Every time you see that a new update is coming to your Windows 10 PC, you always expect something fresh and new. And you must already know that the utility to make that happen is Windows Update.

The tool is designed to automatically start downloading updates as long as your system has a stable internet connection, although, in some situations, you have to start the process yourself. It’s pretty easy and straightforward: Check for updates >> Download them >> Install them.

Normally, Windows keeps a record of every update that is installed on your Windows 10 computer, whether it’s a quality, feature, driver, or security update. This gives you an idea of what you have and don’t have.

You also have the option to uninstall individual updates whenever you’re battling with compatibility issues and conflicts.

Going back and forth with Windows Update should probably be the last thing you signed up for on Windows 10. But the reality is that every Windows component encounters issues, even something as critical as Windows updates. Some updates might fail, and your update history will be populated with them. If you don’t want to see these failed updates again, you have to clear the entire update history.

You might also want to clear the history if the updates it contains are very old and you want to be able to keep track of the new updates.

Note that clearing the update history isn’t the same as uninstalling those updates.

This article will be walking you through different methods of clearing the Windows update history.

“How do I view the Windows update history?”

You can view your update history through the Settings application, Control Panel, and Command Prompt. You’ll find out how to use these apps below.

Using the Settings application

First, you have to open the application:

  1. Go to your taskbar and right-click on the Windows logo (the Start menu).
  2. After the menu appears, click on Settings.
  3. Alternatively, you can press the Windows and I keyboard buttons to open the Settings application.

Next, go to the Windows Update page and view your history. Here’s how:

  1. Once you get to the home page of the Settings application, click on Update & Security.
  2. On the next screen, where you see Windows Update, scroll down and click on “View update history.”
  3. You’ll now be taken to the “View update history” page, where you’ll see the list of updates that Windows Update attempted to install, if they were installed, and the dates the download and installation processes were initiated. Updates are classified into different categories, such as Quality Updates, Feature Updates, Driver Updates, Definition Updates (for Windows Defender), and Other Updates.
  4. Each update description doubles as a link that will redirect you to Microsoft’s website, where you can find out about the update. Their KB numbers are also indicated in brackets.

Going through Control Panel

  1. Go to the taskbar and right-click on the Start button.
  2. Select Run once the menu on the right side of your screen appears.
  3. You can open the Run dialog box a lot faster if you punch the Windows and R keyboard buttons together.
  4. After Run shows up, type “control panel” (don’t add the quotes) into the text box and hit the Enter key.
  5. After the Control Panel window opens, go to Programs and click on Uninstall a Program.
  6. When you see the Programs and Features window, head to the left pane and click on View Installed Updates.
  7. Every update that has been installed on your system will now be displayed.
  8. If you expand the window, you’ll find more details, such as the update’s publisher, the program that was updated, the update version, and the date it was installed.
  9. Note that you’ll only see updates that were installed successfully on this page, unlike on the View Updates History page in the Settings application, which also shows failed updates.

Checking installed updates in the Command Prompt

  1. Activate the search function in the Start menu area by clicking on the magnifying glass in the taskbar or by pressing the Windows and S keyboard buttons together.

Tip: You can keep the search box open by right-clicking the taskbar and selecting Search >> Show search box.

  1. Type “cmd” (don’t add the quotes) into the search box.
  2. Once Command Prompt appears in the search results, right-click it and select Run as Administrator from the context menu.
  3. Click on Yes in the UAC pop-up.
  4. Once the Command Prompt opens, type “systeminfo.exe” (don’t add the quotes) and hit the Enter keyboard button.
  5. The Command Prompt will now list the detailed info of your system.
  6. Scroll down to Hotfix(s) to find the updates installed on your system.
  7. Note that with the Command Prompt, you’ll only see the KB numbers of the updates, not their names and versions. You can go to Microsoft’s website to find out what each KB number represents.

Using Windows PowerShell

  1. Go to the taskbar and right-click the Windows logo (Start menu button).
  2. Click on Windows PowerShell (Admin) once you see the Power User menu.
  3. Click on the Yes button when the User Account Control dialog window appears.
  4. Once the Windows PowerShell window opens, type “Get-Hotfix” (don’t add the quotes) and hit the Enter keyboard button.
  5. You’ll now see a list of updates. Windows PowerShell will give you a brief description of each update, like telling you if it’s a security update or not. You’ll also find the KB number and the date the update was installed.
  6. If you want further details about the update, type “Get-Hotfix KBNUMBER” (don’t add the quotes) and hit Enter. Make sure you add the KB number of the update you want to check.

“How do I clear the Windows update history?”

Now that you know how to view your update history, you can go on to clearing it.

Before you start, you should note that the update history gives you a catalog that you can always go back to for troubleshooting purposes. If you have failed updates that you no longer want to see, you have to clear the entire history. You should weigh the cons of losing your update history against the prospect of not seeing a few failed updates and consider if the sacrifice is worth it.

Microsoft did not provide any quick option that you can tap to clear the update history. You can only view the updates on the View Update History page and that’s that. However, clearing the folder that holds the update history files gets rid of the record.

There are different ways to do that. You can use the Command Prompt, a batch file, or File Explorer. We’ll be walking you through each process.

Before you use any of the methods we’ve mentioned, you need to stop the services related to the Windows Update utility. This is because, at any given time that these services are running, they’re utilizing the SoftwareDistribution folder, which holds the files you want to delete. When these services are using the folder, you can’t make changes to it.

So, follow these steps to stop the services:

  1. Summon the search box in the Start menu area by clicking on the magnifying glass in the taskbar or by pressing the Windows and S keyboard buttons at the same time.
  2. Once the search box appears, type “services”.
  3. Click on Services in the search results.
  4. Once the Services application shows up, locate the following services:

Background Intelligent Transfer Service

Windows Update service

  1. Click on each service, then go to the left side of the window and click on Stop.

You can also stop the services using the Command Prompt:

  1. In the search box, type “cmd” (don’t add the quotes).
  2. Once Command Prompt appears in the search results, right-click it and select Run as Administrator from the context menu.
  3. Click on Yes in the UAC pop-up.
  4. Once the Command Prompt opens, type the following lines and hit Enter after typing each:

net stop wuauserv

net stop bits

After clearing the update history, you can restart the services by going to the Services application and clicking on Start after selecting each service. You can also go to the Command Prompt and type the following lines while hitting Enter after typing each:

net stop wuauserv

net stop bits

Use the Command Prompt

You can now follow the steps below to clear the update history using the Command Prompt. You’re basically deleting a folder in the SoftwareDistribution folder. Here we go:

  1. Open the Command Prompt as an administrator.
  2. Once the Command Prompt opens, type “C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\DataStore\Logs\edb.log” (don’t add the quotes) and then hit Enter.

Quick note: If you’re running Windows 10 on a drive other than the C drive, then replace C with the letter of that drive.

  1. Head over to the View Update History page and check if the entire history is cleared. If not, move on to the next step.

Clear the update history via File Explorer

Before you start, make sure the Windows Update services are stopped. Now, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click the Start button.
  2. Click on File Explorer after you see the Power User menu on the left side of your screen.
  3. You can also tap the Windows logo and E keyboard buttons simultaneously to launch File Explorer.
  4. Once File Explorer opens, go to the left pane and click on This PC.
  5. Navigate to the right side of the window now and double-click your local drive where Windows is installed.
  6. After the drive opens, locate the Windows folder and open it.
  7. In the Windows folder, open the SoftwareDistribution folder.
  8. Now, look for the DataStore folder and open it.
  9. Once the contents of the DataStore folder appear, select the Logs folder and the “DataStore.edb” file and delete them.
  10. Restart the Windows Update services you stopped earlier, and then check the View Update History page to confirm whether the history has been cleared.

Clear the update history by using a BAT file

  1. Go to the Start menu, search for Notepad, and then launch it.
  2. After Notepad shows up, type or copy and paste the following text:

@echo off

powershell -windowstyle hidden -command “Start-Process cmd -ArgumentList ‘/s,/c,net stop usosvc & net stop wuauserv & del %systemroot%\SoftwareDistribution\DataStore\Logs\edb.log & del /f /q C:\ProgramData\USOPrivate\UpdateStore\* & net start usosvc & net start wuauserv & UsoClient.exe RefreshSettings’ -Verb runAs”

  1. Go to the top of the window, click on File, and then select “Save as”. You can also tap the Ctrl, Shift, and S keyboard buttons together.
  2. Once the Save As dialog box opens, save the file using a .bat extension. For example, you can save it as deleteupdatehistory.bat. Whatever name you choose, make sure the file extension is .bat.
  3. After saving the file, go to the location where you saved it and double-click it. Click on Yes in the UAC pop-up.
  4. The BAT file will now stop the Windows Update services and clear the update history.

Conclusion

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Clearing the update history should now be a piece of cake for you. As we mentioned, you really don’t have to clear the history unless you’re certain you’ll never need the records in the future. If you’re worried about system slowdowns, go for Auslogics BoostSpeed. The tool will make sure your system is free of junk files and other entities that might affect performance.

If you have questions about the update history or want to share your experience, please feel free to use the comments section that follows.