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Moving Windows Update Download Folder

    Question

  • Does anyone know how to move the locations that Windows Automatic Updates downloads updates to?  I have a Dell server that was partition with an 8 gig C drive and it tends to fill up I'm looking to move anything I can to the larger D drive.
    Tuesday, August 25, 2009 2:38 PM

Answers

  • Hi,

     

    Thank you for the reply.

     

    I am afraid that we cannot change the location for downloaded updates. If we delete or move the SoftwareDistribution folder, a new SoftwareDistribution folder will be created automatically in C:\Windows and new updates will be downloaded into it.

     

    Based on the current situation, you may delete or move the SoftwareDistribution folder manually regularly. Or you can create a script to delete or move the SoftwareDistribution folder and create a task scheduler to run this script.

     

    Hope it helps.

     

    Tim Quan - MSFT

    Tuesday, September 01, 2009 7:08 AM
    Moderator
  • Hi,

     

    If you would like to delete the SoftwareDistribution folder, please try below:

     

    1. Stop the Automatic Updates service. To do this, follow these steps:

     

    a. Click "Start", click"Run", type "services.msc" (without the quotation marks), and then click "OK".

    b. Right-click the "Automatic Updates" service.

    c. Click "Stop". The service will take a moment to stop.

     

    2. Rename C:\WINDOWS\SoftwareDistribution to C:\WINDOWS\SoftwareDistribution_old, and backup the folder to an alternate location.

     

    3. Start the Automatic Updates service. To do this, follow these steps:

     

    a. Click "Start", click "Run", type "services.msc" (without the quotation marks), and then click "OK".

    b. Right-click the "Automatic Updates" service, and then click "Start".

     

    The service will take a moment to start and the fold will be recreated when you try to visit windows update site. You can then delete the SoftwareDistribution_old folder.

     

    Tim Quan - MSFT

     

    Wednesday, September 02, 2009 6:55 AM
    Moderator

All replies

  • JeffWask

    I tried looking for a place to change the default location, but came up empty on that.

    I would uninstall WSUS, but leave the downloaded files in place. Look for the c:\WSUS folder and move that to where you want it to be. Reinstall WSUS using the new location.

    reinstalling WSUS is not the long of a process. The "long" part is the first intial sync'ing. but since you already have those downloaded, that won't take long either.

    Let me know if this helps.

    Miller-IT
    Wednesday, August 26, 2009 6:54 PM
  • Hi,

     

    Are you running Windows Server 2003 or Windows Server 2008? If it is Windows Server 2008, update files will be saved in C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution. Files downloaded in this folder will be removed automatically after a period of time.

     

     

    Tim Quan - MSFT

    Thursday, August 27, 2009 4:30 AM
    Moderator
  • Thanks to both of you...

    Miller-IT, I am running WSUS on my internal network however the server in question is a remotely hosted web server not attached to my domain.

    Tim, not very big is quite relative.  The two servers in question came shipped from Dell with 8GB C: partitions.  (this mistake occurred before my time.)  It seems that the SoftwareDistribution folder has is over 800MB in size or greater  than 10% of my drive.  When you have less than 100MB of free space 800MB is significant.  I have purge log files and all of the hidden patch uninstall folders which swallow a ton of drive space so I am, in much better shape now.  It would still be nice to move that folder, maybe a little registry hacking is in order...
    Thursday, August 27, 2009 1:55 PM
  • I just ran a clean up on my WSUS server (on 2003) and it cleaned up 20GB. Hate to see what your definition of "Not very big" is. LOL

    Miller-IT.
    Thursday, August 27, 2009 3:32 PM
  • Hi,

     

    As you are running WSUS, I suggest discussing it in our WSUS forum. They are the best resource to troubleshoot the issue.

     

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/winserverwsus/threads

     

    Tim Quan - MSFT

     

    Friday, August 28, 2009 2:01 AM
    Moderator
  • I think you misunderstand...  I'm talking about straight Automatic Updates and the folder location that that service downloads updates to C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution \downloads.  This issue does not involve WSUS.  As I stated, I run WSUS on my internal servers but these 2 externals servers are serviced by standard Windows/Microsoft Update and download directly from the internet.  They are not connected to my domain and therefore not connected to my WSUS server. 

    Since Windows Update does not clean up after itself well and you cannot cap it's downloads I was looking to move that folder to a partition with more than 8GB of total space because overtime that partition fills up.
    Monday, August 31, 2009 1:46 PM
  • Hi,

     

    Thank you for the reply.

     

    I am afraid that we cannot change the location for downloaded updates. If we delete or move the SoftwareDistribution folder, a new SoftwareDistribution folder will be created automatically in C:\Windows and new updates will be downloaded into it.

     

    Based on the current situation, you may delete or move the SoftwareDistribution folder manually regularly. Or you can create a script to delete or move the SoftwareDistribution folder and create a task scheduler to run this script.

     

    Hope it helps.

     

    Tim Quan - MSFT

    Tuesday, September 01, 2009 7:08 AM
    Moderator
  • Hi,

     

    If you would like to delete the SoftwareDistribution folder, please try below:

     

    1. Stop the Automatic Updates service. To do this, follow these steps:

     

    a. Click "Start", click"Run", type "services.msc" (without the quotation marks), and then click "OK".

    b. Right-click the "Automatic Updates" service.

    c. Click "Stop". The service will take a moment to stop.

     

    2. Rename C:\WINDOWS\SoftwareDistribution to C:\WINDOWS\SoftwareDistribution_old, and backup the folder to an alternate location.

     

    3. Start the Automatic Updates service. To do this, follow these steps:

     

    a. Click "Start", click "Run", type "services.msc" (without the quotation marks), and then click "OK".

    b. Right-click the "Automatic Updates" service, and then click "Start".

     

    The service will take a moment to start and the fold will be recreated when you try to visit windows update site. You can then delete the SoftwareDistribution_old folder.

     

    Tim Quan - MSFT

     

    Wednesday, September 02, 2009 6:55 AM
    Moderator
  • I'm using Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit and have two drives a 65GB Solid State and a 500GB SATA - Its a notebook. I was running out of space so I modifed your procedure to move the SoftwareDistribution Folder to my 500GB. Here are my steps and it seemed to work.

    1. Stop the Automatic Updates service. To do this, follow these steps:

     

          a. Click "Start", click"Run", type "services.msc" (without the quotation marks), and then click "OK".

          b. Right-click the "Automatic Updates" service.

          c. Click "Stop". The service will take a moment to stop.

     

    2. Make a Folder on non-C Drive called \WINDOWS\SoftwareDistributionRelocated  in my example it was E: drive/

    3. Move all files and folder in C:\WINDOWS\SoftwareDistribution to E:\WINDOWS\SoftwareDistributionRelocated

    4. Delete the C:\WINDOWS\SoftwareDistribution FOLDER
     

    4. Make a link between C:\WINDOWS\SoftwareDistribution AND E:\WINDOWS\SoftwareDistributionRelocated
             a. Right Click on Start\All Programs\Accessories\Command Prompt and Run as administrator
             b. MkLink /D C:\WINDOWS\SoftwareDistribution  E:\WINDOWS\SoftwareDistributionRelocated

    5. Start the Automatic Updates service. To do this, follow these steps:

           a. Click "Start", click "Run", type "services.msc" (without the quotation marks), and then click "OK".

           b. Right-click the "Automatic Updates" service, and then click "Start".

    Again, this seemed to work. I am concerned about the permissions on the folder as they are inherrited from the root of the drive, not from the Windows Folder on C:
    .

    Thursday, February 11, 2010 1:24 AM
  • I know this thread is "obsolate", but still someone can search it for help. I think there should be a way. If you stop update service and then move soft.distrib. folder to D:, you can create symbolic link / junction to this folder in its original location. This should work ok.
    Thursday, August 26, 2010 9:46 AM
  • Tim and Jeff,

    Please see this post on how to redirect the software distribution folder to another drive using a symbolic link and the Microsoft Junction tool.

    http://msmvps.com/blogs/jeffloucks/archive/2010/09/19/redirecting-updates-and-the-software-distribution-folder-using-junction-to-another-hard-drive.aspx

    • Proposed as answer by Jeff Loucks Sunday, September 19, 2010 9:10 AM
    Sunday, September 19, 2010 9:10 AM
  • Tim and Jeff,

    Please see this post on how to redirect the software distribution folder to another drive using a symbolic link and the Microsoft Junction tool.

    http://msmvps.com/blogs/jeffloucks/archive/2010/09/19/redirecting-updates-and-the-software-distribution-folder-using-junction-to-another-hard-drive.aspx

    That does not or no longer works. Because as mentioned above, deleting the SoftwareDistribution folder from C:\WINDOWS and restarting the updates service just results in the SoftwareDistribution folder being recreated by Windows. The redirection of update data does not occur.
    Thursday, January 03, 2013 7:01 AM
  • In windows 7, the service name is "Windows Update"
    Sunday, November 22, 2015 4:26 PM
  • I created a batch script to do this.

    1. You have to stop Windows Service
    2. You may have to stop BITS (optional if just stopping Windows Service does not work)
    3. Deletes the "SoftwareDistribution" folder and all contents within
    4. Creates a "SoftwareDistribution" folder on the D: Drive
    5. Makes a soft Junction on C:\Windows\ from "SoftwareDistribution" to D:\SoftwareDistribution
    6. Starts up Windows Service and BITS
    net stop wuauserv
    net stop bits
    if exist C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution rmdir /S /Q C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution
    rmdir /S /Q D:\SoftwareDistribution
    if not exist D:\SoftwareDistribution mkdir D:\SoftwareDistribution
    CD /D C:\Windows
    mklink /J SoftwareDistribution D:\SoftwareDistribution
    net start wuauserv
    net start bits

    Wednesday, September 20, 2017 4:58 PM