Why do we need to change the download location of the Windows 10 update ? When you run Windows Update in Windows 10, it will first download all the necessary installation files to your primary hard drive, the drive where your Windows 10 was installed and stored, usually the drive C: . It will then install the updates from the downloaded files. When all updates are installed, the installation files will be removed.
During the process, especially if it is a major update, if your drive is already showing red and you ran out of space, the Windows 10 update will possibly be interrupted due to lack of storage space to store the installation files. In this case, we will have to change the Windows 10 Update download location folder to another drive with more space available to allow the update process to continue.
Change Windows 10 update download location
What we are about to do requires administrator privileges. Make sure you are logged into your Windows 10 as an administrator. Otherwise, it will not allow renaming the system file and stopping the process, which we will do later.
First of all, we must stop the Windows update service to allow us to make changes to its files. Right click on your taskbar , then select Task Manager . Go to the tab Services . Look for the service called wuauserv . Optionally, you can sort the name to more easily view it and find the service. Right click wuauserv and click Stop .
We will use Symlink , or often referred to as a symbolic link, to change the Windows 10 update download location. A created symbolic link acts as a shortcut folder that refers to another folder of your choice. It’s okay if you don’t understand. Just follow the steps below and your symlink will be created in no time.
Change the above path and create a new Windows 10 update download location
The default location from where Windows 10 downloads its update installation files is C: Windows SoftwareDistribution . Change this path to C: Windows SoftwareDistribution_old .
Create a new folder on the drive where you want Windows 10 update downloads to be stored. The folder can be any name, for example, E: NewWindowsUpdateLocation (or the name of the drive or folder you want).
Create symbolic link to connect the two routes
This is the step to make magic happen. Go to Windows Search or Cortana, find the symbol of the system . Right-click the command prompt from the result and select Execute as an administrator . This is important since the command we are entering requires administrator privilege.
At the command prompt, enter the following command. Replace the name of the last folder path to the new folder that you created earlier.
mklink / j C: Windows SoftwareDistribution E: NewWindowsUpdateLocation
When the command shows the union created, it means that the symbolic link was created successfully. You will see a shortcut link at C: Windows SoftwareDistribution . Although it would still appear that Windows update downloads are stored in this location, it actually points to the new path as indicated by the created symbolic link.
Optionally, you can move all the folders in the folder SoftwareDistribution_old to the new Windows 10 update download location that you created earlier so that Windows Update does not have to redownload the things it previously downloaded.
If you don’t copy them, Windows Update will download again. If you decide to let the Windows 10 update download again, you can delete all the files in SoftwareDistribution_old since they are no longer used.
Now, you will need to restart the Windows update process that you disabled earlier. Go back to the Task Manager. Go to the tab Services and look for wuauserv . Right click and click Beginning . Now you can try running Windows Update again by going to Setting > Update and security > Windows update . Then click Check for update .
If you see that the access is denied when you enter the command in CMD, even if you run the command prompt as administrator, or if you cannot rename the software distribution folder in C: Windows, start your Windows 10 in safe mode and repeat the steps again. This should help if Windows Update cannot be stopped in the previous session, or if you have a problem with your administrator privilege in Windows 10. Hope this guide helps you to change Windows 10 Update download location successfully.