Delete installed updates files from Windows Vista

Windows Vista automatically downloads updates from their servers whenever the updates are available and keeps your Windows up to date by regularly installing these hotfixes. But these update install files are stored on your computer even after they are installed. You can free up some hard disk space by deleting these update files (hotfix installers). Here is how :

Note : You need administrator level access to follow these steps.

Manual Method :

  1. Press the key combination Windows Logo Key + R to open the Run dialog. Type services.msc in the Run dialog and press Enter.

    Run dialog in Windows Vista

  2. In the Services window, scroll down and click on a service named Windows Update. Then click on the black colored rectangular icon in the toolbar to stop the service as shown :

    Stop the Windows Update service

  3. When the Windows Update service is stopped you would see its status change to Stopped.

  4. Press the key combination Windows Logo Key + R to open the Run dialog. Type %WINDIR% in the Run dialog and press Enter. This would open the Windows folder. Scroll down to find a sub-folder named SoftwareDistribution. Delete this SoftwareDistribution sub-folder.

    Delete the SoftwareDistribution folder

  5. Back in the Services window, select the Windows Update service and click on the green triangular icon in the toolbar to start the service.

Script Method :

You can also perform all the above steps using a command script easily and automatically. All you have to do is create the command script file with proper commands. To create the command script file, open Windows Notepad and paste the following in it :

sc stop wuauserv
rd /s /q %windir%SoftwareDistribution
sc start wuauserv

Saving the command script to automatically clean hotfixes

It is advised that you copy/paste the above given commands and not manually type them. Typing manually can lead to typos resulting in disastrous commands getting executed. Save the file on your desktop as CleanHotfixes.cmd. Now you can right-click on this file and select Run as administrator to clean the hotfix files.