Free up space on your disk or SSD by deleting old updates

It is possible that on occasion we may have problems when downloading updates to the Microsoft operating system, so eliminating all the downloads that we have stored on our hard drive can help us solve the problem, and save a lot of space.

What are the problems with updates?

Both Windows 10 and Windows 11 have an update process that should work without problems, but there are times when something happens and errors can happen. In modern Microsoft operating systems, the process for install cumulative updates it can cause problems at times. For example, updates may fail to install as a result of file corruption, compatibility, or errors of an unknown nature.

And it is that these pending update files not only prevent new Windows updates from being installed correctly on the system, but also take up a large amount of space on our hard drive, which we may be interested in releasing.

Is it safe to delete pending updates?

In case we ask ourselves this question, the answer is yes, delete pending updates from Windows it is a completely safe action. If after downloading the update it got stuck or could not be installed due to different errors, it is recommended to run the Windows Update troubleshooter, which will automatically check and fix it so that the updates are installed correctly.

To do this, press the keyboard shortcut “Windows + I” and access the “Settings” menu. Then we click on “Update and security”. On the right side, click on “Troubleshoot” and then on “Additional troubleshooters.” In the new window click on “Windows Update” and click on “Run the troubleshooter”.

Once the process is complete, we must restart Windows and look for new updates. Now we make sure that this time, the updates have been installed correctly and that there are no pending.

In the event that the problems still persist and the pending updates are kept, we will show you how to eliminate them manually.

How to delete downloaded updates

Next, we are going to see different actions that we can carry out in order to erase all the downloaded, incomplete or error updates from our hard drives.

Empty the temporary system folder

The first thing we are going to do is delete all the content that is stored in the system folder. To do this, we are going to press the “Windows + R” key combination to launch the Run command. Here we must write % temp% and press Enter or the OK button.

Delete temporary files folder

This action will take care of opening the File Explorer in the path C: / User / User / AppData / Local / Temp. Here are stored all the temporary files of the operating system so we will only have to select and delete them. We can choose to restart the system and check if this already solves the update problem.

Delete Windows Update to-dos

We must also delete the pending.xml file or rename it. In this way we can eliminate the pending tasks of Windows Update and it will be in charge of creating a new verification of the updates. To do this we must open the File Explorer and navigate to the following path:

C: / Windows / WinSxS

Here, we must look for the file pending.xml and we have the option of both deleting it and renaming it. To delete it, simply mark it and click on the «Delete» button that we find at the top of the Explorer.

Empty the SoftwareDistribution folder

Another action that we must carry out is to delete all the contents of the folder SoftwareDistribution. This is located under the Windows folder and is used by the operating system to store temporary files that may be necessary to install Windows Update on the computer. In addition, the update history files are included, so when we delete it, the next time we run Windows Update, it will take a little longer to start.

To empty the folder we must press the combination “Windows + X” and open the Command Prompt with administrator permissions. Once here we must execute the following commands:

net stop wuauserv net stop bits

These commands are going to take care of stopping the Windows update service, as well as the smart transfer service running in the background. Later from the File Explorer we navigate to the following path:

C: / Windows / SoftwareDistribution

Once here we must delete all files and folders inside. We may run into an error because some files may be in use. In that case, we restart the computer and repeat all the steps, until it completely eliminates all the contents of the folder.

Empty the SoftwareDistribution folder

Once finished, we restart the computer and open the Command Prompt again, to start the Windows update and smart transfer services again by executing the following commands:

net start wuauserv net start bits

Reset the catroot 2 folder

It can also help us to erase pending updates or with errors from Windows Update is to restore the catroot 2 folder. Both catroot and catroot 2, are two system folders that are required for the Windows update process. The signatures of the update package to be installed are stored there.

The Catroot folder should not be deleted or renamed, but it is possible reset catroot 2 folder just by deleting it. This way, Windows will automatically recreate it when necessary. In order to eliminate it, we open Windows Explorer and navigate to the following path:

C: / Windows / system32 / catroot2

Reset the catroot 2 folder

We only have to mark the folder and click on the “Delete” button that we find at the top of the Explorer or press directly on the DELETE key on the keyboard.

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