Is there a way to change the download path of windows updates?

(I want to protect my SSDs from unnecessary writes.)

Edit:

I read a lot of articles about SSD in the last 6 months, and I came to the conclusion, that it is not necessary to protect the SSD this way from the writes. A modern SSD withstands at least 500TB write during it's lifetime, so these few GBs of data does not really matter. http://techreport.com/review/27909/the-ssd-endurance-experiment-theyre-all-dead/3

  • 10
    By the time your SSD is out of writes, it will be so woefully obsolete it won't matter. The little dust from Windows Update will do nothing to appreciably change its lifespan. – Bryan Boettcher Jan 27 '15 at 16:02
  • @insta Thanks, you might be right, but I'll try it. Maybe that one or two days of lifetime will matter, who knows... – inf3rno Jan 27 '15 at 17:30
up vote 18 down vote accepted

I haven't tested this, but what about a symlink?

net stop wuauserv mklink /j c:\windows\softwaredistribution d:\other\desired\location net start wuauserv

  • 1
    Good idea, take a look: blogs.msmvps.com/jeffloucks/2010/09/19/… – duDE Jan 27 '15 at 15:24
  • 1
    Junction predates mklink. I think both are good but in this case the native solution is probably preferred (assuming it works, of course.) – meatspace Jan 27 '15 at 15:26
  • @meatspace Thanks! I'll try it. Why do I need to stop windows update service? I configured it to download only when I say to do so, so I guess that part is not necessary. I'll try that too. :-) – inf3rno Jan 27 '15 at 17:33
  • @meatspace It works perfectly. You have to set manual update (you don't have to stop the service, just be sure it is not using the folder), move the folder to the different drive and set the symlink. After that it is even possible to detach that drive. I prefer the native solutions either. – inf3rno Jan 27 '15 at 18:27

The updates are automatically downloaded to the WINDOWS\Software Distribution\Download subfolder. They are then unpacked to the drive which has the most free space available and installed from there. The contents of the Download subfolder are periodically flushed.

There's no way to redirect where the updates are downloaded to due to Security concerns.


After reading a post of meatspace I have found this one:

  • Start>Run
  • type cmd and press enter
  • type net stop wuauserv and press enter
  • type rename c:\windows\SoftwareDistribution softwaredistribution.oldand press enter

Creating a symbolic link using Junction (Download)

In this example the software distribution folder will be redirected from C:\WINDOWS\SoftwareDistribution to the D:\WINDOWS\SoftwareDistribution

  • Creating the Junction

To create the target directory from the command prompt

C:\md D:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution

To create the Junction

C:\junction C:\WINDOWS\SoftwareDistribution “D:\WINDOWS\SoftwareDistribution”
  • Restart the Windows Update Service

  • type net start wuauserv and press enter

  • This is a nice step-by-step, but why not just use mklink /D ? – theMayer Oct 25 '17 at 22:00
  • This is the answer of @meatspace and has been accepted. – duDE Oct 26 '17 at 14:59

protected by Community Dec 30 '17 at 21:54

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.