How to Clear Windows Update Cache in Windows 11: A Step-by-Step Guide

Clearing the Windows Update cache in Windows 11 helps fix issues with updates that may be stuck, failed, or causing errors. By following a few simple steps, you can delete the cache and allow Windows to download fresh updates. This process involves stopping update services, deleting the cache files, and restarting the services.

Clearing the Windows Update Cache in Windows 11

Clearing the Windows Update cache in Windows 11 can resolve many update-related issues. It helps to reset the update components and get rid of corrupted or stuck update files. Here are the steps to do it.

Step 1: Stop the Windows Update Service

First, you need to stop the Windows Update service to ensure it’s not using any files you want to delete.

To do this, open the Start menu, type services.msc, and hit Enter. In the Services window that appears, scroll down to find "Windows Update". Right-click it and select "Stop".

Step 2: Open the SoftwareDistribution Folder

Next, navigate to the folder where Windows stores update files.

Open File Explorer and go to C:WindowsSoftwareDistribution. This folder contains the cache files you need to delete.

Step 3: Delete the Downloaded Files

Now, it’s time to delete the update cache files.

In the SoftwareDistribution folder, open the "Download" folder. Select all the files and folders inside, right-click, and choose "Delete".

Step 4: Restart the Windows Update Service

After clearing the cache, you need to restart the Windows Update service.

Go back to the Services window you opened in Step 1. Right-click "Windows Update" and select "Start".

Step 5: Check for Updates

Finally, ensure everything is working by checking for updates again.

Open the Start menu, go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update, and click "Check for updates".

Once you’ve completed these steps, Windows will redownload the necessary update files, which should help resolve any issues you were experiencing with updates.

Tips for Clearing the Windows Update Cache in Windows 11

  • Make sure you have administrative privileges to perform these steps.
  • If the issue persists, consider using the Windows Update Troubleshooter.
  • Back up important data before making changes to system files.
  • Regularly checking for updates can prevent these issues from occurring.
  • If you’re not comfortable doing this manually, there are third-party tools available that can automate the process.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I clear the Windows Update cache?

Clearing the cache can fix issues with failed or stuck updates. It removes corrupted files and allows Windows to download new ones.

Is it safe to delete the SoftwareDistribution folder?

Yes, it’s safe. Windows will recreate the folder and download new update files the next time you check for updates.

Can I use a tool to clear the update cache?

Yes, there are third-party tools available that can automate the process, but it’s always best to know how to do it manually.

What if stopping the Windows Update service fails?

If stopping the service fails, restart your computer and try again. Make sure you’re logged in as an administrator.

Does this process work on other versions of Windows?

Yes, the steps are similar for Windows 10 and earlier versions, though the exact folder path and service names might differ slightly.


  1. Stop the Windows Update service.
  2. Open the SoftwareDistribution folder.
  3. Delete the downloaded files.
  4. Restart the Windows Update service.
  5. Check for updates.


Clearing the Windows Update cache in Windows 11 is a straightforward way to resolve many common update issues. By stopping the update service, deleting the cached files, and restarting the service, you can ensure your system downloads fresh and error-free updates. This simple maintenance task can save you from a lot of headaches when dealing with update errors and failed installations.

Knowing how to clear the update cache can empower you to troubleshoot your system without needing to rely on external help. It’s a useful skill to keep in your tech toolkit. For further reading, you can explore Microsoft’s support articles or look into community forums where other users share their experiences and solutions.

If you’ve followed the steps and still face issues, don’t hesitate to use the built-in Windows Update Troubleshooter or seek help from a professional. Keeping your system updated is crucial for security and performance, so regular maintenance and staying informed about common fixes like clearing the update cache can make a big difference.