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How to clean up old Vista update backup files?

    Question

  • To remove old update backup files in Windows XP, I can access to Windows Folder and delete all $NT...  folders or using some ultilities. In Windows Vista, I know only how to remove SP1 Backup by using a ultility provided by Microsoft and how's about other backup files for security, hotfix, updates ... How can I remove these files to get more HDD space? Is there any tool to help me to do this task?

    Thank you very much.


    An IT Reporter from Vietnam
    Saturday, April 04, 2009 11:17 AM

Answers

All replies

  • i wouldnt mind knowing this as i had 4 gigs of free space but after dowloading vista updates i had 100megs...

    cant find were the windows update files are like u said...
    Friday, April 17, 2009 11:21 AM
  • Hi Dunghv,

    Check this link:  http://www.raymond.cc/blog/archives/2008/11/16/safely-remove-windows-xp-update-backup-files-to-free-up-hard-disk-space/ .  It offers a freeware that might help you with deleting windows update backup files on your XP Computer.

    Regards.
    • Proposed as answer by Bill Nevitt Wednesday, December 29, 2010 9:57 AM
    Saturday, April 18, 2009 7:24 PM
  • Hi Dunghv,

    Check this link:  http://www.raymond.cc/blog/archives/2008/11/16/safely-remove-windows-xp-update-backup-files-to-free-up-hard-disk-space/ .  It offers a freeware that might help you with deleting windows update backup files on your XP Computer.

    Regards.
    Nope, that doesn't work on Vista, as demanded by the original poster.
    Wednesday, May 20, 2009 3:18 PM
  • There doesnt seem to be a directory available you can function this from in Vista - SO, answer is:

    Go to my computer and make a note of how much available space is on the C drive
    Go into cmd
    Type: compcln.exe
    command prompt will ask you if you want to keep the service packs permanently on this machine
    type Y for yes
    wait 5 minutes until the compcln.exe utility finishes
    Check your hard drive space on the C drive
    Voila...

    FYI - by doing this, you will not be abke to uninstall and SPs or updates from the system. Vista requires these files when uninstalling.

    Sunday, May 31, 2009 8:40 AM
  • I suppose you mean vsp1cln.exe instead of compcln.exe (at least in my Vista, I don't find any compcln.exe) but this only remove files after installing SP1.  If your Vista has SP1 integrated, vsp1cln.exe has no effect.

    Anyway, your method doesn't work as the original poster had asked for method to remove files related to updates/hotfixes, but not just Service Pack.
    Thursday, June 04, 2009 10:43 AM
  • Compcln.exe is the tool to clean the Vista and 2008 SP2 backup files.

    vsp1cln.exe is used by SP1 :)
    Thursday, June 04, 2009 4:06 PM
  • Ah OK.  In that case, nothing is changed as that is still not the answer.
    Friday, June 05, 2009 9:20 AM
  • Horinius, I suppose that you can use Compcln.exe only when you have previously installed Service Pack 2.
    Install SP2 first and then try again.
    Thursday, June 18, 2009 11:53 AM
  • Well, you misunderstood the flow of this thread....

    I never asked to use compcln.exe
    Thursday, June 18, 2009 1:00 PM
  • this forum topic may held solution
    http://www.vistax64.com/windows-updates/152379-deleting-old-update-backups.html
    Saturday, October 24, 2009 7:30 PM
  • JorgeManuelS,

    If you're referring to the command "%SystemRoot%\System32\Cmd.exe /c Cleanmgr /sageset:65535 & Cleanmgr /sagerun:65535", I had known and tried it already.  But it doesn't clean up update files, unfortunately.
    Wednesday, October 28, 2009 10:48 AM
  • compcln.exe does work with Vista, at least after SP2.

    It does clean other updates as well. In the prompt it states service packs and other packages.

    Thursday, February 18, 2010 3:16 AM
  • No, it doesn't.

    Never accept blindly what others have written out.  Try it yourself and confirm it yourself.

    When you do compcln more than once, you'll get a message telling you that this operation is already done, and nothing else.  Try it and see it yourself.  If you're not convinced, here's more:

    I have a Vista VM for this specifically.  It already has SP2, and compcln was done.  Its last usage dated back to 09/06/2009.  So when it's started up today, it has a lot of updates to install.  Before installing the updates, free disk space was about 3.87GB.  After installing the updates, free disk space was about 2.40GB.  Then I did a compcln again.  The free disk space was still 2.40GB!  Actually, I had already noted down the exact number of bytes: after using compcln, about 52kB of disk space was freed!  If compcln really does its job, the result is ridiculous!
    Thursday, February 18, 2010 1:36 PM
  • Vista stores update uninstall information and files replaced by the update in Windows\winsxs.

    Should you delete files in the \WinSXS directory? And what’s the deal with VSS?


    MowGreen Update Services Consumer Security

    • Edited by MowGreen Monday, February 28, 2011 7:30 PM
    Monday, February 22, 2010 7:02 PM
  • I've just tried disabling VSS (which is system restore) in a real Vista.  This indeed reduced disk usage, but free space is still a lot less than before.

    I read from some other articles that this is due to the fact that those files in WinSXS are using hard symlink and explorer (OS) is wrongly calculating disk usage!  What a shame!

    Friday, April 30, 2010 7:13 PM
  • Who's this Bill Nevitt who marked wrong answer as right answer?
    Monday, January 03, 2011 10:38 AM
  • I guess this is what you want to do:

    1. Stop "Windows Update" service: command: net stop "Windows Update" (to avoid "files in use" errors)
    2. Delete C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution (here Windows stores all update-related files: setups, backups, update history, etc., in my case its size was ~6 GB)
    3. Start "Windows Update" again: net start "Windows Update" (SoftwareDistribution folder will be recreated, size: approx 1 or 2 MB)
    4. Search for new Updates (Windows Update lost its history etc. but it will not find already installed updates again)

    Monday, February 28, 2011 8:55 AM
  • Backups for updates in Windows are never stored in SoftwareDistribution. In XP they were stored in hidden subfolders named $NtUninstallKBxxxxxx$ in the WINDOWS directory; in Vista/Windows 7 they are stored in Windows\winsxs.

    Should you delete files in the \WinSXS directory? And what’s the deal with VSS?


    MowGreen
    Windows Expert IT Pro - Consumer Security

    *-343-* FDNY
    NEVER FORGOTTEN

     

    Monday, February 28, 2011 7:29 PM
  • I guess this is what you want to do:

    1. Stop "Windows Update" service: command: net stop "Windows Update" (to avoid "files in use" errors)
    2. Delete C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution (here Windows stores all update-related files: setups, backups, update history, etc., in my case its size was ~6 GB)
    3. Start "Windows Update" again: net start "Windows Update" (SoftwareDistribution folder will be recreated, size: approx 1 or 2 MB)
    4. Search for new Updates (Windows Update lost its history etc. but it will not find already installed updates again)

    Those 6GB disk space that you recover probably comes from the "downloads" subfolder.  This is nothing new, but it seems you're unaware of.
    Thursday, March 03, 2011 10:34 AM