How to Delete Old Windows Update Files

With Windows 11 still in its infancy, Microsoft has been pushing updates trying to fix bugs and issues. Windows updates bring new features, security improvements, and bug fixes to your PC. However, these updates leave behind old installation files. These can take up a lot of space in your PC. Therefore, here is How to Delete Old Windows Update Files.

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Windows 10 and 11 have dedicated folders for saving the updates that failed to install. Therefore, there will be big files that would take up space on your PC. One of the main benefits of deleting old windows update files is that it frees up a lot of storage as these files can take up to 10s of GB in your drive.

How to Delete Old Windows Update Files

You should never delete these files after installing a Windows update, as it’ll remove the option of moving back to the previous build. Hence, it’s best to delete old Windows update files only if your computer works without any crashes and you don’t intend to move back to the previous version.

Old Update Files with the Settings App can be deleted

The storage window in the Settings app gives a detailed breakdown of the temporary files on your PC, including old Windows update files.

  1. Open Settings
  2. On the System tab, navigate to Storage on the right pane.
  3. Click on Temporary files.
  4. Check the boxes that read ‘Windows Update Cleanup’ and ‘Delivery Optimization Files.’ Uncheck everything else.
  5. Once selected, click the ‘Remove files’ button at the top. When a prompt appears, click Continue.

Delete Old Update Files with the Disk Cleanup Tool

Disk Cleanup helps you to free up valuable storage space on your PC by deleting unnecessary files. You can also use it to delete old Windows update files.

  1. In the Search tab, type in disk cleanup, and select Run as administrator.
  2. Using the drop-down menu select your drive and then click OK.
  3. Tick the ‘Windows Update Cleanup’ and ‘Delivery Optimization Files’ checkboxes. Then, click on OK.
  4. Choose Delete Files to confirm.

Delete Update Files from the SoftwareDistribution Folder

Windows stores all the Update Files in the SoftwareDistribution folder. Sometimes those downloaded files exist when the Windows Update downloads get stuck or fail to download entirely. After Windows installs those updates, you can delete files from the SoftwareDistribution folder to free up storage space.

The First step in doing so is to stop the Windows Update service, here is how

  1. In the Search menu, type services in the box and select the first result that appears.
  2.  In the Services window, locate the Windows Update service, right-click on it and select Stop.

After stopping the Windows Update Service, you can delete the Old Update Files from the SoftwareDistribution folder.

  1. Right-click on the Start menu and select Run from the resulting menu.
  2. Type C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution in the Open field and press Enter.
  3. Select all files in the SoftwareDistribution folder and click on the trash icon at the top to delete them.

After deleting the files, open the Services window again and start the Windows Update service.


Here is How to Delete Old Windows Update Files. This will help you get back some of your valuable storage back, which can now be used to store other important things.

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