Running out of storage space is nothing new. Most of us have access to the internet and keep downloading stuff. Then there are games which can occupy a lot of storage space. The biggest problem arrives when you run of storage space on your Windows Installation drive which is usually the C drive, and the updates stop downloading. Windows OS doesn’t offer you an option to change the download location of the updates. In this post, we will learn to change Windows 11/10 Updates download location.
Can you change Windows download location?
Yes, you can change Windows 11/10 download location for Updates. To do that, you need to prepare a new directory for reserving the updates first. Then, you need to create a symlink in the Start Menu using Command Prompt. At last, you need to restart the Windows Update service on your computer.
How do I change the download location in Windows 10?
It is possible to change the download location in Windows 11/10. Whether you want to change the download location for browser downloads or Windows Updates, you can do both without any problem. Depending on the browser, you need to open the settings panel and choose a new folder to store all the downloaded files. However, if you want to change the Windows 11/10 Updates download location, you need to follow this tutorial here.
How to change Windows Updates download location
Before you begin, you should know that you will need to have administrator privileges to complete this. If you have a regular account, it’s a good idea to get in touch who had set up your PC and take his help.
The default location of Windows Update is C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution. The SoftwareDistribution folder is where everything gets downloaded and later installed.
Prepare a new directory for the system to download the Windows Update
Create a target directory in a drive other than C drive. It can be named as WindowsUpdateDownload for easy reference. Let’s assume that the path is D:\WindowsUpdateDownload
Next, use Ctrl+Alt+Delete to launch the Task Manager and switch to Services tab, and then right-click on wuauserv, and stop it.
Now rename C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution to C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution.old
To create a symlink, in the start menu, search for CMD or command prompt. Right-click on it, and run it as administrator. Then type the below-mentioned command then hit Enter:
mklink /j c:\windows\softwaredistribution d:\WindowsUpdateDownload
This will make Windows Update start the downloading files from zero to this new location.
In case it doesn’t work, you can try to boot Windows 11/10 in Safe Mode to get this done.
Restart Windows Update Service
After this, you need to start the Windows Update Service. You can either use the Task Manager to start it like we did above or execute the following command in CMD:
net start wuauserv
Check if Windows Update is working
Go to Settings > Update and Security > Windows Update > Check for Update. If it starts downloading an update or does not throw any error, you are all set.
Here is an interesting fact, after downloading the Windows Update, the OS unpacks it in the drive which has the freest space available and installs from there. Windows will clear the content of this directory from time to time.
We recommend you to use a storage space which usually remains empty. While you can choose an SD card (NTFS format) or an external drive, we recommend not to unless it always stays connected to the PC.
That’s all! Hope it helped.