Windows 7 forum

General discussion

Where Does 7 Store the Update Files It Downloads?

by Jas_J / February 19, 2010 10:36 AM PST

Hi Everyone!

I want to format my PC and install a brand new copy of Windows. However, I'm not looking forward to the amount of time Windows 7 will take to download all the updates for the OS from Microsoft all over again!

I wanted to know where Windows stores the installation files it downloads from MS so I can simply back it up on a CD and reinstall it after the format.

Is there a way to do this?



Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: Where Does 7 Store the Update Files It Downloads?
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: Where Does 7 Store the Update Files It Downloads?
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
Not going to happen
by Jimmy Greystone / February 19, 2010 10:49 AM PST

Not going to happen, sorry. Once upon a time, there was a program that would download all these updates for you, but Microsoft threatened to sue them, and so the program went away.

You're going to have to download them all again, and until SP1 comes along, there's nothing you can really do to get around that. At least nothing that will save you any amount of time or effort whatsoever.

Collapse -
by Jas_J / February 19, 2010 2:04 PM PST
In reply to: Not going to happen

Hi Jimmy!

Thanks for your reply. I really appreciate it.

But it is a disappointment though....

I did some google-ing and found something about windows storing the files here - C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution.

What do you think?

Can you check this out on your computer?

Please and Thank you!

And really.....Windows must store them somewhere!


(P.S I did check this folder out myself and found interesting things there. But I couldn't make sense of it. I'm no techie!)

Collapse -
It doesn't matter
by Jimmy Greystone / February 19, 2010 9:01 PM PST
In reply to: Thanks!

It doesn't matter. Even if you saved those, you'd have to manually install each of them, which is why I said there was nothing you could do that would ultimately save you any time or effort.

It's not a simple matter of putting those files back when you reinstall Windows, and I suspect what you're actually finding are the files needed should you want to remove some update.

The one consolation here, is that Win7 has only been out a few months. The number of updates for it is relatively small. Compared to say a gold release of XP, where first you'd have to apply SP3, then go back and apply about a year's worth of updates on top of that.

Collapse -
Hi Jimmy!
by NeilAL / February 28, 2010 1:03 AM PST
In reply to: It doesn't matter

I have a related question I'd be grateful for some help with. I have WinXPSP2. I have automatic Windows updates turned off. However during a changeover of my 3rd party firewall when I was using the Windows firewall, a whole bundle of updates got downloaded to my machine. I didn't install them, but I want to delete what was downloaded. It must be nearly 1gig of stuff! Where did Windows put all this stuff while it was waiting for me to install it?

I want to find where this stuff is and delete it.

Thanks for any help!


Collapse -
by jeff_windows_team / March 4, 2010 2:47 AM PST
In reply to: Hi Jimmy!

That's not the best idea. Support for XP SP2 will stop on July 13th of this year. In order to continue to get security updates you must get SP3. More info here-

If you are looking to save space try deleting a program you never use instead of Windows Updates, especially if you do not know exactly what the specific updates are for.

Collapse -
Thanks SP2
by NeilAL / March 4, 2010 3:54 AM PST
In reply to: SP2

Thanks, and I understand why you are giving that advice. Fact is that at the moment I do not want any more Windows updates installed on that particular computer. So if you, or someone, knows where those update files that were downloaded but not installed are saved on the computer, I would be very grateful if you told me.



Collapse -
Where are they?
by Steven Haninger / March 4, 2010 4:12 AM PST
In reply to: Thanks SP2

I believe under Windows/Softwaredistribution. Once installed, more files are created in the Windows folder allowing you to uninstall. I'd double check this with a google search.

Collapse -
by NeilAL / March 5, 2010 3:30 PM PST
In reply to: Where are they?

Thanks, Steven, that looks like it!

Collapse -
More information please...
by CassandraF_WinTeam / March 1, 2010 4:03 AM PST

Hi Jason,

What version of Windows are you currently running? Are you looking to do upgrade from XP or Vista?


Collapse -
Hi Cassandra, welcome to the CNET forums!
by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / March 5, 2010 3:18 AM PST

You might have overlooked this, but this is the Windows 7 forum and that is what Jason has.

CHeers and welcome!

Collapse -
Windows update files
by waswasp / April 18, 2010 10:15 PM PDT

Try autopatcher were you can download all windows updates (most versions) and keep all the updates you need.
They have all updates from service pack 1 of XP up until the month of publishing.
It is free bit I think you might want to flick them a donation to keep up their good work.
This is most helpfull if you do a rebuild and don't need to waste you download eack time you do rebuild.
Can fit onto thumb drive and you can take it with you.

Popular Forums
Computer Help 51,912 discussions
Computer Newbies 10,498 discussions
Laptops 20,411 discussions
Security 30,882 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 21,253 discussions
Windows 10 1,672 discussions
Phones 16,494 discussions
Windows 7 7,855 discussions
Networking & Wireless 15,504 discussions


Samsung Galaxy S8's major makeover

This year's flagship phone gets a sexy new design and Bixby, a house-made digital assistant.