How to Delete Delivery Optimization Files in Windows 10

Subtitle: Save disk space on your PC

If your Windows 10 PC is running short on space, an investigation may reveal something called Delivery Optimization Files taking up a good chunk of room. The good news is you can safely get rid of these and reclaim that precious drive space.

What Are Delivery Optimization Files?

When it issues upgrades to Windows 10, Microsoft publishes the files containing the updates to its servers. As many Windows installations are set to update automatically, the result is millions of requests to download the update files. The same applies to apps that Microsoft serves up in the Windows Store.

Delivery Optimization Files are copies or "caches" of these files on the PCs of users, in addition to Microsoft's own copies. When your machine downloads the update files, it may actually be grabbing the copies stashed on another user's Windows 10 PC. This means not only reduced strain on Redmond's servers, but faster downloads for you.

Much like peer-to-peer applications like BitTorrent, your machine can fetch from the quickest source. This can include other sources in your immediate area, or even your local network.

Are Delivery Optimization Files Affecting My Security?

The thought of some stranger lifting files off your PC may seem scary. But there's a couple reasons this isn't anything to worry about:

  • Microsoft has taken extra measures to ensure other PCs can only access the update files themselves. This feature is baked in at the OS level, and enjoys the same level of security as Windows proper.
  • There are also steps to make sure your privacy is safe. This feature only sends or receives the same files you'd get from Microsoft, never any of your own.
  • Finally, peer-to-peer technology has been around for some time, so this isn't any more risky than the BitTorrent client you use to download your favorite open source software.

How to Remove Delivery Optimization Files

If this still hasn't convinced you, or you're truly that low on disk space, take the following steps to remove these files:

  1. Click the Start menu, and find the Disk Cleanup application.

    Deleting Delivery Optimization Files Can Be Done as Part of Disk Cleanup
  2. Select the Delivery Optimization Files checkbox to include them in the cleanup operation.

  3. De-/select other types of files as desired.

  4. Click the OK button to execute.

Once the process completes, all your disk space is returned to you!

Disabling Delivery Optimization

If you just want no part of this Delivery Optimization malarkey, you can also disable it altogether.

  1. Press Win+x.

    The Win+x Menu
  2. Select Settings from the menu.

  3. Select Updates & Security.

    The Windows Settings App
  4. Select Delivery Optimization from the left-hand menu.

    The Update & Security Screen in Windows Settings
  5. Flip the Allow downloads from other PCs switch to off.

    The Delivery Optimization Screen in Windows Settings

Delivery Optimizations Are Helpful, but Not Necessary

If you have the room to spare, you can be a help to yourself and others by keeping the Delivery Optimization files on your PC. They can offer others (or even another one of your own machines) a faster download of Windows and app updates. But if the thought of someone else downloading data from your computer bothers you, feel free to trash those file using the above steps.