Delete downloaded Windows updates

This article describes the steps to delete downloaded but not yet installed Windows® update files.
For example, you might need to do this if the update files are incomplete or corrupted. This process
applies to Windows Server® 2012 R2, Windows Server 2016, Windows Server 2019, as well as Windows 10.
Keep in mind that you might need administrator permissions to delete certain files.

Use the following steps to delete these files:

  1. Open the Start menu by clicking on the Start button.

  2. Type Services to bring up the Services application.

  3. Right-click the result and select Run as administrator.

  4. Click Name to sort all services alphabetically.

  5. Find the Windows Update service. To stop it, right-click the service and select Stop.

  6. Open the File Explorer and navigate to C:\WINDOWS\SoftwareDistribution\Download.

  7. If you do not see files in this folder, you need to enable viewing of hidden files first:

    • Click on View -> Options -> Change folder and search options.
    • In folder options, click View and select Show hidden files, folders and drives.
    • Remove the checkmark from Hide protected operating system files and click OK.
  8. Select all files and right-click to delete them.

  9. Go back to the Services window.

  10. Right-click on the Windows Update service and select Start.