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How To Purge the Windows Update Cache

May 2016

This tutorial will walk you through the steps to purge the Windows Update Cache. The Update Cache is a special folder that stores the update installation files. It is located at the root of your system drive in C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download.


How To Clear the Update Cache

There are several reasons why you would want to purge the Windows Update cache.


You are running out of storage space on your computer: You can instantly reclaim valuable storage space by deleting obsolete update installation files. This maintenance routine is usually managed by Windows, but you may also do it manually.

You are experiencing download or installation errors with Windows Update: Try to purge the update cache. In doing so, your computer will delete corrupt update installation files and download them again.

Manually Purge the Update Cache

The first step is to temporarily turn off the Windows Update service (to stop background downloads). Open the Command Prompt, type the
net stop wuauserv
command and press Enter.

Open File Explorer and go to View > Folder Options. Select the Show hidden files, folder, and drives radio button and click on Apply to enable the display of hidden files on your computer.

Once done, navigate to C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download and then delete the content of the Download folder.

Open a new Command prompt window and run the
net start wuauserv
command to restart the Windows Update service.

A Batch File to Purge the Update Cache

You can create a batch file and use it as a shortcut to instantly clear the content of the Windows Update cache.

Open Notepad and copy/paste the code given below:
CD\          
CD %Windir%
CD SoftwareDistribution
DEL /F /S /Q Download

Click on the File menu > Save As and choose a location to save the file (place it on the Desktop for easier access). Click on the Save as type drop-down menu and select All Files. Rename the file Erase_Cache.bat and click on Save.

That's it; your batch file is ready for use.

Stop the Windows Update service and then double-click on Erase_Cache to run the enclosed commands. In doing so, you will automatically delete the content of Update cache folder.

For unlimited offline reading, you can download this article for free in PDF format:
How-to-purge-the-windows-update-cache.pdf

See also

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