Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

Deleting updates and folders might be okay if you do a backup beforehand, just to be sure. There are better ways to free up disk space that will be less problematic.

Hi Leo. Windows XP, SP3. Can I delete Microsoft Office 2010 updates before I install Microsoft 2010 SP1 to free up disk space? Also, can I delete the contents of the following path also again to free up disk space on the local drive? (See Windows software distribution download.)

In this excerpt from Answercast #9, I explore the possibilities of manually deleting program update files to clear up space on a hard drive and then give another recommendation for finding unneeded files to delete.

Deleting Office update files

The question about Office - I think that you can. I'm not 100% sure.

I believe SP1 should work being applied to a completely unpatched Microsoft Office; so that leads me to say that you should be OK uninstalling the updates for Office 2010 before you install the service pack.

Not sure how much disk space that's really going to free up.

As far as the Windows software distribution download, again, I'm not 100% sure.

Always back up

One thing you might do instead of deleting it is back it up. Copy it somewhere else; copy it to another machine [or] burn it to DVD (I don't know how big it is), so that you can delete it safely and still restore it should there be an issue down the road.

How to free up disk space

What I actually recommend you do (instead of either these two options) is begin by running CCleaner and cleaning out your internet temporary folders, your browser caches, and the system temporary folders. There's a pretty good chance you've already got a lot of stuff that is really easy to clean, safe to clean, that could free up a bunch of space right away.

The other thing that I would do:

There's an article on my site (called "Where's my disk space going?") that outlines using a tool that will analyze the disk space on your computer and show you where the most space is being taken.

I point people to that tool because, quite often, they don't realize that, "Oh, yeah, there's this big thing over there that I downloaded three years ago that I don't need anymore."

Quite literally, that's the experience I had when I ran this a few years ago and I found that I had downloaded a movie that I had watched at some point (literally two or three years prior) that was taking a couple of GB of space on my machine.

Poof! I erased it and instantly took two GB of space back.

Keep your computer clean

  • Spend a little bit of time looking at what's using space on your machine. It's very possible that you can find something that's easy to delete that would free up enough space for you.
  • Run CCleaner to see if you can't delete some of the temporary files and other crud that's accumulated over time.

Next - Why am I getting a message at start-up that my computer is checking the file system?

Article C5211 - April 15, 2012 « »

Share this article with your friends:

Share this article on Facebook Tweet this article Email a link to this article
Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

Comments on this entry are closed.

If you have a question, start by using the search box up at the top of the page - there's a very good chance that your question has already been answered on Ask Leo!.

If you don't find your answer, head out to to ask your question.