How Do I Delete Old Windows Update Files?

Old Windows update files

Is your disc space filling up and you don’t know how to free up space? Well, sometimes there are useless junk files filling up your computer and you don’t know about them. These files include some old windows update files that once you delete can give you some much-needed storage space.

They eat up a lot of space on your computer which affects its performance. You can get rid of them in many ways, either manually or automatically. Once you remove them, you experience a significant improvement in your device’s efficiency.

So, if you want to know what these files are and how to rid your computer of them, continue reading!

What are Old Windows Update Files?

Most computers run on the Microsoft operating system, meaning, they use different Windows on their devices. So, you must be aware of the windows update service that upgrades the operating system of your device every few days.

Have you ever wondered what happens to the previously updated files when the new file is updated and installed on your device? Well, they get stored in your device, specifically the ‘C’ drive, and take up a large residential space there.

They are automatically stored there and stay there for a long time. So, whether you’re upgrading the windows or not, they are saved on your device. Therefore, if you’re satisfied with the new version of windows that just got installed on your computer, then there’s no harm in deleting the older files!

However, before proceeding to delete the files, make sure you check the latest version of Windows on your device.

Why Windows Update Cleanup is a Requirement?

When you delete old Windows update files after updating your device to the latest version is called Windows update cleanup. But before you perform this cleanup, it is recommended that you carry out a system restore for the Windows operating system. This way, you won’t have to fret about the stable state of the OS.

All the DLL files are stored in Windows Side by Side (WinSxS) folder. Over time when your device undergoes countless updates, this folder keeps growing with each new update file and then begins raiding all the storage space on your computer.

You can effortlessly access this folder in your ‘C’ drive and manually empty out the space-consuming items. However, manually cleaning this space contains some risk and you can accidentally delete important files when you’re deleting the old Windows update files. 

This is why an automatic system of cleaning up the disk has been a part of Windows for some time now, it is called disk cleanup. Find our tips and tricks for Disk cleanup here! Not only is this a useful tool but it is also quite safe to use for Windows update cleanups. After performing its task, this tool gets rid of all the temporary files and Windows update files that free up a lot of space and speed up your device!

Is the Removal of These Update Files Safe?

If you make a backup of your current Windows version and are completely satisfied with all of its functions on your device, then removing the old Windows update files will only provide you with pros, there’s nothing unsafe about it.

You’ll free up unlimited space on your computer and fix the speed of your device as well. With all those junk files, the only thing you were getting was a slow, storage-full computer.

The only con that you might consider is that after deleting these files if you ever want to get back to an older version of Windows, you won’t be able to do that. So, if you’re comfortable with the latest Windows operating system and don’t see yourself ever going back to the older version, then go ahead and remove em all!

How to Delete Windows Update Files?

Now, that you know the basics and how safe it is to get rid of these files, let’s tell you how to actually go about deleting the old Windows update files from your computer. Depending on the Windows you use, there are different ways you can remove these unwanted files. when it comes to Windows 8, 8.1, and 10, this Windows cleanup is enabled. In Windows 7, the update provided in October 2013 was equipped with this tool. If you use a previous version then, the manual removal is great for you.

Manual Deletion

You know that the old Windows update files are stored in the ‘C’ drive of your computer, therefore accessing them through your PC is quite easy. Just open the folder tagged as “This PC” on your computer.

After that, locate the “Local Disk C” folder there and then select the folder named as “Windows.” Now all you have to do is locate another folder named as “WinSxS,” which stands for Windows Side by Side, which is the place where all the old Windows update files are stored.

However, you cannot delete them all at once, there are some important files there that are relevant to the running and update of your current Windows. In order to delete files manually, here are the steps to follow:

  1. First, you have to stop the current Windows from updating. In the search bar of your computer, search Services. When you locate it, right-click on it and click on “Run as administrator
  2. Another window will open with several files. Here, you will have to locate “Windows Update
  3. Right-click on it and select “Stop
  4. Now on your keyboard, press the Windows + R keys simultaneously. The Run window will open, where you’ll find all the old Windows update files.
  5. Type in “C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\” and then click on OK.
  6. A SoftwareDistribution folder will open that will have a list of items
  7. Locate the Download folder and open it.Here you can select all files and delete them. If the computer asks for administrator permission, press on “Continue
  8. Now you have all the files deleted manually
  9. The last thing you have to do is start the Windows update again to keep your Windows up to date.
  10. Got to Windows Update Service, right-click on it, and Start it back again

Now, you can delete all unnecessary files manually without touching anything important!

Delete Old Windows Update Files Automatically in Windows 10

Finding the disk cleanup app on your Windows 10 is effortless. Just go on the taskbar Windows menu on the desktop and search it up. It’s a built-in tool that Microsoft provides in all Windows operating systems.

This tool, as mentioned before, helps you clean up all unnecessary data from your device. The WinSxS folder that collects all the old Windows update files are easy to delete from this tool as it takes care in not deleting any important files from your computer.

Here are a few simple steps you need to follow in order to get rid of all the junk files:

  1. From the taskbar menu, you accessed the “Disk Cleanup” tool.
  2. It asks the drive that you want to clean up. You have to select the drive that contains all those files of your old Windows update. In most PCs, it’s the C drive, so select that.
  3. When you put in the C drive, another window will open asking you the files you want to remove.
  4. Here, you will have to find an option that says “Clean up System Files.” When you click on it, a window will open asking you the drive one more time. You have to select C again and click on OK.
  5.  It’s going to take some time for your computer to calculate before the old Windows update files show up.
  6. Now, tick the box that says “Temporary Windows installation files” and “Windows upgrade log files.”
  7. Select OK, and confirm this process by selecting “Delete Files” on the window that appears!

And lo and behold, all your useless files are effortlessly deleted, leaving you with abundant storage space!

Automatic Deletion of Windows Update files in Windows 7

You can also delete the old Windows update files on Windows 7 through the disk clean-up as well. You just have to find the hidden tool first and then follow the simple steps above and remove all those unnecessary files!

To find the tool, you have to click on the start button, locate “All programs” and go to “Accessories”. In Accessories, click on the “System Tools”. There you’ll find the tool marked as “Disk Cleanup”!

When you click on Disk cleanup, a window will open with different files listed. You have to tick the box that says Windows Update Cleanup. Then, click on OK, which confirms the deletion of all files.

Now experience a storage-free device that works like it’s brand new again!

Using Command Prompts in WinSxS

As you already know that WinSxS is a system folder that stores all the installation backup files, system installation files, and updates in Windows. As Windows install new updates, the former installations and old Windows update files become useless. They take up space that grows over time with these updates.

However, you cannot delete the entire folder, because there are some files in there that are necessary for the updates and operations of your Windows. But what you can do is delete the backup files of older Windows versions. This is a method for users who are still using the older versions of Windows 7 that doesn’t support the disk cleanup tool.

You can delete the old Windows update files from the WinSxS cleanup method by using the Command Prompt in these older versions of Windows 7. You want to delete the old Windows update files, so follow these simple steps to reduce the updated backup clutter!

  1. Go to the Start Menu, and type in CMD, you’ll see a tool name Command Prompt, open it.
  2. First type CMD, then dism /online /cleanup-image /spsuperseded /hidesp
  3. This way, you’ll be able to clear Service pack (SP) backup files. it only works when you have SP files installed in your operating system because it is only applicable in Windows Vista SP1 and Windows 7 with SP.

Get this Command Prompt going and free up some much-needed space on your device!

Wrapping Up

Therefore, when you’re freeing up space on your computer by deleting the old Windows update files, you have to first determine the version of Windows you’re using. Depending on the Windows version you’re using, removing these files is different in each one. so, whether you’re using the older versions of Windows 7 or have started using the new version of Windows 7. have Windows 8 or the most recent ones, the Windows 10 or 11, you’re good to go if you want to delete the old windows update files!

But this guide covers all of them! So, look at the one you’re using and then delete the old Windows update files by implementing the best one and following through with the steps provided. This way, you’ll not only free the disk space in your computer, but it will also speed up like it was new again!