Move Location of Windows Update Files

Posted on 2010-11-15
Last Modified: 2012-06-27
Is there a way to move the folder location of where a Windows 2003 server saves its downloaded Windows update files? I have a server that is running a bit low on disk space and if possible I would like it to download/save Windows update files to a drive that has a bit more drive space.
Question by:Rob Sanders
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Expert Comment

ID: 34139790
The default location for downloaded update files is: %systemroot%\SoftwareDistribution\Download and unfortunately you can't just move the updates download location.  Even if you stop the automatic updates service and delete the folder next time you run the update process the default location will just be recreated.

However, you can use a symbolic link to point the default folder to a different physical location.  Use the following steps at a command prompt:

1. Stop the Automatic Updates service
net stop wuauserv

2. Create a new location on your other drive (lets say e:\windows\new_softwaredistribution)
md e:\windows\new_softwaredistribution

3. Copy %systemroot%\SoftwareDistribution to your new location (e:\windows\new_softwaredistribution)
xcopy /s %systemroot%\SoftwareDistribution\*.* e:\windows\new_softwaredistribution

4. Rename the original folder %systemroot%\SoftwareDistribution
rename %systemroot%\SoftwareDistribution %systemroot%\old_SoftwareDistribution
(Once you're happy everything is working ok after you've completed this process use Windows Explorer to delete the complete folder tree)

5. Create the symbolic link
mklink /d %systemroot%\SoftwareDistribution  e:\windows\new_softwaredistribution

6. Restart the Automatic Updates service
net start wuauserv

Next time you run WindowsUpdate you should find the update files are downloaded to the new location.

NB. To remove a symbolic link just delete it like you would a normal file.

The above assumes you're using Windows Vista or later, if not then you won't find "mklink" in which case use the SysInternals "Junction" utility.  I've included the link to download it here:


Accepted Solution

ipajones earned 500 total points
ID: 34139834
Sorry - just re-read your question stating you're using Win2K3.  You'll need to use the "Junction" utility I mentioned above.

See a link to the complete process:
This is in essence the same as my steps above except using the SysInternals Junction tool instead.

Author Comment

by:Rob Sanders
ID: 34140093
Thank you for the suggestion. I am going to give that a try and see what happens. I will let you know.
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Author Comment

by:Rob Sanders
ID: 34232019
Sorry it is taking me so long to get to this. I keep having other things come up that keep me from working on this. I will post an update as soon as I am able to give it a try.

Expert Comment

ID: 34479586

Did you have any joy with this ?  If not post back and I'll try and answer any queries.


Author Comment

by:Rob Sanders
ID: 34641556
Sorry i haven't posted anything concerning this. I have had a variety of other issues to deal with that have kept me from this. I will address soon and post an update.

Author Comment

by:Rob Sanders
ID: 34971697
Thanks for the assistance, this solution worked out pretty well.

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