What purpose is the C:\windows\softwaredistribution folder for in windows?

Can I delete everything in there? is it safe?
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I would not delete it. It is not large (mine is 300Mb) and has stuff used by Microsoft for Windows Updates. I see sometimes recommendations to delete it if updates are not working. But if your machine is running and updating, do not delete the folder - rather let Windows manage it.

.... Thinkpads_User
This folder is used by Windows Update.

If you want to delete it, first stop the Windows Update Service. Delete the folder and restart the Windows Update service. The next Windows Update(s) will recreate the folder.

That is, you cannot remove it permanently until and unless you forgo updating your Windows.  

No need, really, to remove it.
Ikky786Author Commented:
need the space
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I have this folder as 500Mb on one system and 300Mb on another. This is a fairly small amount of space to reclaim and you could probably achieve better disk space savings by running Disk Cleanup.

The only way you can delete the folder (as noted above) is to turn off Windows Updates. These happen monthly so it is not a good idea to turn off updates. As soon as you re-enable updates the folder is recreated.

Windows manages it disk space quite well, so deleting Windows folders is really not a good idea.

Look through your documents to delete files you don't need first.

.... Thinkpads_User
Okay, From time time, stop the Windows Update Service and delete the folder. Then restart the Windows update service. That's all you need to do.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
@Ikky786  - I do not really agree with aadih on this one.

1. Recreating the folder monthly to do updates won't save any space in the long run.

2. If space does not allow re-creation, windows will just barf, and you will be back here saying "updates fail, why?"

You really need a different space strategy.

... Thinkpads_User
Depending on what the system does, there might e other locations c:\windows\system32\LogFiles where you can recover space
You should also delete old update files c:\windows

Check whether you allowed windows to manage the page file which is n c:\
Anoption might be to add a page file on a different drive while limiting the size of the one on c:\
if you need space, you can :
uninstall old software, and not used programs, toolbars, etc
you can run a disk cleanup http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/818-disk-cleanup-open-use.html

but, in case it's the documents and pictures - or video's -  taking up the space
i would move the older  ones to another drive; i mean i have pictures put in folders for every year, and pictures from 1 or more years ago won't change, so you can easily copy them to another drive; internal or external
the same goes for video's

if that is not a solution for you, i suggest buying a bigger drive, and imaging your system to it.
what disk , and system do you have?

i ask this, because some systems fill the OS drive with backups (lenovo did so)
It's where windows update downloads and backups are stored.

if they have all been installed
and your computer is running in a stable condition,
it is safe to delete everything in that folder.
But DO NOT delete the folder it'self,

if you do clean out that folder then also navigate to.
C > Windows > SoftwareDistribution > DataStore.

delete everything in the DataStore folder BUT DO NOT DELETE THE LOGS FOLDER.
open the Logs folder and delete everything in there.

You will have to shut down windows updates then restart the computer,
so you can delete everything.
turning windows updates back on after.

deleting all that unnecessary junk will free up some disk space.


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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
@Ikky786 - Any follow up?

There are lots of ways to save space. Have you looked at c:\windows\winsxs? It is 12 - 15Gb on a modern machine (and NO, do not delete it). But picking on a tiny amount of space to save seems strange to me. I would go looking for other targets.

What size of drive do you have? If all else fails, get a larger drive (as suggested earlier).

... Thinkpads_User
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