How to Delete Software Distribution Folders

By Tammy Clevenger

Software Distribution folders are those containing the Windows Update installation files. These folders, along with the folder contents, may be deleted using Windows Explorer. However, these files may be saved to a Flash or external drive and used to update another system. Deleting the Software Distribution folders will not affect your computer’s functionality. When new Windows Updates are ready for download, a new Software Distribution folder will be created. Be sure to set Windows Explorer folder options to view system folders and files.

Set Folder Options

Step 1

Right-click the Windows “Start” button and click “Explore.” Windows Explorer will launch.

Step 2

Click “Tools” on the top navigation bar in Windows Explorer.

Step 3

Click the “Folder Options” link.

Step 4

Click the “View” tab.

Step 5

Check the checkbox in front of “Display the content of system folders.”

Step 6

Check the checkbox in front of “Display the content of system folders.”

Step 7

Uncheck the checkbox in front of “Hide extensions for known file types.”

Step 8

Uncheck the checkbox in front of “Hide protected operating system files.”

Step 9

Click “OK.” Folder options are set for viewing system and hidden files and folders.

Delete Software Distribution Folder

Step 1

Navigate to the Software Distribution folder in Windows Explorer. This folder is located under the “Windows” folder in the left-pane folder structure in Windows Explorer.

Step 2

Double-click the “Software Distribution” folder to show all files in the right pane of Windows Explorer.

Step 3

Drag the mouse over all files in the Software Distribution folder. All files will be highlighted.

Step 4

Right-click on the highlighted files and select “Delete” from the context menu, or press the “DEL” key on the keyboard.

Step 5

Click “OK” to confirm the deletion of the files.

Step 6

Right-click on the “Software Distribution” folder in the left pane.

Step 7

Click “Delete.” The folder and all files are now deleted.