How to delete Windows installer patch files

Andrew Wafer By: Andrew Wafer
3 minute read
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The Windows 10 operating system, like any other similar platform, receives regular updates. These updates are meant to resolve reported bugs and software related issues in order to improve the overall user experience. Of course, depending on each update and its importance, among different bug-fixes, these patches are including new features, system apps and even new capabilities or security enhancements.

The update process is simple. You can get a notification based on which you can choose to apply a certain patch or not, or the new files are installed automatically in the background while you are still doing your work. Usually, this process is completed only after a reboot is performed.

But, as a general rule, after a Windows patch is installed on your computer, the patch file and other related packages will be cached inside a dedicated folder. These files that are stored by default are used when you decide to uninstall a certain patch or when you choose to restore system file that was previously removed from your Windows 10 computer.

While it’s not really recommended to delete essential installer directories, the cache folder that stores the installer patch files can be safely removed from your Windows 10 system. In this way you can free up some space from your hard drive (especially if the space is already limited). Over time these patches might become quite numerous.

The installer patch files on Windows 10 are located under ‘C:WindowsInstaller$PatchCache$’. This is a system folder so it is hidden by default – you cannot access it unless you first enable this feature from Control Panel.

To do that, open Control Panel, switch to ‘Categories’ and then you have to select ‘Appearance and Personalization’. From the window that will be displayed just choose ‘Show hidden files and folders’.show hidden files and folders on windows

Before deleting these files, I recommend you to backup the installer patch folder in order to avoid further unpleasant situations – you can just place a copy of this folder on an USB stick or on an external hard drive.

Moreover, keep in mind that it’s safe to delete only the baseline cache (the already outlined ‘C:WindowsInstaller$PatchCache$’ directory). Don’t remove anything that’s located under ‘C:WindowsInstaller’ – if you make changes within that directory you might experience problems if you need to reinstall / repair the Windows 10 system.

How to delete installer patch files on Windows 10

  1. First, power on your Windows 10 computer.
  2. Log in using an administrator account – otherwise you won’t be able to delete the installer patch files.
  3. From the main Windows screen click on the Search field, located near the Windows Start icon (the same place from where you access Cortana).
  4. In the search field type “cmd” and press Enter.
  5. Now a command prompt window should be displayed on your computer.
  6. There, enter: ‘rmdir /q /s %WINDIR%Installer$PatchCache$’ (without using quotations).
  7. That’s all.

So, those were the steps that must be followed if you want to delete installer patch files on Windows 10. If you only try to free up some space, maybe a better idea is to get rid of the files that are no longer useful. In that respect you can use the Disk Cleanup utility. For using this feature click on the search icon and type ‘disk cleanup’; then just follow on-screen prompts to remove certain files.

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