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Windows Server 2003 originally was setup with C: having a limited partition size. Is there a simple way to change where updates download to, so C: is not used at all?

Actually I would like to extend this to any version of windows, because I see it might help keep the boot drive size smaller if you wanted to have a ssd drive

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

As I understand it, the download location is hardcoded to %windir%\SoftwareDistribution\Download. You can logically redirect this using an NTFS junction point (effectively a Windows symbolic link) to another physical location, though I would encourage you to thoroughly test this in a non-production environment. You could achieve this, depeniding on your OS, using a number of options:

  • The resource kit tool linkd.exe (Server 2000/2003)
  • The command "fsutil hardlink" (XP/2003 and later)
  • The command line tool mklink (Vista and later)
  • The SysInternals tool "Junction"
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+1 on the idea and the need to test. FYI - I corrected mlink to mklink – uSlackr Mar 16 '12 at 21:27
Thanks; hadn't noticed I'd done that. – dadamson Mar 16 '12 at 21:30
any recommendations for reading to understand symbolic links better? – datatoo Mar 16 '12 at 22:04
This has the potential to break specific updates, i.e., it might work fine for all the updates you currently need, but break for one released next month. Or it might stop working after a future update to the Windows Update client itself. If you have no alternative, go ahead, but make sure you thoroughly document what you've done, so that if updating breaks at some point in the future you'll know why. – Harry Johnston Mar 17 '12 at 23:34
if what @Harry Johnston says is true, it sounds like there is no SIMPLE way to do this. Is that true? – datatoo Mar 18 '12 at 19:48

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