[Usage Guide] How to Clear Windows Update Cache

[Usage Guide] How to Clear Windows Update Cache

/ Shayne Sherman

What Is Windows Update Cache?

The Windows Update Cache is a folder in the Windows operating system that contains the files necessary to update the system. When Windows downloads updates from Microsoft’s servers, it stores them in this cache to make future updates faster and more efficient.

Where Is the Windows Update Cache Location?

The Windows Update Cache folder is in the C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download directory on a Windows computer. The Windows operating system uses this folder to store updates downloaded from the Microsoft servers to install them on the computer when needed quickly.

What Are the Advantages of Deleting the Cache Files of Windows Updates?

Keeping the cache files for a long time can interfere with your regular Windows services. However, there are some advantages to deleting the cache files of Windows updates, including:

1. The cache files can take up significant space on your system, and deleting them can help free up disk space.

2. Deleting the cache files can potentially improve system speed and performance.

3. Over time, cache files can corrupt, affecting your system. Deleting them can reduce the risk of corruption.

Before deleting the Windows Update Cache folder or files, it is important to take a few steps to prepare your computer. These include:

1. Closing all background applications running on your computer.

2. Disconnecting any remote connections.

3. Creating a backup file in case of emergencies.

Different Methods to Clear Windows Update Cache

While checking for updates, the system automatically stores all the Windows Update installation files in a cache for future use. However, this cache folder may contain bugged updates or corrupt files, creating problems during the process and causing various errors. In such situations, it is advisable to clear the Windows Update cache.

Several methods are available to clear the Windows update cache, and we will discuss them in this post. Below are the different methods to clear the Windows update cache.

Windows Update Cache Clear Using Disk Cleanup

The following steps outline the primary method to clear the Windows cache using disk clean-up:

1. Open the Start menu, type Disk Cleanup, and open it.

2. The Disk Cleanup: Drive Selection window opens. Select the drive you want to clean up.

select drive disk cleanup

3. Click on OK. The disk cleanup for the selected drive opens.

4. Click on Clean up System Files.

clean up system files

5. The next window will show the drive you want to clean up. Select the hard drive (default is C:) from where you want to clear the Windows Update Cache.

6. Select Windows upgrade log files and Temporary Windows Installation files, then click OK.

select temporary windows installation files

Windows Update Cache Clear Using Run

1. Press the Win + R key to open the Run dialogue box.

2. Type services.msc and click OK to open Services.

run services msc

3. Right-click Windows Update Services and select Stop.

stop windows update service

4. Open File Explorer and navigate to C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download folder.

5. Press Ctrl + A to highlight every file, and click the Delete icon to delete Windows update cache files.

delete all contents in softwaredistribution folder

6. Press the Windows + R key, type services.msc, and press Enter.

7. Find and right-click on the Windows Update service, then click Start.

Clear Windows Update Cache via Command Prompt

1. Open the Command prompt and run as an administrator.

2. In the command prompt window, type the following command and press enter:

net stop wuauserv

net stop wuauserv

3. Next, type the following commands and press Enter after each line:


cd %Windir%\SoftwareDistribution

del /f /s /q Download

These commands will delete the cache files on your PC.

How to Reset Windows Update Cache

1. Run the Command prompt and run as an administrator.

2. Type the following commands and press Enter after each line:

net stop wuauserv

net stop cryptSvc

net stop bits

net stop msiserver

net stop bits

3. Next, run the following commands and press Enter after each line:

ren C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution SoftwareDistribution.old

ren C:\Windows\System32\catroot2 Catroot2.old

catroot distribution folder cmd command

4. Lastly, type the following commands and press Enter after each one:

net start wuauserv

net start cryptSvc

net start bits

net start msiserver

5. Exit the command prompt and restart your PC.

Clear Windows Update Cache via Script

1. Open Notepad and paste the codes below:

@Echo On net stop wuauserv C: cd %Windir%\SoftwareDistribution Type del /f /s /q Download pause

softwaredistribution script

2. Save the file as Cleardown.cmd.

name script as cleardown cmd

3. To run the cleardown icon as an administrator, right-click on it and select Run as Administrator.

4. The User Account Control window will open and ask for permission. Click Yes to continue.

Clearing Windows Update Cache: A Simple and Effective Solution for Update Problems

Clearing the Windows Update cache is a valuable troubleshooting technique to resolve update-related issues. Whether you prefer Disk Cleanup, Run, Command Prompt, or Scripts, this guide has provided various methods to efficiently clear the Windows Update cache. Removing temporary files and resetting the cache can ensure smoother and more reliable Windows updates. Take advantage of these steps to maintain the health and performance of your Windows system.

Frequently Asked Questions About Clearing Windows Update Cache

How Long Does It Take to Clear Windows Update Cache?

When it comes to how long it takes to clear Windows Update caches, a few factors come into play. First and foremost is the size of the cache itself. Larger caches will take longer to be cleared than smaller caches. If you are running multiple updates at once, this can also increase the time needed for the caches to be cleared.

Why Can’t I Clear My Windows Update Cache?

Windows Update Cache is a collection of temporary files that Windows stores while downloading, processing, and installing updates. Over time, the cache can become full of outdated files that take up disk space and slow down your computer. Clearing out the cache periodically helps keep your system running as efficiently as possible.

Will Windows Updates Fill Your Cache?

Windows Updates are an essential part of a computer’s maintenance routine. They keep your system up-to-date with the latest security fixes and features and protect you from malware or viruses. You can set Windows to automatically install updates or opt-in for manual installation each time an update is available.

Will I Lose Personal Files if I Clear Windows Update Cache?

The answer to this question depends on the type of files you have stored on your computer. Windows Update Cache usually stores temporary files used by the operating system and programs and files associated with previously installed updates. Clearing these files won’t affect any personal documents or images stored in separate folders on your computer.

Will I Lose Updates if I Clear Windows Update Cache?

When it comes to maintaining your Windows 10 PC, clearing the Windows Update Cache can be a helpful tool. It helps free up space and potentially fix issues with Windows Updates. However, one of the main concerns people have is whether or not they will lose their updates if they clear the cache.

Can I Recover Windows Update Cache if I Delete It?

Recovering the Windows Update cache may be possible if it has been accidentally deleted. However, this success will depend on your available file restoration tools and how much data remains intact. Some recovery applications can scan for deleted files to restore them.

Shayne Sherman
Meet the author

Shayne is an expert on all things Microsoft Windows and computer security. As a Windows user of over 30 years, he has been featured on Business Insider, Yahoo, Tech Republic, Hacker Noon, Techopedia, and many other publications. Aside from entertaining at his home theater, he enjoys spending time with his family, including his English bulldog, Fergie.