How I Deleted Incomplete System Updates from my Windows 10 Mobile

w10m update

Windows 10 is at best a work in progress. We've seen it improve over the past few years especially on the mobile platform which was buggy to say the least. Now for this to work, Microsoft pushes updates every once in a while, some minor and some major like the Anniversary update.

Previously I've had some challenges updating my Lumia 430 phone which had shipped with Windows 8.1 but nothing that Windows Device Recovery Tool couldn't sort out. With Windows 10 I've managed to keep up with most of the major updates, which to my dismay often consists of several megabytes up to a gig or so. Dismay because I don't have an unlimited data plan and so I've to rely on free Wi-Fi which is often not within my reach.

So the other day I went or rather travelled to my usual free Wi-Fi spot and started doing the updates. Everything was going well until it reached the 72% mark. For some reason the internet went down and sadly never recovered for the remainder of the day. After returning back home that's when I realized that this interrupted update had eaten up a whopping 1.09 GB. As a matter of fact, I now recall deleting some of my music just to accommodate this update.
update status
Download Progress
update status 2
Update Error Message

1.09 GB is not that much for some, but if you're on a low end Lumia phone like the 430 which only reserves a little over 3GB for personal use, trust me, it's a lot. So knowing I wouldn't have the opportunity to complete this update until a week or so, plus the fact I needed my music back on the phone, I decided why not just delete this incomplete update. Now that's where all the problems began.

I arrived at that 1.09GB figure thankfully because the Storage app tells you the exact amount Temporary Files, and in this case Pending Updates and Preview Builds, occupy. However that's the end of the story because Microsoft in all their wisdom doesn't allow you to delete this updates. Talk about torture. But anyway I wasn't giving up any time soon.
temporary files
Temporary Files
pending updates
Pending Updates and Preview Builds
 
My first option was rather complicated and to be honest despite my at best amateurish technical know-how on this platform, I knew it would give me a hard time. Basically from what I gathered, I had to "root" (i.e. interop unlock) the phone, gain file system access then connect it to my computer via SFTP to delete the update files. The second option was to reset the phone but that was just too drastic a measure to even consider. Still, my phone for the longest time had refused to reset for some reason.

The third option I stumbled on after some industrious searching on Google. I can't remember the site but I reckon it was the Windows Central forum and the post was a few years old. The solution - set the date to a couple of weeks ahead and Windows will just delete the updates on its own.

Now I recall reading that there was a time on Windows 8.1 Phone I think, that if you had set the date ahead a couple of years you could uninstall some system apps. Microsoft had long since took care of that bug so in way I was doubtful about this trick working. Either way I tried it and surprise, it worked like a charm. From 1.09GB down to 50.8 MB in just a couple of minutes.

Basically I set the date ahead two weeks and refreshed the storage and found it had dropped to 851 MB. I kept setting the date a couple of months ahead and by the time I was done it had dropped down 50.8 MB. I stopped at that and a week or so later it was down to zero. As a matter of fact the Pending updates and Preview Builds wasn't there anymore.
tempfiles
Temporary Files Slimming

I presume Microsoft has designed the update system in such a way that it deletes the updates "cumulatively" if there's no update activity, so that when you decide to update it doesn't have to start from scratch. Now I'm just speculating but regardless I still feel it would be better to give people the option to delete this updates on their own. Meanwhile as they figure that out, we're always grateful to Microsoft for leaving this kind of bugs in their systems - they seem to cushion us from their streak of bad decisions when we pretty much have no other option.


27 comments

Absolutely fabulous

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Thanks man
It works
I was frustrated trying to delete pending updates

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(Y)

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This doesn't work for me ;-(

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I am unable to delete the temp files .. in lumia 640 xl . any other method ..

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Sorry, don't know any other method other than this. I'll guess you'll just have to wait for the system to delete them on its own.

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Excellent solution Bro. I searched whole of internet for this fix, but nobody has the solultion including Microsoft, except when I read this post of yours. Salute! :)

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Thanks man 😊

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Thanks, it worked!

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Ridiculous and brilliant at the same time... ;)
It worked, thanks a lot! Thomas

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You saved me..!!!
Thanks a lot...!!!!!!

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Worked like a charm...

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Thanks! It worked.

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Worked amazingly!!! Thanks

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it works!!!

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Excellent solution

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Wwow surreal. It worked dude. I am trying to get rid of this since a month. Finally it worked . Thanks a lot. 😊

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Thank you sir. You are my hero

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thanks mate! this saved my butt big time. hugs and kisses from the Philippines! ahaha

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Worked like a charm <3

Thanks

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Glad to hear it worked for you.

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excellent man... Much blessing... you just took care of my frustration. I have nearly deleted all my app and memory space won't crash until I met your solution... thumbs up man

great stuff

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Thanks man.

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Thanks man!
You are the best! ))
Lumia 640XL Windows 10 mobile - it works!
Best regards
IgorGS, Russia

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(y)

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great

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Not working for lumia 535

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