How to delete year old windows updates

Written by ticara gailliard
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Microsoft offers a significant number of updates to its Windows operating systems to keep them in full working order. These updates are saved as a download on your computer, then are installed from that download. Once they're installed, the download stays on your computer system just in case you need to uninstall the update. If you want the extra disk space, you can remove these update files if you feel like you won't need to remove them.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


    Windows XP and Older

  1. 1

    Open Windows Explorer. Click the "Start" menu, then click "My Computer." Once the Windows Explorer window opens, find a folder labelled "$NTUninstall." This folder contains the uninstall information for all your Windows updates.

  2. 2

    Double click the "$NTUninstall" folder to open it. Look for the uninstall file information for your updates that you want to get rid of. After a year, it is more than likely safe to remove an uninstallation file. Highlight the files you want to remove, then right click them and select "Delete." Restart your computer.

  3. 3

    Download and install "Update Cleanup" if you don't feel comfortable deleting the files manually. After the program has installed, open the program and select the update uninstall files you'd like to delete. Once you are secure with your selections, click "Delete Selected Files." Restart your computer.

Tips and warnings

  • Windows Vista is designed in a way that doesn't allow you to delete update uninstall files. This is because the update files are saved in a much different way than on XP or older Windows systems. In Vista, the updates are stored in the Volume Shadow Copy service and therefore take up less space.
  • Do not uninstall the updates. By going to the Add/Remove Programs menu to try to remove the update files, you will uninstall your updates and your computer will revert to the status it was pre-update. Only delete the uninstallation files found in the "$NTUninstall" folder to be safe.

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