How To Clear Windows 10 Update Cache

With every Windows 10 Update, there comes the almost inevitable issues and problems with applying it. While some users can run through the update process without a hitch, others only appear to get so far before the PC reboots and rolls back the changes; some don’t even get that far.

An update as complex as this requires a lot of components to fall into line. Although Microsoft have put the update through rigorous testing, on a wide variety of different system specifications, there will always be some systems out there that refuse to behave the way you or the update wants.

Sometimes a fix can come from simply updating one of the drivers on the system. For example, one of our systems wouldn’t apply the October Update until we had installed the latest Nvidia driver. More often than not, though, the issue could be something to do with a bad downloaded file.

Consider the sheer number of downloaded files that make up an update. Once the update is unpacked these files are executed accordingly and applied to the system. Should one of those have become corrupt at some point, then the entire process will be hit with an update error. To stop the system from becoming unusable, Windows is clever enough to stop the process and roll back to its previous state.

It’s often necessary then, when dealing with an uncooperative update, to clear the update cache – all the files that Windows has downloaded in order to apply the update – and start re-downloading from fresh. Here’s how it’s done.

clear windows 10 update cache

Step 1 – Start by clicking on the Windows Start Button and typing ‘services’. Click on the Services (Desktop App) link in the search results. This will launch the Services Management Console. Scroll down until you come to Windows Update. This is the service that controls the entire Windows Update process. Click the entry, then click ‘Stop the service’, located in the upper-left of the Services console window.

clear windows 10 update cache

Step 2 – Keep the Services console window open, but now click on File Explorer and navigate to C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download. Highlight all the files and folders within this directory, use CTRL+A to select all, and hit the Delete key. This will delete all the Microsoft update files that the system has so far downloaded, ready to be applied.

clear windows 10 update cache

Step 3 – Close File Explorer, and click back to the Services console window. Make sure the Windows Update service is highlighted and click on Start the service. Wait for the service’s Status to say Running, then close the Services console window. Now open the Windows Update and Security window, and click the Check for updates button as normal.

Windows should now start to download a fresh copy of the October Update, and with luck, it will work for you this time. If not, then the problem is likely deeper into the system. Make a note of the error code and check out the Microsoft TechNet Blog pages ( to see if there are any solutions relating to your error code.

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Russ Ware

Russ has been testing, reviewing and writing guides for tech since the heady days of Windows 95 and the Sega Saturn. A self-confessed (and proud) geek about all things tech, if it has LED's, a screen, beeps or has source code, Russ will want to master it (and very likely take it apart to see how it works...)

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