How to Change Windows Update Folder Location in Windows 11 or 10

Windows downloads the updates to the “SoftwareDistribution” folder inside the C:\Windows directory. Depending upon the number and size of the updates, the “SoftwareDistribution” folder may take up to several GBs of size in your C drive. Sometimes, Windows updates might fail if there is insufficient space in the C drive. To solve this issue, you can change the Windows update folder location in your Windows 11 or 10.

After that, downloaded Windows update files won’t be stored in the C drive. Instead, they will be stored in the folder of your choice. However, Microsoft by default doesn’t provide any setting or registry hack to change the location of the “SoftwareDistribution” folder. However, we can use the “Symbolic links” to redirect the “SoftwareDistribution” folder to a new folder on another drive. This will in turn save space in the C drive.

SEE ALSO: How to Change the Default Save Location for Microsoft Apps in Windows 10?

Redirect the SoftwareDistribution (Windows Update) Folder to Another Location

Using the mklink command in the command prompt, we will create a symbolic link for the C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution folder. It will change the Windows Update (SoftwareDistribution) folder location to the destination of our choice.

But first, we will have to stop the Windows Update service and rename the “SoftwareDistribution” folder. So, follow these steps. All the steps are similar for Windows 11 and Windows 10, so, you won’t have any issues.

Step 1: Stop the Windows Update Service

First of all, launch the RUN utility by pressing the Windows + R keyboard shortcut. After that, type services.msc and press Enter to launch the Services console.

Launch The Run Utility Type Services Msc And Press Enter
Launch the RUN utility, type services.msc and press Enter

Now, in the Services console, scroll down and locate the Windows Update service. Next, right-click on it and select Stop to stop the service. After that, we will be able to change the Windows Update folder location in Windows 11 or 10.

Stop The Windows Update Service Using The Services Console - change Windows update folder location in Windows 11 and 10
Stop the Windows Update service

NOTE: If the Windows Update service is already stopped (not running), you can move to the next step.


Step 2: Rename the “SoftwareDistribution” Folder

After stopping the Windows Update service, it’s time to rename the “SoftwareDistribution” folder. So, go to the C:\Windows directory and look for the “SoftwareDistribution” folder.

Next, select the “SoftwareDistribution” folder and press the F2 key on the keyboard to rename this folder. After that, type a new name for the “SoftwareDistribution” folder and press Enter. In this tutorial, we have renamed it to “SoftwareDistribution_old” but you can use any name. We will create a symlink to redirect the “SoftwareDistribution” folder to a new location to change the Windows Update folder location in Windows 11 or 10.

After you press Enter, you might see several UAC prompts, click Yes to continue.

Rename The Software Distribution Folder
Rename the SoftwareDistribution folder

Step 3: Create a New Folder for Windows Update in Another Drive

However, before proceeding further, make sure to create a new folder for Windows updates in another drive. In this tutorial, we have created a new folder on the following path: D:\WindowsUpdate

Create Windows Update Folder In Another Drive
Create the WindowsUpdate folder in another drive

Step 4: Launch the Command Prompt as Administrator

Now, it’s time to create the Symbolic link to redirect the “SoftwareDistribution” folder to a new location and change the Windows Update folder path. We would need to launch the Command Prompt as Administrator.

So, search for “cmd” on the Start menu and select Run as administrator to launch CMD with admin rights. You may see the UAC prompt, click Yes to continue.

Launch Command Prompt As Administrator From Start
Launch Command Prompt as Administrator from Start

Now, it’s time to create a symbolic folder link to redirect the “SoftwareDistribution” folder from the C drive to another drive (D:\WindowsUpdate in our case).

So, type the following command in Command Prompt and press Enter.

mklink /j "C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution" "D:\WindowsUpdate"

You can check more details about the mklink command here.

Create A New Symlink To Change The Windows Update Folder Location In Windows 11 Or 10
Create a symlink to the new WindowsUpdate folder

SEE ALSO: A to Z List of Windows CMD Commands (PDF Download).


Step 6: Delete the “SoftwareDistrubution_old” Folder

Now, we have successfully changed the Windows Update folder location in Windows 11 or 10. We don’t need the old SoftwareDistribution folder that we have renamed “SoftwareDistribution_old” anymore.

So, go to the C:\Windows folder and delete the “SoftwareDistribution_old” folder.

Delete The Old Software Distribution Folder
Delete the SoftwareDistribution_old folder

Step 7: Test the New Windows Update Folder Location

Now, go to Settings > Windows Update and click on Check for updates.

Check For Windows Updates In Windows 11 Or Windows 10
Check for Windows Updates

After that, go to the new D:\WindowsUpdate folder to check the files Windows Update is downloading.

Windows Update Files At The New Folder Location
Windows Update files at the new folder location

You have now successfully changed the default Windows Update folder location on Windows 11 or 10. So, now onward, your Windows 11 or 10 will download the updates to the new folder instead of the default C drive.


SEE ALSO: How to Disable Automatic App Updates in Microsoft Store?

Step 8: Revert the Changes (Restore the Default SoftwareDistribution Folder)

In case you change your mind, you can easily revert the changes. To do so, stop the Windows Update service first as we did in Step 1.

After that, delete the SoftwareDistribution symlink we have created. Simply go to the C:\Windows directory, right-click on the “SoftwareDistribution” symlink, and select Delete.

Delete The Symlink To Restore Default Windows Update Folder Location In Windows 11 Or 10
Delete the symlink to restore the default Windows Update folder

SEE ALSO: How to Disable Automatic Windows Updates in Windows 10?

Solve Low Disk Space Issue in Windows by Changing Windows Update Folder Location

So, the above tutorial explained how you can easily change the default Windows Update folder (SoftwareDistribution) location to another drive and save disk space in the C drive. However, if your Windows 11 or Windows 10 is still running slow, you can check this tutorial to speed it up.

Hope you liked this tutorial. In case you have any queries or suggestions, feel free to ask them in the comment section down below.

Editorial Staff

Hi there, we are the editorial staff at WINDOSPC (former HELLPC). We are a team of funny and technical people. Feel free to get in touch with us via Contact-Us page.

2 Comments

    1. We have successfully tested it on Windows 11. Please make sure to follow the steps carefully. In case you are still having trouble, you can connect with us using the Contact us page.

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