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How to Delete SoftwareDistribution Folder on Windows 10

What is the SoftwareDistribution folder and what is it used for? Although many users are not aware of this folder, so let’s shed some light on the importance of the SoftwareDistribution folder. This folder is used by Windows to temporarily stores files needed to install the latest Windows Updates on your device.

Windows updates are important as it provides security updates & patches, fixes a lot of bugs and improves your system performance.  SoftwareDistribution folder is located in the Windows directory and is managed by WUAgent (Windows Update Agent).

Do you think that deleting this folder is ever required? On what circumstances, you would delete this folder? Is it safe to delete this folder? These are some questions that we all come across while discussing this folder.  On my system, it is consuming more than 1 GB space of C drive.

Why would you ever delete this folder?

SoftwareDistribution folder should be left alone but there comes a time when you may need to clear the contents of this folder. One such case is when you’re unable to update Windows or when Windows updates which are downloaded & stored in the SoftwareDistribution folder are corrupt or incomplete.

In most of the cases, when Windows Update stops working properly on your device and you are getting an error message, you need to flush out this folder to solve the problem. Moreover, if you find that this folder is accumulating a large chunk of data taking more space of the drive, you can manually clear out the folder to free up some space on your drive. However, if you face Windows Update issues such as Windows Update not working, Windows Updates fails, Windows Update stuck while downloading the latest updates, etc. then you need to delete SoftwareDistribution folder on Windows 10.

How to Delete SoftwareDistribution folder on Windows 10

Is it safe to delete SoftwareDistribution folder?

You don’t need to touch this folder under any normal circumstances, but if the content of the folder is corrupted or not synchronized causing issues with Windows updates then you need to delete this folder. It is completely safe to delete this folder. However, you need to first make sure that you are experiencing a problem with your Windows Update. Next time when Windows Update files are ready, Windows will automatically create this folder and download the update files from the scratch.

How to Delete SoftwareDistribution Folder on Windows 10

Make sure to create a restore point just in case something goes wrong.

To delete SoftwareDistribution folder from your device, you need to either open the Command Prompt or Windows PowerShell

1.Open Command Prompt or Windows PowerShell with Administrator access. Press Windows key + X and select the Command Prompt or PowerShell option.

Press Windows +X and select the Command Prompt or PowerShell option

2.Once PowerShell opens, you need to type below-mentioned commands to stop the Windows Update Service and the Background Intelligent Transfer Service.

net stop wuauserv
net stop bits

Type command to stop the Windows Update Service and the Background Intelligent Transfer Service

3.Now you need to navigate to SoftwareDistribution folder in C drive to delete all its components:

C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution

Delete all the files and folders under SoftwareDistribution

If you are not able to delete all files because some files are in use, you just need to restart your device. Upon rebooting, you need to again run the above commands again and follow the steps. Now, again try to delete all the content of the SoftwareDistribution folder.

4.Once you have deleted the content of the SoftwareDistribution folder, you need to type the following command to activate the services related to Windows Update:

net start wuauserv
net start bits

Type command to activate Windows Update related services again

An alternate way to Delete SoftwareDistribution Folder

1.Press Windows Key + R then type services.msc and hit Enter.

services.msc windows

2.Right-click on Windows Update service and select Stop.

Right-click on Windows Update service and select Stop

3.Open File Explorer then navigate to the following location:

C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution

4.Delete all the files and folders under SoftwareDistribution folder.

Delete all the files and folders under SoftwareDistribution

5.Again right-click on Windows Update service then select Start.

Right-click on Windows Update service then select Start

6.Now to try to download the Windows updates and this time it will without any issues.

How to Rename SoftwareDistribution folder

If you’re worried about deleting the SoftwareDistribution folder then you can simply rename it and Windows will automatically create a new SoftwareDistribution folder to download the Windows updates.

1.Press Windows Key + X then select Command Prompt (Admin).

Command Prompt (Admin).

2.Now type the following commands to stop Windows Update Services and then hit Enter after each one:

net stop wuauserv
net stop cryptSvc
net stop bits
net stop msiserver

Stop Windows update services wuauserv cryptSvc bits msiserver

3.Next, type the following command to rename SoftwareDistribution Folder and then hit Enter:

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

Rename SoftwareDistribution Folder

4.Finally, type the folowing command to start Windows Update Services and hit Enter after each one:

net start wuauserv
net start cryptSvc
net start bits
net start msiserver

Start Windows update services wuauserv cryptSvc bits msiserver

Once you have completed these steps, Windows 10 will automatically create a folder and download the necessary elements for running Windows Update services.

If the above step is not working then you can boot Windows 10 into Safe Mode, and rename SoftwareDistribution folder to SoftwareDistribution.old.

Note: The only thing which you may lose in the process of deleting this folder is the historical information. This folder also stores the Windows Update history information. Thus, deleting the folder will delete the Windows Update history data from your device. Moreover, the Windows Update process will take more time than it used to take earlier because WUAgent will check and create the Datastore information.

Overall, there is no problem associated with the process. It is a small price to pay for getting your device updated with the latest Windows Updates. Whenever you notice Windows Update problems such as Windows Updates files missing, not updating properly, you can opt for this method to restore the Windows Update process.

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I hope the above steps were helpful and now you can easily Delete SoftwareDistribution folder on Windows 10, but if you still have any questions regarding this tutorial then feel free to ask them in the comment’s section.

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Aditya Farrad

Aditya is a self-motivated information technology professional and has been a technology writer for the last 7 years. He covers Internet services, mobile, Windows, software, and How-to guides.

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