Clearing SoftwareDistribution folder for updates. RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hello all,

    We are looking for a way to to clear the SoftwareDistribution folder under the Windows folder to re-download updates. We have always done this in the past to get a fresh copy of updates to get them working again. Since the the new Windows 10 updates the folder is still stuck in use.

    We used to stop the bits, wuausa, and cryptographic services to be able to remove or rename the folder, but not anymore.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. 


    • Edited by _Mr_Smith_ Friday, March 16, 2018 1:35 PM
    Friday, March 16, 2018 1:32 PM

All replies

  • Hi there,

    you can use the Disk Cleanup Tool for that.

    Please right click with the mouse to your Drive c: / Select Properties / Select Disk Clean-up / wait a few moments that the system can scan your disk and now select "Clean up system files". Now you can select a few options. One is "Windows update clean up". Select it and click o.k.

    best regards

    Friday, March 16, 2018 1:46 PM
  • Hi _Mr_Smith.

    The SoftwareDistribution folder is maintained by the WUAgent (Windows Update Agent), therefore you have to stop the Windows Update Service and the Background Intelligent Transfer Service by executing the following commands in an administrative command prompt

    net stop wuauserv
    net stop bits

    Then you'll be able to remove all the contents within the SoftwareDistribution folder; after that, restart the 2 aforementioned services by executing the following commands in an administrative command prompt

    net start wuauserv
    net start bits


    Luigi Bruno

    • Edited by Luigi BrunoMVP Friday, March 16, 2018 1:53 PM
    • Proposed as answer by EckiS Friday, March 16, 2018 2:33 PM
    Friday, March 16, 2018 1:53 PM
  • Save as batch file.. 

    SC Config "WUAUServ" Start= disabled

    SC config "Bits" start= disabled

    sc stop "bits" 

    sc stop "WUAUServ" 

    del %windir%\SoftwareDistribution\Datastore\*.*

    Sc Config "Wuauserv" Start= Auto

    sc config "bits" start= auto

    Shutdown -r -f -t "00" 


    NOTE: you can change the "00" to a different value if you want to wait 10, or so seconds for reboot... 


    Friday, March 16, 2018 6:46 PM
  • Thanks for the answer, but like I stated in my initial description - we have already tried this, but since the new Windows 10 updates, this method doesn't work.
    Friday, March 16, 2018 6:50 PM
  • It still works on my machine, with the latest updates, do you have UAC disabled? 


    Microsoft Windows [Version 10.0.16299.309]
    (c) 2017 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.



    C:\>SC Config "WUAUServ" Start= disabled
    [SC] ChangeServiceConfig SUCCESS

    C:\>SC config "Bits" start= disabled
    [SC] ChangeServiceConfig SUCCESS

    C:\>sc stop "bits"
    [SC] ControlService FAILED 1062:

    The service has not been started.

    C:\>sc stop "WUAUServ"
    [SC] ControlService FAILED 1062:

    The service has not been started.

    C:\>del C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Datastore\*.*
    C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Datastore\*.*, Are you sure (Y/N)? y

    C:\>Sc Config "Wuauserv" Start= Auto
    [SC] ChangeServiceConfig SUCCESS

    C:\>sc config "bits" start= auto
    [SC] ChangeServiceConfig SUCCESS

    Microsoft Windows [Version 10.0.16299.309]


    Friday, March 16, 2018 7:14 PM
  • No need create Software distribution folder. Delete Download folder contents is enough..

    Download folder is in Software distribution folder

    Friday, March 16, 2018 8:58 PM
  • Are you able to run these commands:

    1.Open an elevated command prompt

    2.Run the following command:

      net stop bits

      net stop wuauserv

      net stop appidsvc

      net stop cryptsvc

      ren C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution SoftwareDistribution.old

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

      net start bits

      net start wuauserv

      net start appidsvc

      net start cryptsvc

    Saturday, March 17, 2018 7:39 PM
  • Hi Smith,

    Any message or error code when you attempt to remove or rename SoftwareDistribution folder?

    Try this:

    1. Run Command Prompt(Admin), type cd\ and press ENTER.

    2. Type net stop wuauserv and press the ENTER key.

    3. Type ren c:\windows\SoftwareDistribution softwaredistribution.old and press the ENTER key.

    4. Type: net start wuauserv and press the ENTER key.

    5. Type: exit and press the ENTER key

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    Monday, March 19, 2018 9:10 AM
  • I made an account just to thank you! great job!! 
    Thursday, September 5, 2019 10:32 AM