Even though computers have come a long way in terms of storage over the last decade or so, they are still far from perfect. Some computers have slow hard drives with large capacities, while others have fast solid-state drives with small capacities – the tech world has yet to come up with a middle-ground. Of course, when you have around 1TB of storage space on your hard drive, you’ll rarely think twice when you download files to it. However, over time, the more that you initialize Windows updates, the more storage is filled up by unused system files, and you find yourself having to delete Windows update files.
The problem is when you update your Windows version and issues with the existing version are fixed, a lot of unused files aren’t removed from your hard drive. This leaves them to fill up your available hard drive space and as we said before, over time this ends up having a bigger impact than you’d initially think.
For this reason, we believe that it’s important that if you have a computer with Windows installed, you know about some of the different things that you can do to delete Windows update files and prevent them from unnecessarily filling up your hard drive space. In this article, we’ll be showing you exactly how to do this.
The first method that we’ll be showing you utilizes an already built-in Windows feature that is developed for managing the storage devices that are connected to your computer. This is the first thing that you should try before looking into third-party removal tools as it is designed exactly for the task that you’re trying to achieve.
Follow the steps below to use the Disk Cleanup feature to delete Windows update files.
Step #1 – Turn on your computer and once it has loaded, enter “Disk Cleanup” into the search bar.
Note: If you aren’t able to find it, open up the “My Computer” / “This PC” menu, right-click on the hard drive, and click on “Properties > General > Disk Cleanup”.
Step #2 – A list of files which are no longer required by Windows will be shown (e.g., temporary files, per user Windows Error Report, etc.). From the list of files, select “Windows Update Cleanup”.
Step #3 – After selecting the different files that you want to have deleted, click on “OK” and let Disk Cleanup take care of the rest.
Step #4 – If you have multiple hard drives connected to your computer then repeat this for each of them.
If you were to use this method to delete Windows update files after each Windows update which you choose to install, you can keep your hard drive clean and make sure that you have as much available space as possible.
If using the Disk Cleanup feature didn’t eliminate as much of the unnecessary files as you had hoped for, then you can try using a different approach. For the following method, we are going to be using a Windows Explorer window, and even though this is slightly more complicated than using Disk Cleanup, it gets the job done effectively.
Follow our short guide below to delete Windows update files using a Windows Explorer window.
Step #1 – After your computer has loaded, click on the start menu icon and enter “services.msc”. The first result will be the Windows’ Services program, click on this.
Step #2 – A list of services will be shown (some running, some stopped) and from that list, scroll until you find the “Windows Update” service.
Note: if you are struggling to find this service then click on the “Name” header as this will list the services in alphabetical order.
Step #3 – Double-click on “Windows Update” to open up the settings menu for it. From this menu, click on the “General” tab and then under the “Automated Updates” header, click on the “Stop” button.
Step #4 – Next, using a Windows Explorer window, locate the “Software Distribution” folder which can be found in “C: Drive > Windows”.
Step #5 – Right-click on this folder and select the “Rename” option. Rename this folder to something like “Software Distribution Old”.
Step #6 – Now, go back to the menu where you stopped the update service and click on “Start” this time.
Step #7 – After a few seconds, a new folder will be created and will be named “Software Distribution”. You can now delete the old folder which you have just renamed, and you will have successfully manually deleted the update files.
By now you will have a thorough understanding of how you can use two Windows features which have already been set up and preinstalled for you to use, and how you can use these two features to delete Windows update files. That being said, neither of these methods are optimal, and neither of them will fully remove the useless update files which have been left behind, which is why we recommend that you use Stellar BitRaser instead.
In this final method that we’re going to be showing you, we’ll be taking things a step further than we did with the other two methods. The thing is when you delete Windows update files manually, or with Disk Cleanup, the files aren’t actually deleted and are still recoverable – thus, continuing to take up a portion of your hard drive.
However, when you use the Stellar BitRaser program to delete Windows update files, they are permanently deleted and can’t be recovered by any means. By using this data removal tool, no matter how powerful of a recovery tool you were to use, any data that you remove can’t be recovered.
Step #1 – Start by download, installing, and launching Stellar BitRaser on your computer.
Step #2 – Using the menu on the left, click on the “+” next to the “System Traces” option, and tick its box too.
Step #3 – Below this header, select the “Windows Update Information” option.
Step #4 – From the display that is shown, simply click on the “Erase Now” button.
Step #5 – The process should take no more than a few minutes, and once it’s complete, you should be extra thorough and repeat the process at least once.
On top of using this program to delete files from your Windows computer permanently, you can also:
There’s no doubt in our minds that if you want to permanently delete download history, delete files from your hard drive, Delete Temporary Internet Files Completely, and increase the amount of available space on your computer, Stellar BitRaser is the way to go. You can also Get More File Deleters to Remove Unwanted Files on Windows PC Here.
The Windows operating system is one of the best there is, especially with the release of Windows 10 being as flexible as it is. However, every time that you update your computer there will be a lot of unused system files left behind and eventually, they’ll take up a large portion of your hard drive. For that reason, we recommend that at least once a month you use one of the methods above to delete Windows update files. On top of clearing storage space, it’s also a great way to keep your computer running as fast as possible. While we recommend that you use Stellar BitRaser for the most effective removal, either of the other two methods will get the job done too.