

How can I delete the Software Distribution folder?

In order to delete the Software Distribution folder, you need administrator rights. Moreover, before you delete the files in the folder, you also have to stop the Windows Update and Background Intelligent Transfer Services.  Let’s find out how!

1. Press Windows + S to open Search, type Command Prompt in the text field, and click on Run as administrator.

command prompt

2. Click Yes in the UAC prompt.

3. Paste the following command and hit Enter to stop the Windows Update service:net stop wuauserv


stop service

4. Next, execute the following command to terminate BITS (Background Intelligent Transfer Service):net stop bits

stop service to delete software distribution folder

6. Once done, press Windows + E to open File Explorer, paste the following in the address bar and hit Enter: C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution


7. Press Ctrl + A to select all the folder’s contents and then hit the Delete key. If you can’t delete the Software Distribution folder or the access is denied, just restart your PC and try again.

delete software distribution folder

8.  All the files in the Software Distribution folder should be deleted but the folder should still be there. We want to delete its contents, not the folder.

9. Go back to to Command Prompt, and execute the following commands to restart the Windows Update service and BITS: net start wuauserv net start bits

restart services

Once you finish the process, Windows will reconfigure the folder and download the necessary files. Your Windows updates will now work as intended without any issues or errors popping up.

We also have a guide on renaming the Software Distribution folder. And since it helps identify whether the folder is causing all the trouble, we recommend you check it.

For other questions regarding the process, reach for the comments section below.

This article covers:Topics: