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My C drive is 15 Gb and filling up mostly with the windows update uninstall folders.

Can I set up windows update to put these uninstall folders on a second drive with more space at the time the update takes place?

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Darn that answer sure aint easy to find... I found the registry where someone claimed you could change the UNinstall folder, but not the install one... –  Ivo Flipse Aug 13 '09 at 11:37
    
Perhaps ask this on serverfault, they should know it there –  Ivo Flipse Aug 13 '09 at 11:43
    
Dupe: superuser.com/questions/22226/… –  Rowland Shaw Aug 13 '09 at 12:22
    
@Rowland Shaw - I linked to that question in the original question, it was asked by me, and its not the same! One asks can I move existing uninstall folders without breaking an uninstall, this asks for a setting to always put future uninstall folders on the drive with more space. –  Paul Rowland Aug 13 '09 at 21:22
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5 Answers

up vote 9 down vote accepted
+50

Hopefully I don't get a -1 for this as it doesn't pertain to the uninstall folders directly. But will help with this users space issue and the moving of the update files.

You could move some of the other folders since it seems the uninstall folders are hard coded? A good one would be C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution folder (where updates, etc. are downloaded to), however Microsoft says you can't move this one either, but you can if you use the Microsoft (Sysinternals) Junction tool (I always extract it to the root of my C:\Windows folder as it is used from the command prompt). This tool in essence redirects data from one location to another, the computer thinks the folder still exists in its original location even though you moved it. I use it all the time for this folder and others like the i386 folder instead of changing the registry.

Adding a Junction

First you will need to stop the Windows Update Service and copy the SoftwareDistribution folder to your other drive (with permissions). Start a Command Promt (cmd) via Start > Run > cmd, then :

net stop wuauserv
xcopy C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution D:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution /O /X /E /H /K

Windows will ask you if D:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution specifies a file name or directory name (F = file, D = directory)?

Answer D for directory

Second you will rename the old folder.

rename C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution SoftwareDistribution.del

Third step is to create the Junction (also from the command prompt) :

junction C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution "D:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution"

Forth is to restart the Windows Update Service :

net start wuauserv

See if you can download an update. If it works, delete the SoftwareDistribution.del folder, if not, try again or rename the SoftwareDistribution.del file back.

Remove the Junction

To delete the Junction if for some reason you don't want it anymore. Stop the Windows Update Service and copy the Software Distribution files back to the Windows folder :

net stop wuauserv
xcopy D:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution /O /X /E /H /K

Next delete the juction with -d :

junction -d D:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution

Then restart the Windows Update Service :

net start wuauserv

See what folders have a Junction :

junction -s c:\
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I know this doesn't answer your question, but... why are you keeping Windows [un]install folders? Simply delete them. Have you ever rolled back a Windows update?

Edit: Office install folders are another matter. With them, MS Office can often repair itself. Without them, you may be looking at a re-install if there is a major problem.

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I agree... You should never have to uninstall an update. Wait for some days and if everything's ok you can remove them. You can use CCleaner (cleaner tools that remove temporary and unnecessary files), it has an option to remove them. –  Julien N Aug 20 '09 at 15:14
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Actually, I have needed to uninstall updates on a multiple occasions. It is rare, though (I manage hundreds of machines, and I've done this maybe three times in total). But it is usually safe to delete any uninstall folder older than a couple months. –  Joel Coehoorn Jan 25 '12 at 15:12
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I think you're approaching this from the wrong end, I'd recommend making the C drive bigger. If it's a partition try using the gparted live CD from http://gparted.sourceforge.net/ to resize your partitions. If it's a hard drive I'd replace it. Sorry it's not a direct answer to your question.

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If you are referring to folders that have names such as C:\4633bc0687e6970b8e63a999ac1f7a, these can be deleted with no harm, as they are just left-overs from Windows Update and are never needed.

Service-pack files may also be deleted, most safely by running the Windows Disk Cleanup on C and checking “Service Pack Backup Files” in the list. Disk Cleanup is the safest means of reclaiming space, as it will not let you destroy Windows.

Other folders with names such as c:\windows\$NtUninstall----$ may be deleted if you never want to uninstall a Windows update. You may move them to another disk if you wish to keep that possibility. Totally removing them is documented here.

If you have further questions, it would help to know your exact Windows version and service-pack level.

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thanks for the answer, but I'm looking for whether its possible to put uninstall folders on a second drive with more space at that time, not whether its ok to delete the existing uninstall folders. –  Paul Rowland Jan 24 '12 at 6:08
    
If you delete MSOCache, Office 2007 updates will fail. –  kinokijuf Jan 25 '12 at 14:04
    
@kinokijuf: Right - deleted. Why downvote? –  harrymc Jan 25 '12 at 15:03
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I agree with kmarsh about this that deleting them does sound like a good idea however i personal have had windows have errors due to the deletion of the uninstallers of this (don't ask me why). I would recommend backing them up before complete removal, then if there are no issues delete the backups as well.

P.S check out this guide to safely removing SP2 uninstallers.

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