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.
Redirect the SoftwareDistribution (Windows Update) Folder to Another Location
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
Step 5: Create Symlink to Change Windows Update Folder Location in Windows 11 or 10
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.
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.
Step 7: Test the New Windows Update Folder Location
Now, go to Settings > Windows Update and click on Check for updates.
After that, go to the new D:\WindowsUpdate folder to check the files Windows Update is downloading.
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.
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.
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.