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How do I delete the WinSxS folder?

    Question

  • Before you go off and tell me that WinSxS is important to my OS's functionality...

    I had a Windows 7 RC installation, which I sort of wrecked and I had to reinstall the OS over it. Of course, what happened was that the old Windows files were transferred to Windows.old. However, the WinSxS folder of the original installation remained, and lives on at eight gigabytes. When I tried deleting it, either from XP or from the new Win7 installation, I got "Access Denied" or "You Need Permission From TrustedInstaller" respectively.

    TrustedInstaller owns the WinSxS folders, and I cannot change the ownership status. I can rename the folder, but not delete it. I have tried to use MoveFile to delete it on bootup, and I'm this close to installing a tiny Linux distributable just to try and delete the folder.

    How do I delete this useless, space-eating folder?
    Friday, May 29, 2009 1:32 PM

Answers

  • To take ownership of the folder, right-click it, select Properties > Security Tab > Advanced at the bottom > Owner Tab > Edit > Highlight your username and put a tick in ‘Replace owner on sub containers…’ and Apply > OK. You will only have the ‘Replace owner on subcontainers…’ box for folders not files. Click Yes when you receive the Security pop-up window then click OK to the Close/Reopen message.

    Now go back to the Properties > Security Tab. Click Edit > Add. Type in your User Account Name in the box under Enter the objects name to select. Click on Check Names > OK. Click on your User Account Name to highlight it. Check the box for Full Control > Apply and OK etc.

    • Marked as answer by Flatterland Friday, May 29, 2009 2:24 PM
    Friday, May 29, 2009 1:38 PM
  • Wow, long discussion about hardlinks and winsxs. Anyway here are some summarized points of what I understood about how all of it works.

    To start by answering the OP's question with the perfect answer posted above by Andre.Ziegler, you don't touch winsxs. Maybe some of the files can be trimmed like the mp3's, avi's, etc but the rest of the system files should be left alone. I too am using Link Shell Extension as posted above by Ronnie Vernon, easy way to see which are hard linked (red arrow) and which are simple files.

    Before getting here I saw in a lot of places people asking for the cleanup tool after installing SP1 for Windows 7 like vsp1cln. There is no dedicated tool, it all got integrated into the Disk Cleanup service. One note that I would make here is that even if the option says it will remove a few hundreds of MB after I cleaned up my drive the service removed around 3GB of excess files, so it varies from system to system. Funny, now I have even more space than I had before installing SP1. Nice one, MS.

    Regarding the hard links, I got amused by the confusion created around them. I'm not a linux geek, and I usually use only soft links... they're enough for me, but people didn't get how the hard ones work and how size is counted.

    A group of selected files, links or not, will always be counted as a sum. This means that if I take a 10MB file, and make 2 hard links, the selection of all three of them will have 30MB and this is the correct size, because unlike the soft links which are related to the file's original Master File Table entry and have 0 bytes, hard links are related to the data itself, have their own entry in MFT but point to the same data address, obviously having as size the size of the actual data, same times, attributes and so on. Why, below.

    How much is left on the drive? Simple: exactly as much as the drive's own properties reports. Don't go selecting all the files, hidden and non hidden on C and making comparisons, or using tools that do that automatically because it won't show the actual HDD usage. Why? Because:
    1. that operation makes a list of all the selected files including hard links as separate files, takes each of them and adds the sizes up, the drives properties counts the actual stored data
    2. not all the files will be counted, folders protected from traversing and files from reading will not be counted and the System Volume Information usually has very large files protected just in this manner
    3. that number is useful only in cases of file transfer, if the files, links, etc need to be copied to DVD or NAS, that's how much they would occupy, and the links will not be preserved since they are NTFS specific features, not available or available in different forms under ISO, UDF, NFS and other file systems, but they will be cloned.

    Make a test... copy a 10MB file, a.exe, from a different drive and notice how the free space drops by the 10MB. Make a hard link (mklink /H b.exe a.exe). Now these two files selected will "use" 20MB in the selection properties, but actually only 10MB verified at the drive's properties, which will have the same free space as it did/does after the file copy. Delete one, either one, the free space will remain the same. Now delete the last one and the space will increase by 10MB. Was there any harm done? NO.

    What is winsxs? A much better dllcache. Where with the dllcache in XP we had copies of files that actually added to the size usage since they were cloned, this actually improves usage but not total protection (against viruses). If a rogue uninstaller thinks it has to remove some runtime libs from System32, it would only delete the links, but not the data, then the links would be recreated while keeping data space usage at lowest possible, better than archiving winsxs in cabs and having the cabs along side the original files. Also winsxs bring serialization, compartmentalizing files with the same name but different version, for the dev's sake, which is a good thing / bad thing, it makes them lazy to code properly but it helps when they don't want to code anymore.

    I did this to help anyone that lands here out of the same reasons I did... excessive "usage of space" by winsxs after SP1. And I hope it was helpful.



    Friday, March 25, 2011 4:40 PM

All replies

  • To take ownership of the folder, right-click it, select Properties > Security Tab > Advanced at the bottom > Owner Tab > Edit > Highlight your username and put a tick in ‘Replace owner on sub containers…’ and Apply > OK. You will only have the ‘Replace owner on subcontainers…’ box for folders not files. Click Yes when you receive the Security pop-up window then click OK to the Close/Reopen message.

    Now go back to the Properties > Security Tab. Click Edit > Add. Type in your User Account Name in the box under Enter the objects name to select. Click on Check Names > OK. Click on your User Account Name to highlight it. Check the box for Full Control > Apply and OK etc.

    • Marked as answer by Flatterland Friday, May 29, 2009 2:24 PM
    Friday, May 29, 2009 1:38 PM
  • Unfortunately, I now get a prompt that says I need permission from myself. O_o The options are "Skip" "Try Again" and "Cancel."
    Friday, May 29, 2009 2:16 PM
  • Flatterland,

    As an alternative to a Linux live CD - many of which will not let you around the file permissions of Windows Vista and Windows 7, I'd recommend VistaPE - but only on the grounds that you know exactly what you're doing!
    -Alex
    Friday, May 29, 2009 2:18 PM
  • Ah! Never mind, I solved the problem. Just had to check the boxes for child permissions in inherited permissions. Looks like the settings weren't going deep into all the files.
    Friday, May 29, 2009 2:20 PM
  • Thanks for the input, Burr, and also axfelix although I was able to get through the permissions without either a Live CD or VistaPE. BTW, I've'nt heard of that VistaPE thing before. I'mma take a look into it. Thanks again :D
    Friday, May 29, 2009 2:26 PM
  • Before you go off and tell me that WinSxS is important to my OS's functionality...

    I had a Windows 7 RC installation, which I sort of wrecked and I had to reinstall the OS over it. Of course, what happened was that the old Windows files were transferred to Windows.old. However, the WinSxS folder of the original installation remained, and lives on at eight gigabytes. When I tried deleting it, either from XP or from the new Win7 installation, I got "Access Denied" or "You Need Permission From TrustedInstaller" respectively.

    TrustedInstaller owns the WinSxS folders, and I cannot change the ownership status. I can rename the folder, but not delete it. I have tried to use MoveFile to delete it on bootup, and I'm this close to installing a tiny Linux distributable just to try and delete the folder.

    How do I delete this useless, space-eating folder?
    Hi

    Just to clarify, where are you seeing the old WinSXS folder? Is it contained in the Windows.old folder or in it's original location?

    Let us know.


    Thank You for testing Windows 7

    Ronnie Vernon MVP
    Friday, May 29, 2009 2:28 PM
  • The Windows.old folder, of course.
    Friday, May 29, 2009 4:31 PM
  • Weird why Microsoft put the bulk, if not all, of the entire operating system in the WinSxS folder.

    That must make all of the other directories only shortcut folders, more or less.
    GA P35 DQ6 Mb, Intel Wolfdale 8600 3.33Ghz C2D CPU., 4x2Gb Mushkin DDR2 1066 PC2 8500 Ascents Memory Mods., PNY-nVidia GE Force 8800 GTS (640MB), 4-Western Digital Caviar SATA(2) HDD's (internal), 1 EIDE-USB External; Hauppauge PVR 1600 TV tuner, Dual Monitor: (1) Standard up top, (1) WideScreen below; Altec Lansign Speakers...
    Friday, May 29, 2009 4:57 PM
  • Weird why Microsoft put the bulk, if not all, of the entire operating system in the WinSxS folder.

    That must make all of the other directories only shortcut folders, more or less.
    Hi David

    The WinSxS folder is a fascinating subject. I spent a considerable amount of time, last year, researching this subject. There are hundreds of websites that attempt to explain the WinSxS folder and what it does, unfortunately most of those articles are full of misinformation, misunderstandings, and plain speculation.

    To understand the WinSxS folder, what it is, how it works, and how you can be fooled by it's perceived size, you need to understand several different concepts. Hard Links, Componentization, and Servicing.

    Here are 3 links to fairly short articles, written by the people who designed and maintain that component. No FUD, just facts.

    Don't Trust All Your Eyes Tell You... (hard links in Windows Vista)

    What is the WINSXS directory in Windows 2008 and Windows Vista and why is it so large

    Engineering Windows 7 - Disk Space

    Have fun.

    Thank You for testing Windows 7

    Ronnie Vernon MVP
    Saturday, May 30, 2009 12:30 AM
  • Oh, I understand now! That's why I gained barely a gigabyte when I finally deleted the purportedly eight-gigabyte SxS folder; in reality, it's just a (comparatively) small number of files with a lot of hard links spread out across the system. Hard links have been around since XP, though. I wonder why the technet blog link says that they were "long-awaited" andjust "introduced in Win Vista." Fsutil could create hard links; I've tested it and it works fine.
    Saturday, May 30, 2009 3:51 AM
  • Hi

    I think the blog article was referring to the fact that Windows Vista is where Hard Links were first used extensively throughout the system. Many developers had been pushing Microsoft to make better use of hard links for years.

    Just like the WinSxS component store has actually been around since Windows ME, but was not really matured and used extensively until Windows Vista.

    Regards,

    Thank You for testing Windows 7

    Ronnie Vernon MVP



     

    Saturday, May 30, 2009 11:23 AM
  • One thing is for sure.

    I am almost certain that the vast majority of the Windows 7 OS is in the Side by Side directory.

    When I run an In-depth Antivirus/Spyware scan it zips through all of the directories. But, when it gets to the WinSxS folder at approx. 95~97 percent of the scan it slows down.

    I would guess that at least 90% of the entire Windows 7 OS is in the WinSxS folder.

    And that the other directories, including the Windows Parent directory of WinSxS is more or less just short cuts, or Hard-links, or whatever they're called.
    GA P35 DQ6 Mb, Intel Wolfdale 8600 3.33Ghz C2D CPU., 4x2Gb Mushkin DDR2 1066 PC2 8500 Ascents Memory Mods., PNY-nVidia GE Force 8800 GTS (640MB), 4-Western Digital Caviar SATA(2) HDD's (internal), 1 EIDE-USB External; Hauppauge PVR 1600 TV tuner, Dual Monitor: (1) Standard up top, (1) WideScreen below; Altec Lansign Speakers...
    Sunday, May 31, 2009 10:12 PM
  • Hi David

    Correct!

    Now you have a good understanding about how it works. :))

    Regards,


    Thank You for testing Windows 7

    Ronnie Vernon MVP
    Sunday, May 31, 2009 10:34 PM
  • Can I have a cookie?
    GA P35 DQ6 Mb, Intel Wolfdale 8600 3.33Ghz C2D CPU., 4x2Gb Mushkin DDR2 1066 PC2 8500 Ascents Memory Mods., PNY-nVidia GE Force 8800 GTS (640MB), 4-Western Digital Caviar SATA(2) HDD's (internal), 1 EIDE-USB External; Hauppauge PVR 1600 TV tuner, Dual Monitor: (1) Standard up top, (1) WideScreen below; Altec Lansign Speakers...
    Monday, June 01, 2009 12:00 AM
  • So, in other words...say I want to delete some of the files (pics, movie clips, music, etc...) in the Public folders, or for any other folder for that matter, all I'm doing is deleteing the hard-links and not the actual files themselves which are stored in the basement of the WinSxS directory.
    GA P35 DQ6 Mb, Intel Wolfdale 8600 3.33Ghz C2D CPU., 4x2Gb Mushkin DDR2 1066 PC2 8500 Ascents Memory Mods., PNY-nVidia GE Force 8800 GTS (640MB), 4-Western Digital Caviar SATA(2) HDD's (internal), 1 EIDE-USB External; Hauppauge PVR 1600 TV tuner, Dual Monitor: (1) Standard up top, (1) WideScreen below; Altec Lansign Speakers...
    Monday, June 01, 2009 12:03 AM
  • No, in that case, you're deleting the actual files.  Those aren't core OS files; therefore, AFAIK, they don't reside in WinSxS.

    -Chris
    [If this post helps to resolve your issue, please click the "Mark as Answer" or "Helpful" button at the top of this message. By marking a post as Answered, or Helpful you help others find the answer faster.]
    Monday, June 01, 2009 12:13 AM
  • Chris -

    I beg your forgiveness to differ.

    There are copies of most (if not all) of those .wmv, mp3, .avi, .jpg files in the SxS.

    I've been in the SxS.  I have seen them.  I have conquered them.  I have deleted them.  I have...uh...never mind.


    GA P35 DQ6 Mb, Intel Wolfdale 8600 3.33Ghz C2D CPU., 4x2Gb Mushkin DDR2 1066 PC2 8500 Ascents Memory Mods., PNY-nVidia GE Force 8800 GTS (640MB), 4-Western Digital Caviar SATA(2) HDD's (internal), 1 EIDE-USB External; Hauppauge PVR 1600 TV tuner, Dual Monitor: (1) Standard up top, (1) WideScreen below; Altec Lansign Speakers...
    Monday, June 01, 2009 12:43 AM
  • I'm sorry, I should have asked for clarification:
    are you referring to things that you put there (in \Public\xxx), or the 'sample files' that come with Windows?
    [If this post helps to resolve your issue, please click the "Mark as Answer" or "Helpful" button at the top of this message. By marking a post as Answered, or Helpful you help others find the answer faster.]
    Monday, June 01, 2009 4:10 AM
  • No.

    I'm talkin' bout all the files that Microsoft stuck in them during the installation.  There must be close to a gig's worth of .wmv, .avi, .mp3, .jpg, .png, .bmp, etc, etc, etc, files down in the SxS basement.  I got's all the one's that I don't want or need OUT.  Wasn't too concered with the 32-bit version of Windows 7.  I was with the 64-bit version.  Wanted the OS data size down far enough so that I could make a Ghost image and burn it on 1 standard DVD.  I was able to streamline it all the way down to 7GB's and that fit on a standard DVD (using a FireWired Sony External DVD) using old Ghost (came with NSW 2003) in DOS.
    GA P35 DQ6 Mb, Intel Wolfdale 8600 3.33Ghz C2D CPU., 4x2Gb Mushkin DDR2 1066 PC2 8500 Ascents Memory Mods., PNY-nVidia GE Force 8800 GTS (640MB), 4-Western Digital Caviar SATA(2) HDD's (internal), 1 EIDE-USB External; Hauppauge PVR 1600 TV tuner, Dual Monitor: (1) Standard up top, (1) WideScreen below; Altec Lansign Speakers...
    Monday, June 01, 2009 4:47 AM
  • Chris -

    I beg your forgiveness to differ.

    There are copies of most (if not all) of those .wmv, mp3, .avi, .jpg files in the SxS.

    I've been in the SxS.  I have seen them.  I have conquered them.  I have deleted them.  I have...uh...never mind.

    Hi David

    Actually Chris is correct. Some files are copied to a location instead of being hard linked during installation. Most of the media files are copied. Remember that the WinSxS folder contains the entire Windows 7 installation + other critical components.

    If you really want to be able to tell the difference between what is an actual file and what is a Hard Link, there is a small utility you can install and use. Go to the following website.

    Link Shell Extension

    Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the download. You don't need the the Runtime .Dll's, they are already present in Windows 7.

    This utility overlays a small, red arrow on a file icon that is a hard link. You can then right click the file and select Properties. You will see a new Tab called Link Properties. Click that tab and it will show you how many hard links are associated with the file as well as the location of each hard link.

    Hope this helps.

    Thank You for testing Windows 7


    Ronnie Vernon MVP

    Monday, June 01, 2009 4:48 AM
  • Hi

    This is just for information. I performed some hard link research on a fairly new installation of Windows 7 RC 7100 last night and here are the results. This includes the entire system drive and then all of the major folders. The only software installed is MSO 2007 and a few utilities.

    Initial post installation Windows 7 Ultimate Release Candidate 7100 hard link scan.
    ---
    Hard Links Report
    Report Time: 05/31/2009
    Scanned Areas: C:\

    Summary:
     Files scanned: 145429
     Physical files with more than one name: 18231
     Hard links: 37167 = 25.5%
    ---
    Hard Links Report
    Report Time: 05/31/2009
    Scanned Areas: C:\windows\

    Summary:
     Files scanned: 58458
     Physical files with more than one name: 18231
     Hard links: 35353 = 60.4%
    ---
    Hard Links Report
    Report Time: 05/31/2009
    Scanned Areas: C:\windows\system32\

    Summary:
     Files scanned: 15686
     Physical files with more than one name: 13065
     Hard links: 13217 = 84.2%
    ---
    Hard Links Report
    Report Time: 05/31/2009
    Scanned Areas: C:\windows\winsxs\

    Summary:
     Files scanned: 35387
     Physical files with more than one name: 18230
     Hard links: 18595 = 52.5%
    ---
    Hard Links Report
    Report Time: 05/31/2009
    Scanned Areas: C:\program files\

    Summary:
     Files scanned: 7950
     Physical files with more than one name: 1737
     Hard links: 1737 = 21.8%
    ---
    Hard Links Report
    Report Time: 05/31/2009
    Scanned Areas: C:\users\

    Summary:
     Files scanned: 77436
     Physical files with more than one name: 0
     Hard links: 0 = 0%

    Thank You for testing Windows 7

    Ronnie Vernon MVP
    Monday, June 01, 2009 2:47 PM
  • Ronnie:

    This is all fine and dandy, but can you give a reasonable answer for this:

    - From what you showed us, and many other sites say, the "space" shown to be utilized by the winsxs folder is not "real" but rather *shown* as real by windows explorer, due to it's "ineptness" to correctly show hard links for what they really are. If this is so, why was this feature not incorporated into explorer directly instead of having it behave incorrectly?

    - I chose a 30GB C partition, from previous experience thinking it would be more than enough, and I am down to only 6GB of free space according to explorer (Oh yeah, all this from just a new install on a new hard disk done last night!). So if you're telling me that what explorer shows is not right, and I really have more space than that, what will it showme if I install/copy say 10Gb of data? That I have "minus 4 Gb" of space left?

    It really sounds ridiculous, and excuse me but it's evidently a real sloppy work from MS people... I mean, we're not talking about some third party app not showing what you really have, but the OS's own stuff not working correctly... REALLY sloppy...
    Tuesday, June 09, 2009 1:55 PM
  • The question raven9000 poses is the one I have had for a long time. Windows Explorer, and Windows itself is reporting that I am running low on drive space on C:\, due to an 8GB+ WinSxS folder. I'm assuming that most installers are going to use the same API's that windows is using and tell me I don't have enough free space.

    I'm running Server 2008 R2 as a 2week old Hyper V VM, and the C:\ is a dynamically expanding disk. Currently windows explorer in the VM shows 21.8GB used, while by VHD file is 21.1 GB, an the WinSxS folder is at 5.42GB. I will keep an eye on this over time to see how much it grows.

    The Ask the Core Team article linked above seems to be the most honest explanation I've read so far. However I just get the feeling that the designers thought, oh look, you can by a 640GB HD for $70, while completly forgetting the push by Microsoft and others to Virtualize data centers. That's were I'm running into the biggest problem. Working for a small company, we can't afford anything more then 2TB worth of 32GB SAS drives in our SAN array. We are running into serious issues with reguards to how much space the WinSxS folder takes up, with no added value to our business.

    I'm considering using something like VistaLite, which I've used to shrink down Win7 to fit on my netbook in our production environment with the added risk just to save some space.

    In summary, please consider the following:

    1. Fix the windows APIs, and Windows Explorer in regards to calculating disk space to take into account hard links
    2. Since everything is componentized, give us an advanced install option to not install stuff we don't need. I don't need the same experiance on my servers that the average user needs on thier deskop PC. I know how to install a driver!
    3. Continue to offer the service pack cleanup tools, and consider extending this option to allow us to "commit" changes as we see fit. For example if I roll out patches in month 1, and everything goes OK, i'd like to commit those patches in Month 2 before I roll out patches for Month 2.
    Thursday, June 25, 2009 1:59 PM
  • Ronnie:

    This is all fine and dandy, but can you give a reasonable answer for this:

    - From what you showed us, and many other sites say, the "space" shown to be utilized by the winsxs folder is not "real" but rather *shown* as real by windows explorer, due to it's "ineptness" to correctly show hard links for what they really are. If this is so, why was this feature not incorporated into explorer directly instead of having it behave incorrectly?

    - I chose a 30GB C partition, from previous experience thinking it would be more than enough, and I am down to only 6GB of free space according to explorer (Oh yeah, all this from just a new install on a new hard disk done last night!). So if you're telling me that what explorer shows is not right, and I really have more space than that, what will it showme if I install/copy say 10Gb of data? That I have "minus 4 Gb" of space left?

    It really sounds ridiculous, and excuse me but it's evidently a real sloppy work from MS people... I mean, we're not talking about some third party app not showing what you really have, but the OS's own stuff not working correctly... REALLY sloppy...
    Can someone please follow up on this question?  You can say that hard links don't take up any space all you want, but all the OS tools think that the hard links really are taking up space.  So while they may not be taking up 1s and 0s on the magnetic plates of the hard drive, they are still taking up free space from my system .  They prevent me from installing apps which are using the same OS tools to calculate free space.  You may as well have physically copied each file, in the end there is no difference to me.
    Sunday, August 02, 2009 9:24 AM
  • you can try using c:\windows\system32\compcln.exe, it shrank my winSxs folder from 10GB++ to  7GB++  (Vista SP2).

    At least it works and we can get back some GB from the blackHole of Windows OS folders.

    you can also try some of the maintenance task found at the Microsoft Automated Troubleshooting Services @ http://support.microsoft.com/gp/mats#tab0

    Hope thats helpfull to you all.
    Wednesday, September 23, 2009 3:02 AM
  • you can try using c:\windows\system32\compcln.exe, it shrank my winSxs folder from 10GB++ to  7GB++  (Vista SP2).

    At least it works and we can get back some GB from the blackHole of Windows OS folders.

    you can also try some of the maintenance task found at the Microsoft Automated Troubleshooting Services @ http://support.microsoft.com/gp/mats#tab0

    Hope thats helpfull to you all.
    Hi ymhing

    The compcln.exe utility is installed with the Vista SP2 update. It's designed to immediately remove all of the old files in the WinSxS folder that are replaced by the SP2 update.

    It does not exist and cannot be used on a Windows 7 system.


    Also, the link to the maintenance troubleshooters that you posted are for Windows Vista. Windows 7 has all of these tools built-in.


    Regards,


    Thank You for using Windows 7

    Ronnie Vernon MVP
    Wednesday, September 23, 2009 7:07 AM
  • Quote: AdamTsi
    The question raven9000 poses is the one I have had for a long time. Windows Explorer, and Windows itself is reporting that I am running low on drive space on C:\, due to an 8GB+ WinSxS folder. I'm assuming that most installers are going to use the same API's that windows is using and tell me I don't have enough free space.

    I'm running Server 2008 R2 as a 2week old Hyper V VM, and the C:\ is a dynamically expanding disk. Currently windows explorer in the VM shows 21.8GB used, while by VHD file is 21.1 GB, an the WinSxS folder is at 5.42GB. I will keep an eye on this over time to see how much it grows.

    In summary, please consider the following:

    1. Fix the windows APIs, and Windows Explorer in regards to calculating disk space to take into account hard links
    2. Since everything is componentized, give us an advanced install option to not install stuff we don't need. I don't need the same experiance on my servers that the average user needs on thier deskop PC. I know how to install a driver!
    3. Continue to offer the service pack cleanup tools, and consider extending this option to allow us to "commit" changes as we see fit. For example if I roll out patches in month 1, and everything goes OK, i'd like to commit those patches in Month 2 before I roll out patches for Month 2.
    But reading the blog-entry Don't Trust All Your Eyes Tell You... (hard links in Windows Vista) the calculated "free space" doesn't inlcude the size of hard links, or am I wrong here?

    Concerning your summary I 100% agree. Well ad 1. may some statistic about filesize including and one excluding hard links, while the last one is used for reporting to other programs, would be nice.
    Tuesday, October 20, 2009 11:24 PM
  • WINSXS works as a backup like dllcache used to. It also is a security measure to make it much harder for applications to permanently change or modify files and resources within files than in the past.

    Wednesday, October 21, 2009 7:08 AM
  • Hi, is anyone from MS going to respond to some very valid points, the main one being that while HDD space is cheap on the desktop, it is $$$$ on the SAN, and considering this is where all the Hyper-V virtual machines exist, what can we do to actually make virtualising Server 2008 and Server 2008 R2 cost effective?  Because I can't afford to keep growing the C:\ from 20 GB, to 40GB to 60GB accross 300 virtual servers all sat high performance SAN storage that costs a lot per GB..... not to mention the change control headache and backup space for rollback / downtime / etc when the c:\ needs expanding.

    Wednesday, November 11, 2009 1:49 PM
  • Agree with ben_jam 100%...Still no comment from MS hey...what a dog...this now effects me at work on 2008 server running on expensive FC disks and at home on expensive SSD drives. Lots of blurb but no answer as to how we fix this MS...what a joke. Any day now would be good!!!!!!!  
    Friday, December 04, 2009 2:02 AM
  • This is ridiculous and these issues are hitting businesses, namely all my SQL Servers.

    I've been searching and searching for an answer but there is none available.

    All I get is the same old "BUT WINSXS isn't REALLY taking up space, as it's hardlinks...."
    DO I CARE?  I only care what the operating system is telling me and it's telling me that I'm running out of space DUE to the WINSXS folder and I can't install my patches and other programs.

    Regardless if it's actually taking up physical space on the disk, the operating system is telling all these programs that MY DISK IS FULL.  So, am I suppose to magically tell these programs that the disk isn't really full or is Microsoft actually going to do something about this and either update the brains in the OS to recognize that it isn't taking up all this space?
    Tuesday, January 05, 2010 10:13 PM
  • This is ridiculous and these issues are hitting businesses, namely all my SQL Servers.

    I've been searching and searching for an answer but there is none available.

    All I get is the same old "BUT WINSXS isn't REALLY taking up space, as it's hardlinks...."
    DO I CARE?  I only care what the operating system is telling me and it's telling me that I'm running out of space DUE to the WINSXS folder and I can't install my patches and other programs.

    Regardless if it's actually taking up physical space on the disk, the operating system is telling all these programs that MY DISK IS FULL.  So, am I suppose to magically tell these programs that the disk isn't really full or is Microsoft actually going to do something about this and either update the brains in the OS to recognize that it isn't taking up all this space?

    Agreed.  MS please give us a sxs cleanup tool.  Something to get rid of whatever is in there that we don't need or want, and to compress the files that remain.

    Thursday, February 04, 2010 2:28 PM
  • Microsoft should admit that this design is flawed, this DLL repository is poorly managed!
    Why didn't MS learn from the design of package managers for Linux and Unix?

    Microsoft could blame the problem on third-party vendors, but there is even a problem with uninstalling their own in-box components.
    For example, use control panel to "turn off" games. Very little is removed. What could possibly have a dependency on these components (without mediacentre)? Is this even considered? The checkers executable and dlls may only be 7mb, but WinSxS kills by a thousand cuts. It sure must be fun doing security audits on Windows 7. Why is the winSxS a black hole for most users?

    The WinSxS folder can grow to sizes that create needless expense for their customers.
    Users of virtualized environments and SSDs are being affected by this.

    This was not a difficult engineering problem. Microsoft needs to develop a preventative solution, or at least provide us with a warranty-free cleanup tool. If it is in fact well organised, expose this functionality! Monitor when/why files and hardlinks are created for SxS. Warn us about removing recently used or important system components, but help us remove the cruft. 

    MS continues to push Windows 7 on netbooks, we should make sure to inform potential customers of this isue.
    This lack of foresight is typical and disgusting. Good luck selling low-end computers in India, Linux excels on low-cost devices. My OEM paid you for a windows license, EARN IT!


    For consideration:
    http://blogs.msdn.com/e7/archive/2008/11/19/disk-space.aspx
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Package_management_system
    Saturday, February 06, 2010 9:07 AM
  • I'm facing this annoying Winsxs folder problem too. 

    I bought my PC in Mar 2010, in only 1 month, it has eaten up my 2.5BG capacity of C drive.  I dare not check the C drive's  capacity everytime when I turn on my PC, as the available capacity for C drive is becoming smaller every 2 to 3 days.  the Winsxs folder is becoming larger and larger. 

    What if the day comes when the PC tells me that I do not have enough space to start the system?? 

    Really a headache!

    Based on this eating speed, my C drive's capacity will become to 0 in half year.  My god!
    Microsoft please consier a proper solution to solve this problem!!!

    Hope a timely cleaning tool can be provided in half year before I face this 0 capacity problem.

    Monday, May 03, 2010 6:22 AM
  • The WinSxS does not really occupy the space that is reported by explorer, etc. It is not continuing to use more and more of your hard drive space.

    I suggest Google or Bing to read more about this.

    Monday, May 03, 2010 2:42 PM
  • Wow..  THAT'S your reply? It's the lamest I have heard in a long time... We all know no matter what BS you tell us, wether hard links vs soft links, etc, the bottom line is you CANNOT use that space.

    You guys have got to be the LAMEST and INCOPETENT coders in the world...

    Monday, May 03, 2010 3:04 PM
  • Wow..  THAT'S your reply? It's the lamest I have heard in a long time... We all know no matter what BS you tell us, wether hard links vs soft links, etc, the bottom line is you CANNOT use that space.

    You guys have got to be the LAMEST and INCOPETENT coders in the world...


    Great reply. I'm not sure who you are talking about.
    Monday, May 03, 2010 3:07 PM
  • Have you ever even read what's happening?

    I quote myself:

    "This is ridiculous and these issues are hitting businesses, namely all my SQL Servers.

    I've been searching and searching for an answer but there is none available.

    All I get is the same old "BUT WINSXS isn't REALLY taking up space, as it's hardlinks...."
    DO I CARE?  I only care what the operating system is telling me and it's telling me that I'm running out of space DUE to the WINSXS folder and I can't install my patches and other programs.

    Regardless if it's actually taking up physical space on the disk, the operating system is telling all these programs that MY DISK IS FULL.  So, am I suppose to magically tell these programs that the disk isn't really full or is Microsoft actually going to do something about this and either update the brains in the OS to recognize that it isn't taking up all this space?"

    In simple terms:

    I don't care if it's REALLY using the space or not.  The OS is reporting it's being used and I can't perform critical tasks.

     

    Tuesday, May 04, 2010 5:00 AM
  • Sorry you Cannot delete that Folder instead Use a Disk Cleanup in windows 7 to get more space

    1. Open Disk Cleanup by clicking the Start button , clicking All Programs, clicking Accessories, clicking System Tools, and then clicking Disk Cleanup.

    2. In the Disk Cleanup Options dialog box, choose whether you want to clean up your own files only or all of the files on the computer. If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

    3. If the Disk Cleanup: Drive Selection dialog box appears, select the hard disk drive that you want to clean up, and then click OK.
    4. Click the Disk Cleanup tab, and then select the check boxes for the files you want to delete.

    5. When you finish selecting the files you want to delete, click OK, and then click Delete files to confirm the operation. Disk Cleanup proceeds to remove all unnecessary files from your computer.


    This is ridiculous.

    I have to go and scrounge up whatever I can delete EXCEPT for the thing that is causing the space issues.  It's like telling someone to put a band-aid on an amputation to stop the bleeding.  I don't know about you, but in my corporation, I try to solve the source of the problem instead of putting out fires that are caused by the source,

    Tuesday, May 04, 2010 5:05 AM
  • Is MS every going respawn to this post witha  fix or our we going to wait forever?
    Tuesday, May 25, 2010 4:12 PM
  • Use the Disk Cleanup utility.
    Tuesday, May 25, 2010 4:37 PM
  • MS won't respond because this thread supposedly has an answer........but it's really about taking ownership of the folder.

    They still have no way of helping us recover the "used' disk space either by making the OS realize it's not really taking up space or by coming up with a utility to help us delete these so called harmless links.

    Monday, May 31, 2010 7:02 AM
  • The Disk Cleanup utility doesn't help clean up the WINSXS folder.

    Again, why do we have to scrounge up disk space by attempting to delete everything else, besides the folder that is causing the issue.

    Monday, May 31, 2010 7:03 AM
  • The Disk Cleanup utility doesn't help clean up the WINSXS folder.

    Again, why do we have to scrounge up disk space by attempting to delete everything else, besides the folder that is causing the issue.

    Hi Jason

    You simply need to change the way you consider the WinSxS folder. This folder is the foundation that the Windows installation is built on. Removing any part of it would be deleterious to the operating system.

    Regard it like you would the foundation of your house. Removing any part of it would be like removing the foundation of your house to gain a bit more living space.

    As for the argument about Hard Links and the perceived use of disk space. This is a result of the nature of hard links and how they work, not by the way they are implemented in Windows.

    A hard link is just another pointer to a file object on the disk. It can have the same or a different name than the original file name. The Reference Count for a file is the original file name plus the number of hard links that point to that file object.

    Any file that is created will automatically have a reference count of 1, so you could say that every file has at least one hard link. You can delete either a hard link or the original file name and the file object will still be there. The file object is only deleted when the last hard link is removed and the reference count reaches 0.

    It's easy enough to identify hard links, determine how many hard links are on the system, where they are located, and their reported size. However, trying to continually enumerate all of this information and then convince an installation, or utility program that the reported free space on the drive is just an illusion would be next to impossible.

    Regards,

    Thank You for using Windows 7


    Ronnie Vernon MVP
    Monday, May 31, 2010 11:21 AM
  • Hmm... yet another reply from a Microsoft Employee that doesn't answer the question. Unless you guys are actively dodging the issue, let me at least clarify things so you'll be able to come up with a better answer.

     

    THE PROBLEM: Windows reports that the computer is running out of space, eventually making it difficult to install programs, etc.

    THE CAUSE: The WinSxS folder appears to be expanding exponentially. Despite this folder not taking up actual disk space, because Windows reports that it does, the effect is the same.

    THE SOLUTION (we're hoping for): A utility or patch that would allow us utilize the disk space that Windows reports as being "used".

     

    Ronnie, there is no need for us (the user) to change the way we consider the WinSxS folder. Just like, to use your analogy, there is no need for us to understand exactly how the foundation of our house works. What matters to us is that it does work. But here's where your analogy falls apart: our house doesn't tell us that the foundation is encroaching on our living space, which is exactly like what the WinSxS folder is doing.

    However, trying to continually enumerate all of this information and then convince an installation, or utility program that the reported free space on the drive is just an illusion would be next to impossible.

    Then that means your design is flawed. Whether the lost disk space is consumed by phantom files or not doesn't matter. The result is the same, and from a user's standpoint, the result is all that matters.

    Monday, May 31, 2010 2:05 PM
  • I tend to agree that it is pretty ludicrous that this performs this way.

     

    If hard links are causing these problems where space is not usable, then stop using them.

    Every other file system seems to work perfectly fine with symbolic links.  Which I know Windows supports because they exist all over the place to redirect some of the references to older, Documents & Settings folders.

    Although, it does not prevent the problem where the data remains intact if the original was deleted, whereas another hard link reference would save the data....

     

    Someone above made the comment that it would be impossible to enumerate the number of hard links referring to a specific file and report the space properly....

     

    Is that meant to be some kind of a joke?  You mean to tell me, that a scan 30 years ago, the Internet barely existed, yet today, I can run around driving tanks around and shooting Nazi's with dozens of other people online, yet you can't give me an accurate accounting of the actual space used on my system?

     

    Seriously?

    Monday, May 31, 2010 7:48 PM
  • The real problem is that people are confusing the winsxs with the winsux folder.

    Monday, May 31, 2010 7:57 PM
  • Hmm... yet another reply from a Microsoft Employee that doesn't answer the question. Unless you guys are actively dodging the issue, let me at least clarify things so you'll be able to come up with a better answer.

     

    THE PROBLEM: Windows reports that the computer is running out of space, eventually making it difficult to install programs, etc.

    THE CAUSE: The WinSxS folder appears to be expanding exponentially. Despite this folder not taking up actual disk space, because Windows reports that it does, the effect is the same.

    THE SOLUTION (we're hoping for): A utility or patch that would allow us utilize the disk space that Windows reports as being "used".

     

    Ronnie, there is no need for us (the user) to change the way we consider the WinSxS folder. Just like, to use your analogy, there is no need for us to understand exactly how the foundation of our house works. What matters to us is that it does work. But here's where your analogy falls apart: our house doesn't tell us that the foundation is encroaching on our living space, which is exactly like what the WinSxS folder is doing.

    However, trying to continually enumerate all of this information and then convince an installation, or utility program that the reported free space on the drive is just an illusion would be next to impossible.

    Then that means your design is flawed. Whether the lost disk space is consumed by phantom files or not doesn't matter. The result is the same, and from a user's standpoint, the result is all that matters.

    Hi Hraefn

    Just to clarify, I am not a Microsoft employee. I volunteer my time on these forums to help other users like myself.

    Perhaps the foundation analogy is not perfect, but I have been trying to come up with a simple description for this subject for more than 3 years and the "describe the winsxs folder and what it does, in 10 words or less" still eludes me. However, I will keep trying. :)

    Regards

    Thank You for using Windows 7


    Ronnie Vernon MVP

     

    Monday, May 31, 2010 9:26 PM
  • i know how to find directory junctions.  DIR /AL.   but i don't know how to identify a file hard-link.

    (let alone the space occupied by alternate data streams).

    maybe you're talking about via api?  i'm sure i'll feel foolish for asking the obvious, but are there some new UI tools with win7 to do this?

    Hi GnG

    I described a very excellent utility in a previous post. Here is the info again.

    If you really want to be able to tell the difference between what is an actual file and what is a Hard Link, there is a small utility you can install and use. Go to the following website.

    Link Shell Extension

    Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the download. You don't need the Runtime .Dll's, they are already present in Windows 7.

    This utility overlays a small, red arrow on a file icon that is a hard link. You can then right click the file and select Properties. You will see a new Tab called Link Properties. Click that tab and it will show you how many hard links are associated with the file as well as the location of each hard link.

    Hope this helps.

    Thank You for using Windows 7


    Ronnie Vernon MVP
    Monday, May 31, 2010 9:31 PM
  • Just to clarify, I am not a Microsoft employee. I volunteer my time on these forums to help other users like myself.

    Perhaps the foundation analogy is not perfect, but I have been trying to come up with a simple description for this subject for more than 3 years and the "describe the winsxs folder and what it does, in 10 words or less" still eludes me. However, I will keep trying. :)

    Fair enough. I do hope someone from Microsoft reads this thread, though, as this is an issue that severely impacts user experience. I understand Windows 8 is currently in development so I hope that if we raise enough of a hullaballoo about this issue, Microsoft will rethink the effectiveness of their design.

    Tuesday, June 01, 2010 11:06 AM
  • i know how to find directory junctions.  DIR /AL.   but i don't know how to identify a file hard-link.

    (let alone the space occupied by alternate data streams).

    maybe you're talking about via api?  i'm sure i'll feel foolish for asking the obvious, but are there some new UI tools with win7 to do this?

    Hi GnG

    I described a very excellent utility in a previous post. Here is the info again.

    If you really want to be able to tell the difference between what is an actual file and what is a Hard Link, there is a small utility you can install and use. Go to the following website.

    Link Shell Extension


    thanks.  that program is great.

     

    i wouldn't have gotten into this thread, except i thought maybe i was missing out on some new win7 tools?  to me, i don't understand the fuss either way on this issue.  tera-bytes are cheap these days, so what's a few giga-bytes?  besides that, i like these ntfs tricks.  i just wish they were more accessible to us.

    here.  check this out.  i was just tinkering with alternate data streams.  go to Sysinternals' streams site, then drag-n-drop the nav bar icon to your desktop.  (its name is streams, just like the program name).  now without doing anything else to it, put a copy of the streams.exe program on the desktop too.  then shift-right-click the desktop to open Command Prompt and type streams streams.url to view the link-file's alternate data streams.  none yet.  now double-click the streams link on your desktop to browse the Sysinternals site again.  again examine it via Command Prompt streams streams.url and now you'll find there are now 894 hidden bytes in its alternate data stream.  yikes!

    where'd they come from?  they're not reported in the filesize, nor do we have any UI utilities to directly get at them.  but if you look into that streams.url link with notepad, you'll see IconFile=http://technet.microsoft.com/favicon.ico .  if you download that icon file, it is exactly 894 bytes.  imagine that.

    this seems new for win7 (over vista) - you can edit that alternate data stream with mspaint.  while still in the desktop Command Prompt, type mspaint streams.url:favicon:$data.  unfortunately, i don't see how to save it as an .ico file.  just the usual .bmp .gif .jpg choices.  but still, that's cool.

    i wonder how many other things are hidden on this disk of mine?

    Tuesday, June 01, 2010 3:49 PM
  • Just to clarify, I am not a Microsoft employee. I volunteer my time on these forums to help other users like myself.

    Perhaps the foundation analogy is not perfect, but I have been trying to come up with a simple description for this subject for more than 3 years and the "describe the winsxs folder and what it does, in 10 words or less" still eludes me. However, I will keep trying. :)

    Fair enough. I do hope someone from Microsoft reads this thread, though, as this is an issue that severely impacts user experience. I understand Windows 8 is currently in development so I hope that if we raise enough of a hullaballoo about this issue, Microsoft will rethink the effectiveness of their design.


    Just to clarify, I don't need an explanation of how the WinSXS folder works.  I know how it works.  The issue is that it's an ever expanding folder that cannot be cleaned up.  You can use any example and it still doesn't make any sense why Microsoft cannot come up with a utility for us to manage the folder size.  Using your foundation example, it's like I'm a blind person and I rely on someone to tell me how many rooms I can use in my house.  Now my source is telling me the foundation is growing an encroaching on my living space and instead of having 4 bedrooms, I'm now down to one, regardless if the foundation is growing or not......I have to rely on that source, thus I can only use one bedroom....even though I supposedly still have 3 bedrooms to use, but I will never know that.  THAT is how frustrating this situation is.
    Thursday, June 03, 2010 6:21 AM
  • i wouldn't have gotten into this thread, except i thought maybe i was missing out on some new win7 tools?  to me, i don't understand the fuss either way on this issue.  tera-bytes are cheap these days, so what's a few giga-bytes? 


    We're not talking about home computers here, this issue with WinSXS affects critical servers and unless you work for some rich company that doesn't care about how you spend money, a "few giga-bytes" is worth a lot a money for server based disks on complicated RAID arrays or SANs, not to mention solid-state drives.

    Now imagine you have 50 servers running and each of them needs a "few giga-bytes"......is it right that I should be throwing money and hard drive space at an issue that is caused by an ever growing folder or perhaps the creator of such a folder should come up with a utility for us to at least try to maintain it?

    Thursday, June 03, 2010 6:31 AM
  • Regardless if storage is cheap the real way to brag about your design is to use as little space as possible. The more links and junctions in some folder other than the system folder would just make my think things are not being accessed directly and all you have left is a bigger and slower pachyderm. Two system folders instead of one doesn't make sense to me. If small hard disk drives were made the way they make bigger drives are today because of there smaller size you would have faster data access.

    Thursday, June 03, 2010 6:47 PM
  • We're not talking about home computers here, this issue with WinSXS affects critical servers and unless you work for some rich company that doesn't care about how you spend money, a "few giga-bytes" is worth a lot a money for server based disks on complicated RAID arrays or SANs, not to mention solid-state drives.

    Now imagine you have 50 servers running and each of them needs a "few giga-bytes"......is it right that I should be throwing money and hard drive space at an issue that is caused by an ever growing folder or perhaps the creator of such a folder should come up with a utility for us to at least try to maintain it?

    Hi Jason

    I do understand what you are saying and the frustration you are experiencing.

    However, these are technical support forums and what we do here is try to explain the way Windows works, in the confines of how it was designed and developed.

    If something is  not  working the way it was designed we can usually help, but if something  is  working exactly the way it was designed, there is not much we can do?

    Will there be a utility to 'clean up' the WinSxS folder?
    Will this folder be redesigned in the future?

    These are questions that we cannot answer and are beyond the scope of this forum.

    If you really want this design to be changed, you can let Microsoft know about your feelings using the following form. Your feedback will be seen by the people who actually design the OS.

    Windows 7 feedback - Speak to us at Microsoft

    You could also post your questions in the developer forums, maybe someone there can do a better job of explaining the 'why' about this subject.

    Regards,

    Thank You for using Windows 7


    Ronnie Vernon MVP
    Friday, June 04, 2010 2:11 AM
  • We're not talking about home computers here, this issue with WinSXS affects critical servers and unless you work for some rich company that doesn't care about how you spend money, a "few giga-bytes" is worth a lot a money for server based disks on complicated RAID arrays or SANs, not to mention solid-state drives.

    Now imagine you have 50 servers running and each of them needs a "few giga-bytes"......is it right that I should be throwing money and hard drive space at an issue that is caused by an ever growing folder or perhaps the creator of such a folder should come up with a utility for us to at least try to maintain it?

    Hi Jason

    I do understand what you are saying and the frustration you are experiencing.

    However, these are technical support forums and what we do here is try to explain the way Windows works, in the confines of how it was designed and developed.

    If something is  not  working the way it was designed we can usually help, but if something  is  working exactly the way it was designed, there is not much we can do?

    Will there be a utility to 'clean up' the WinSxS folder?
    Will this folder be redesigned in the future?

    These are questions that we cannot answer and are beyond the scope of this forum.

    If you really want this design to be changed, you can let Microsoft know about your feelings using the following form. Your feedback will be seen by the people who actually design the OS.

    Windows 7 feedback - Speak to us at Microsoft

    You could also post your questions in the developer forums, maybe someone there can do a better job of explaining the 'why' about this subject.

    Regards,

    Thank You for using Windows 7


    Ronnie Vernon MVP


    As much as I hate to say it, as my problem still exists, this is a very fair answer and I will try to pursue other avenues.

    Thanks Ronnie.

    Tuesday, June 15, 2010 6:02 AM
  • However, trying to continually enumerate all of this information and then convince an installation, or utility program that the reported free space on the drive is just an illusion would be next to impossible.

    If something is  not   working the way it was designed we can usually help, but if something  is   working exactly the way it was designed, there is not much we can do?

    Ronnie,

    As Jason said, you have given the best answer someone in your position can give, but I felt it necessary to make something clear.  If I have 60GB free on a Linux (ext3) filesystem, and I create a hardlink of a 12GB file, the OS will still report 60GB free after making the hardlink.  The point being, if the way things work (hardlinks being treated as though they consume space) is the way they were designed, it's simply poor design.  Or at least, poor implementation for misusing the design.

    Edit:

    Now I'm confused.  I manually created a hardlink with mklink /h and it didn't subtract from the available space on the drive.

    Monday, June 28, 2010 3:52 AM
  • I have been looking of information on this topic for awhile and would like to thank the moderator for providing more information in one place than i could find anywhere else. I would like some clarification though. I am still not quite sure how windows 7 us using this component architecture and how different options and tools in the operating system relate to it. for example does turning a windows feature off in programs and features have any effect on the associated files/hardlinks in the winsxs folder. it looks like there are alot of things in this folder that I cant see anyone needing for example the winsxs has a directory "search-ms:displayname=Search%20Results%20in%20winsxs&crumb=location:C%3A%5CWindows%5Cwinsxs\amd64_microsoft-windows-p..g-xpsdocumentwriter_31bf3856ad364e35_6.1.7600.16385_none_7ecd90917cb75058" can this directory be gotten rid of by unchecking the related xps document writing fields in the windwows features management. it would seem that while the base problem still exist that if some of the references in this folder could be eliminated in this way than it might be a somewhat more manageable issue. maybe i have missed something i will have to play around some more with it to see what i can come up with.
    Thursday, July 08, 2010 7:26 AM
  • WINSXS is like a  Chia Pet. Mine stareted around 3gb and it's up to 10!
    Thursday, July 08, 2010 7:55 AM
  • I have been looking of information on this topic for awhile and would like to thank the moderator for providing more information in one place than i could find anywhere else. I would like some clarification though. I am still not quite sure how windows 7 us using this component architecture and how different options and tools in the operating system relate to it. for example does turning a windows feature off in programs and features have any effect on the associated files/hardlinks in the winsxs folder. it looks like there are alot of things in this folder that I cant see anyone needing for example the winsxs has a directory "search-ms:displayname=Search%20Results%20in%20winsxs&crumb=location:C%3A%5CWindows%5Cwinsxs\amd64_microsoft-windows-p..g-xpsdocumentwriter_31bf3856ad364e35_6.1.7600.16385_none_7ecd90917cb75058" can this directory be gotten rid of by unchecking the related xps document writing fields in the windwows features management. it would seem that while the base problem still exist that if some of the references in this folder could be eliminated in this way than it might be a somewhat more manageable issue. maybe i have missed something i will have to play around some more with it to see what i can come up with.

    Hi Aerilus

    The problem with attempting to trim the size of the WinSxS folder down is that most of the files, manifests and assemblies in that folder are relatively small. You would need to remove many thousands of files before you would see any reduction in the overall size.

    Every program and utility in the 'Turn Windows features on or off' component use the files from the WinSxS folder to install. Some are hard linked and others are copied.

    The WinSxs folder also contains the entire installation for Windows 7. This means that it contains all of the driver store from the installation disk. Hardware and software manufacturers depend on that driver store being available when their products or devices are installed.

    When you run SFC /SCANNOW to check for and replace corrupted system files, any corrupted files are replaced from the WinSxS store.

    We have seen several developers who have tried to create batch files or utilities to remove components from the folder and one thing they discovered was that what worked for one system did not work for other systems because of the differences in hardware and installed software. The other thing that was discovered was that there was no way to predict which components would be needed when particular devices or programs were installed at a later date.

    Regards,

    Thank You for using Windows 7


    Ronnie Vernon MVP
    Thursday, July 08, 2010 12:13 PM
  • "We have seen several developers who have tried to create batch files or utilities to remove components from the folder and one thing they discovered was that what worked for one system did not work for other systems because of the differences in hardware and installed software. The other thing that was discovered was that there was no way to predict which components would be needed when particular devices or programs were installed at a later date."

    So the problem here is clear, the design is poor, not even the people that came up with this "beast" have the power to control it, shame, the spented money on their salaries should be retrived, at least for this "winsuxxxxx" peace of, hummmm "awsome" code/design.

    Thanks MS, for a non free OS a was specting a little more.

    Sunday, August 01, 2010 1:57 AM
  • How come Windows XP doesn't have winsuxs but it's faster and takes less disk space? It seems the only ones who acquire win 7 are new computer purchasers and this accounts for the record sales especially since hardware sales of all kinds are up and because no one in there right mind would waste the time and money to migrate from XP.
    Sunday, August 01, 2010 7:51 AM
  • Perhaps the foundation analogy is not perfect, but I have been trying to come up with a simple description for this subject for more than 3 years and the "describe the winsxs folder and what it does, in 10 words or less" still eludes me. However, I will keep trying. :)

    Hi Ronnie,

    I thought about this for a while, and came to this conclusion. You are right, foundation is a less than accurate analogy.

    I came up with this. Possibly a bit harsh, but here goes anyway (please don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to have a go at you. I just don't agree at all with the way that winsxs is designed to work)

    Compulsive Hoarding:

    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compulsive_hoarding)

    "Compulsive hoarding (or pathological hoarding or disposophobia) is the excessive acquisition of possessions  (and failure to use or discard them), even if the items are worthless, hazardous, or unsanitary. Compulsive hoarding impairs mobility and interferes with basic activities....."

    winsxs to increase flexibility and useability by keeping copies (or hard links, whatever they are) to different versions of dll's etc, so that everything works and is easily in reach. But there is no mechanisim for cleanup after these are no longer necessary, ie... it's too scared to do a bit of spring cleaning.

    In the end, you have a massive archive of files (or hard links) that create clutter, and no mechanisim of cleanup. Everything is kept "just in case". In the end you have so much clutter that it stops you from performing normal useful tasks.

    Back in the real world.. this is my problem. I have a laptop with 176gb of disk. I have gone in and deleted everything i can (unused programs, disk cleanup, defrag, and moved photos etc. to network storage - which took ages) Unfortunatley im about 10gb short and that damn winsxs folder is staring at me taking up 13gb. There are other programs and files i can ferry around or re-download, but its a pain in the neck.

    So now my option is to use my network storage, but the data rate is much slower... Back to the analogy, I don't think that the solution to clutter around the house is to buy a second home down the street and live between them.

     

    Kind Regards,

    Alex

     

    Monday, September 13, 2010 2:39 PM
  • I fail to see how the WinSXS folder is using hardlinks to save space. Using VirtualPC, I have two Vista VMs. One has a WinSXS folder of roughly 3GB, and the other is 6GB (Which is confusing in itself, seeing as how both of these are brand-new installations of Vista on identical virtual hardware). This size discrepancy is also reflected in the size of the VHDs, which we are trying to get as small as possible to reduce file copy times over a relatively slow network.

    This issue has also plagued me elsewhere, where on an image of Windows 7, with little more than Office and Photoshop installed, the WinSXS folder has taken up nearly 13 GB of space.

    WinSXS seems to be a very unpredictable. While it may be a stable system that allows for the upmost expandability, it comes at a cost, which in my opinion, is not worth the gains. The VMs I am working on will not be seeing new software, they do not need that expandibility. Servers, in general, will not be seeing new software much either. Therefore, this is largely a waste for both of these situations.

    WinSXS needs to be reorganized, at minimum, so that it is possible to determine what program needs what version of any specific resource, so that we may know if any particular resource can be deleted or not. Correct me if I'm wrong, but if we delete an unused resource, wouldn't any application that needed that resource in the future be able to reinstall it, save for applications bundled within windows itself that have no other copy of said resource?

    Wednesday, September 15, 2010 10:45 PM
  • OK. I waded through this and reaffirmed what I already knew.

     

    And what did I already know? I know that Microsoft is populated by a seriously large number of seriously poor software engineers for whom all notions of design elegance and/or efficacy are deposited in the trash can on employment day 1, along with the abstraction abilities necessary to consider and engineer for resource limited environments (the primary resource being $$$).

    As some have pointed out, a multi-TB SAN of SAS disks is a non-trivial expense and SSD based solutions are not cheap either. Microsoft engineering has no need to care - they have essentially unlimited $$$ and can buy hardware whenever it is required (read: forced) by their inept software engineering.  We in the real world of budgets, corporate accountability and fiduciary responsibility to our shareholders rarely have such a luxury.

    The WinSxS directory debacle is one of a very long list where users who actually paid for this ____, are held hostage to software engineering that is an embarrassment to the term.

    For my part, my portable device is now incapable of operation and the hard disk will shortly be scratched and the Windows partition is going the way of the dodo, replaced by a less brain-dead alternative. I do not have a choice, something I have paid for no longer performs because it was designed by incompetents. Where can I get my money back? I can't and the billion dollar Bill gets richer at our expense - as do disk suppliers and chip manufacturers whose business model directly feeds on MSs poor engineering practices, as we are continually are forced to upgrade for no additional utility.

    But what amazes me is how often people appear as apologists for this situation! Forums such as this are full of individuals providing zero information to solve the issue (and I am included in this list), while simultaneously stroking themselves and giving long winded explanations of what WinSxs is for and/or why WinSxS is such a wonderful thing (it isn't), scupulously failing to notice that the situation is just a classic example of extraordinarily bad software engineering piled on top of previously egregious examples of same deserving of our contempt and nothing less.

     

    The chances of MS ever fixing this in any reasonable timeframe are essentially zero.

    And if y'all think the WinSxS issue is an expensive annoyance, here is my real-world example of something an order of magnitude worse from another MS engineering department.

    I have a 1.4TB SAN (SAS FC4) logical disk which currently has active & inacceesible SQLServer files (450GB +) that cannot be referenced, resized or deleted. Despite the bug that cause this situation being known for half a decade, it has never been fixed by MS (though in fairness they claim it will be fixed in 2011 - but this is in MS development schedule time, not calendar time). We are very likely going to be forced to buy a very expensive SAN rack and a swag of extra connection equipment to keep my 24*7 corporate databases afloat - a non-trivial expense and I cannot see MS picking up the tab for this exercise any time soon.

     

    Good luck to you all, and may the clueless MS apologists rot in ____ - their sycophantism is part of the problem not part of the solution.

     

    p

     

     

    Friday, September 17, 2010 5:25 PM
  • Philip, well said. Could not have said better myself. This particular problem with winsxs is still a problem as of now and it will be I beleive till the end of life for Win7 (and 2008 R2) after which it probably will not be a problem anymore as everyone will learn that something like 100GB for System partition is a must and 'normal' (however stupid the design itself might be) and concentrate on some other problem which undoubtedly will arise in the next MS OS.

    I just wanted to add that poor quality design and sloppy implementations are not the property of Microsoft only (while honestly I beleive it was significantly 'promoted' by Microsoft first). Almost all the software with RARE exceptions these days demonstrate some real stupid design and quality issues, not just OS and not just from MS. Its just like corporations today prefer to hire and promote lazy and incompentent programmers and software engineers and those who are competent are forced to pretend to be imbeciles to avoid being fired. Are they taking examples of US Auto industry?

    Myself working with various OS and software packages I should say I damn the stupid issues with Micorsoft and its unwelcome automations sometimes but then after working with bunch of Linux installatiions I start longing for Windows convenience and feel that I'd rather buy additional memory and disk and let them work for me on Windows than keep screwing my head over the simplest tasks on Linux and wasting my time on doing repetitive mechanical tasks that would take two mouse moves on Windows. Not to mention memorizing a pile of meaningless Command line statements or creating scripts to do everyday standard tasks. Similar for Apple - great system for personal use and games but try to use it as part of corporate network and the Windows may start looking more appealing. Or would you try to use Adobe Connect1 server? Based on ColdFusion? Talking about stupid. Any time someting is wrong (which is plenty) you need to go and manualy mess with xml coding. IIS looks like a treat after that.

    But thats the reality. Nothing we can do about it except having forums like this and find some workarounds and fixes. Apparenly there is none for the one addressed by this thread. Except as have larger drives. Really larger.

    I am trying to stick with WinXP and Win2003R2 as much as I can for now. Those I think are the best OS produced by MS so far. But using Win7 and 2008R2 is inevitable with all their quirks and still maybe better than alternative OS in the end. I just careful to devote at least 60GB to system.

    Thursday, November 04, 2010 3:32 AM
  • It's incredible the way wiwnsxs has replaced the conventiol interpreter. What you have is a multi level of iconic representation and more interpretation from the procesor which will slow down perforrmance but adds a more complex and interestsing folder display. I will sacrifice the sxs folder representatioins for disk space and pewrformance.

    Thursday, November 04, 2010 7:30 AM
  • However, trying to continually enumerate all of this information and then convince an installation, or utility program that the reported free space on the drive is just an illusion would be next to impossible.

    If something is  not   working the way it was designed we can usually help, but if something  is   working exactly the way it was designed, there is not much we can do?

    Ronnie,

    As Jason said, you have given the best answer someone in your position can give, but I felt it necessary to make something clear.  If I have 60GB free on a Linux (ext3) filesystem, and I create a hardlink of a 12GB file, the OS will still report 60GB free after making the hardlink.  The point being, if the way things work (hardlinks being treated as though they consume space) is the way they were designed, it's simply poor design.  Or at least, poor implementation for misusing the design.

    Edit:

    Now I'm confused.  I manually created a hardlink with mklink /h and it didn't subtract from the available space on the drive.


    Hi Ronnie, hi alphaniner,

    I've seen the same issue, for me the hardlinks are not consuming space.

    Therefore I've checked my winsxs folder for hardlinks to get a overview about the situation and was pretty surpised to see the output:

     

    a:\folder> Hardlink_Scanner_2008-10-31_x64.exe C:\Windows\winsxs
    Scanning directories and files.....
    
    Summary of Directories
    ======================
    
    Directories scanned:
     C:\Windows\winsxs
    
    Attributes: Files    Directories
     <total>   43.116    10.867
     Normal   43.116 (100%)  10.867 (100%)
     Symlink    0 ( 0%)   0 ( 0%)
     Reparse    0 ( 0%)   0 ( 0%)
     Skipped    0 ( 0%)   0 ( 0%)
    
    Hardlinks: Files    Unique Files
     <total>   43.116    42.218 ( 97%)
     1    21.863 ( 50%)  21.863 ( 51%)
     2    19.948 ( 46%)  19.845 ( 47%)
     3     296 ( 0%)   211 ( 0%)
     4     418 ( 0%)   190 ( 0%)
     5     144 ( 0%)   42 ( 0%)
     6     152 ( 0%)   32 ( 0%)
     7     42 ( 0%)   6 ( 0%)
     8     44 ( 0%)   8 ( 0%)
     10     35 ( 0%)   5 ( 0%)
     12     66 ( 0%)   6 ( 0%)
     13     13 ( 0%)   1 ( 0%)
     14     53 ( 0%)   5 ( 0%)
     16     16 ( 0%)   2 ( 0%)
     26     26 ( 0%)   2 ( 0%)
    
    Naive file size:   7.437.826.565
    Unique file size:  7.270.339.497 ( 97%)
    Difference:    167.487.068 ( 2%)

     

    Only 898 file are links.

    I don't know how much there are on your systems. I thought there is a link problem here but if I got that correct my win7 installation produced a 7 GB winsxs folder without taking the links in account.

    Seeing this I'm already with one foot on the 'not acceptable' train riding through this thread.

    I've seen tools for vista (never had a chance to test them on vista) which are designed to scan the winsxs folder for multiple versions of a file and replacing them by symlinks to the newest. The usage was pretty messed up though since the security settings of the folder. I'd set up a win 2k8 vm which was 89% full after installing putty and WinSCP in addition to windows, so I decided to try the script against the win2k8 winsxs but wasn't successful (I think it was called winsxslite).

    Normally I'm not the kind of guy who spends many thought of disk space (might be due to the overall space of 10,5 TB available on my main server) but I've the system disk running on a ssd which has "only" a capacity of 120GB and every gb wasted hurts inside. ;)

    Has anybody a case open with Microsoft that might produce a solution to the problem in a forseeable future?

    cheers

    Monday, November 08, 2010 11:00 PM
  • I know one thing, after spending Hours and Hours of reading and listening to this circle spasm, I can't wait until A Target Worm comes in to say HELLO 55 Yr Olds and Older at Microsloft! How You Doin! How bout that stability? How bout I penetrate One Single directory and Im a thunderstorm Shakey Shakey all over the WINSXS Parking Lot as Pink Cars get bashed in with little girls using Pink Cell Phones with not a Care in the world whose Vehicle gets Smashed in next. Swoooosh Flip Bam Whoops there goes my Cell phone through the windshield. Shakey Shakey !
    Wednesday, November 17, 2010 2:57 AM
  • i wont salutation OK !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Hossam elgohary
    Wednesday, December 08, 2010 1:01 AM
  • the solution is simply. DON'T touch it.

    "A programmer is just a tool which converts caffeine into code" CLIP- Stellvertreter http://www.winvistaside.de/
    Wednesday, December 08, 2010 3:29 PM
  • Hello,

    Can you download Disk Usage tool from the Sysinternals site?
    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb545046.aspx
    Drop into a  c:\tools folder
    then run it twice:
    C:\Tools>du /v /u c:\ >Files_Unique.txt
    C:\Tools>du /v c:\ >Files.txt
    Can you make the files available for download?

    Now you can look at these in Excel to compare the folder sizes.

    The unique files shows sizes of the files just once, this should also work though most permissions


    Thanks, Darrell Gorter This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights. VAMT - Volume Activation Management Tool - Download link http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=ec7156d2-2864-49ee-bfcb-777b898ad582&displaylang=en
    Wednesday, December 08, 2010 7:50 PM
  • So as I sit here facing 3 GB left of a 36 GB hard drive (due to the WINSXS folder taking up 15 GB), infuriated by Microsoft's flawed design, I now face a crossroads... Buy a bigger hard drive to suffice this folder's gluttonous behavior, or revert back to Win XP. Yeah I said it.... Win XP.

    Either way I have to wipe the OS and one of these options costs me more money. Is Windows 7 worth buying a new hard drive for? I just don't know...

    Thank you Microsoft -- your ineptness in this development decision quantifies every negative comment I've ever said about you.

    Thursday, December 16, 2010 7:08 AM
  • So as I sit here facing 3 GB left of a 36 GB hard drive (due to the WINSXS folder taking up 15 GB), infuriated by Microsoft's flawed design, I now face a crossroads... Buy a bigger hard drive to suffice this folder's gluttonous behavior, or revert back to Win XP. Yeah I said it.... Win XP.

    Either way I have to wipe the OS and one of these options costs me more money. Is Windows 7 worth buying a new hard drive for? I just don't know...

    Thank you Microsoft -- your ineptness in this development decision quantifies every negative comment I've ever said about you.

    I've struggled with this issue for 6 months now....ever since Win 7 was installed on my tablet.  My only 'real' alternative is to put back XP Pro or wait for the next version? This is ridiculous. 
    Friday, December 17, 2010 12:11 AM
  • Darrell,

    I ran the Disk Usage tool as you suggested.  Here are the results and I would like to hear from more people as to their results.  Something to note is if you open these output files in Notepad and go to the bottom, you can see these results very quickly for most PCs as the WINSXS folder is the last one listed.

    Files: 7,603,013  c:\Windows\winsxs
    65,607,007 c:\
    Size on disk: 67,115,804,075 bytes

    Unique Files: 2,798,996  c:\Windows\winsxs
    60,630,480 c:\
    Size on disk: 62,019,840,568 bytes

    From the local disk properties for my C: drive (right click on the C: drive from Windows Explorer and select Properties):

    65,855,086,016 Bytes, 61.3GB

    This tells me a few things.  First, out of 7.6G of listed files in WINSXS, 5G are actually hard links.  Second, bytes don't match up.  But we do have enough of a correlation between the "Files" size (not "Unique Files" size) taken on the c:\ drive and the actual local disk properties listed.  Third, the point made all along still stands:  Windows tells us that the hard drive is full when it is not.  In my case, the difference is 5G between reality and what Windows is reporting as reality.

    I understand this is "by design", but I want to switch to a 30G SSD for the C: drive.  I can redirect a lot of folders (documents, music, etc) to save space.  I can move the swap file to save space.  But Windows is saying I have 5G more than what I really have and that is 1/6 of the total SSD and will just get worse.  Windows 7 made great strides in being SSD friendly.  Unless I am missing something, this is being SSD unfriendly.  Of course, in 5 years when the prices have dropped dramatically and everyone owns 500G+ SSDs, this will all be water under the bridge.  But for now, it's flooding the bridge.

    Tuesday, February 01, 2011 6:24 PM

  • Results of running du on my Windows 7 x64 Ultimate system (converted all KB's to Bytes by multiplying by 1024)

    C:\Tools>du /v /u c:\ >Files_Unique.txt

     2,669,853 KB    c:\Windows\winsxs
    2,733,929,472 Bytes


    37,344,727 KB    c:\
    38,241,000,448 Bytes

     

    C:\Tools>du /v c:\ >Files.txt

     7,492,603 KB   c:\Windows\winsxs
    7,672,425,472  Bytes

    42,331,099 KB           c:\
    43,347,045,376 Bytes


    We must add the page file size (pagefile.sys) to both the results above since it is not included but it is included in the explorer properties used

    space.

    I have a 1024MB page file specified, which is 1,073,741,824 Bytes


    Used space from C: drive propertes in explorer.


    39,230,926,848 Bytes  C:\


    When I add the page file to the unique results from above, I get


    38,241,000,448 Bytes  Unique files
     1,073,741,824 Bytes   Page file      + 
    ____________________
    39,314,742,272 Bytes

    You can see that the results from the unique file determination plus the page file appoximately equals the used space shown by the disk (C:)
    properties in explorer.

    Bottom line, the majority of the Winsxs, which are hard links, is not part of the used space total as shown by the disk properties, hence not
    responsible for filling up the c: drive.

     

     

    Tuesday, February 01, 2011 7:52 PM
  • Hello,

    A couple  blogs to read on this blog on NTFS misreports Free Space?

    http://blogs.msdn.com/b/ntdebugging/archive/2008/07/03/ntfs-misreports-free-space.aspx

    Also this Blog post on Why doesn't Explorer show recursive directory sizes as an optional column?

    http://blogs.msdn.com/b/oldnewthing/archive/2007/10/29/5750353.aspx


    Thanks, Darrell Gorter This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights. VAMT - Volume Activation Management Tool - Download link http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=ec7156d2-2864-49ee-bfcb-777b898ad582&displaylang=en
    Friday, February 04, 2011 2:10 AM
  • Wow, long discussion about hardlinks and winsxs. Anyway here are some summarized points of what I understood about how all of it works.

    To start by answering the OP's question with the perfect answer posted above by Andre.Ziegler, you don't touch winsxs. Maybe some of the files can be trimmed like the mp3's, avi's, etc but the rest of the system files should be left alone. I too am using Link Shell Extension as posted above by Ronnie Vernon, easy way to see which are hard linked (red arrow) and which are simple files.

    Before getting here I saw in a lot of places people asking for the cleanup tool after installing SP1 for Windows 7 like vsp1cln. There is no dedicated tool, it all got integrated into the Disk Cleanup service. One note that I would make here is that even if the option says it will remove a few hundreds of MB after I cleaned up my drive the service removed around 3GB of excess files, so it varies from system to system. Funny, now I have even more space than I had before installing SP1. Nice one, MS.

    Regarding the hard links, I got amused by the confusion created around them. I'm not a linux geek, and I usually use only soft links... they're enough for me, but people didn't get how the hard ones work and how size is counted.

    A group of selected files, links or not, will always be counted as a sum. This means that if I take a 10MB file, and make 2 hard links, the selection of all three of them will have 30MB and this is the correct size, because unlike the soft links which are related to the file's original Master File Table entry and have 0 bytes, hard links are related to the data itself, have their own entry in MFT but point to the same data address, obviously having as size the size of the actual data, same times, attributes and so on. Why, below.

    How much is left on the drive? Simple: exactly as much as the drive's own properties reports. Don't go selecting all the files, hidden and non hidden on C and making comparisons, or using tools that do that automatically because it won't show the actual HDD usage. Why? Because:
    1. that operation makes a list of all the selected files including hard links as separate files, takes each of them and adds the sizes up, the drives properties counts the actual stored data
    2. not all the files will be counted, folders protected from traversing and files from reading will not be counted and the System Volume Information usually has very large files protected just in this manner
    3. that number is useful only in cases of file transfer, if the files, links, etc need to be copied to DVD or NAS, that's how much they would occupy, and the links will not be preserved since they are NTFS specific features, not available or available in different forms under ISO, UDF, NFS and other file systems, but they will be cloned.

    Make a test... copy a 10MB file, a.exe, from a different drive and notice how the free space drops by the 10MB. Make a hard link (mklink /H b.exe a.exe). Now these two files selected will "use" 20MB in the selection properties, but actually only 10MB verified at the drive's properties, which will have the same free space as it did/does after the file copy. Delete one, either one, the free space will remain the same. Now delete the last one and the space will increase by 10MB. Was there any harm done? NO.

    What is winsxs? A much better dllcache. Where with the dllcache in XP we had copies of files that actually added to the size usage since they were cloned, this actually improves usage but not total protection (against viruses). If a rogue uninstaller thinks it has to remove some runtime libs from System32, it would only delete the links, but not the data, then the links would be recreated while keeping data space usage at lowest possible, better than archiving winsxs in cabs and having the cabs along side the original files. Also winsxs bring serialization, compartmentalizing files with the same name but different version, for the dev's sake, which is a good thing / bad thing, it makes them lazy to code properly but it helps when they don't want to code anymore.

    I did this to help anyone that lands here out of the same reasons I did... excessive "usage of space" by winsxs after SP1. And I hope it was helpful.



    Friday, March 25, 2011 4:40 PM
  • Hi,

    I just gained about 3 GB from 9.3 GB by using this method:

    After the installation of Windows 7 Service Pack 1 you can decrease like you can in Windows Vista the used diskspace of WinSxS folder.

    Open the prompt with administration-rights and type in the following :

    DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-Image /spsuperseded


    Thus you remove all RTM files, which were replaced by Sp1.

    This method I read here:

    http://www.winvistaside.de/forum/index.php?showtopic=3423

    • Proposed as answer by Br33zer Tuesday, May 15, 2012 1:22 AM
    Friday, March 25, 2011 8:02 PM
  • Wow, long discussion about hardlinks and winsxs. Anyway here are some summarized points of what I understood about how all of it works.

    Hi jayy78

    That is an excellent summary of what hard links and the Winsxs folder is all about.

    Thanks for posting this information.

    Regards,

     


    Ronnie Vernon MVP – Windows Desktop Experience
    Friday, March 25, 2011 8:07 PM
  • Hi,

    I just gained about 3 GB from 9.3 GB by using this method:

    After the installation of Windows 7 Service Pack 1 you can decrease like you can in Windows Vista the used diskspace of WinSxS folder.

    Open the prompt with administration-rights and type in the following :

    DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-Image /spsuperseded


    Thus you remove all RTM files, which were replaced by Sp1.

    This method I read here:

    http://www.winvistaside.de/forum/index.php?showtopic=3423


    Hi

    This is no longer needed since the RTM of SP1 has been released.

    You can simply use the Disk Cleanup feature to remove all of files that were replaced with SP1.

    In Disk Cleanup, you can select the Cleanup System Files button or open disk cleanup with administrator privileges and you will see a new item called Service Pack Backup Files.

    Description: Windows saves old versions of files which have been updated by a Service Pack. If you delete the files, you won't be able to uninstall the Service Pack later.

    You do need to be prudent, and make sure there are no issues with the SP1 update before using this option, if there are any problems with the service pack, you may need to reinstall the entire OS to recover.

    Regards,


    Ronnie Vernon MVP – Windows Desktop Experience
    Friday, March 25, 2011 10:08 PM
  • I sure do hope they fix this with Windows 8 this is really a problem with SSDs.... If not that I hope the capacity of SSDs goes way up and the price goes way down because then it won't matter.
    Friday, June 03, 2011 2:32 AM
  • Hi,

    I just gained about 3 GB from 9.3 GB by using this method:

    After the installation of Windows 7 Service Pack 1 you can decrease like you can in Windows Vista the used diskspace of WinSxS folder.

    Open the prompt with administration-rights and type in the following :

    DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-Image /spsuperseded


    Thus you remove all RTM files, which were replaced by Sp1.

    This method I read here:

    http://www.winvistaside.de/forum/index.php?showtopic=3423


    Hi

    This is no longer needed since the RTM of SP1 has been released.

    You can simply use the Disk Cleanup feature to remove all of files that were replaced with SP1.

    In Disk Cleanup, you can select the Cleanup System Files button or open disk cleanup with administrator privileges and you will see a new item called Service Pack Backup Files.

    Description: Windows saves old versions of files which have been updated by a Service Pack. If you delete the files, you won't be able to uninstall the Service Pack later.

    You do need to be prudent, and make sure there are no issues with the SP1 update before using this option, if there are any problems with the service pack, you may need to reinstall the entire OS to recover.

    Regards,


    Ronnie Vernon MVP – Windows Desktop Experience
    Thank you for this it actually freed up a few GB for me :)
    Friday, June 03, 2011 2:50 AM
  • Why can't the Winsxs be a Database file pointing to the locations instead of the way its set up?  This would save a lot of space and free up the issue that everyone is having by this folder taking up massive space.  My Winsxs folder size is 6.3 GB.  This leaves me at 2.4GB of 25GB free for my Operating system.

    I can see the point of 2 files located in this folder that take up space:Example

    1 Settings for a single program

    2 Settings of the same object needed for a different program (upgraded version)

    When I see 4 Files that are Hard Linked to the same file multiple times kinda defeats the purpose to save space because its taking up 3 times the file size to occupy these Hard links.   This is supposedly what the winsxslite does on cleaning up the files, but it does not seem to link the other 3 to the main File it kept, which makes me feel like a database would have been a better choice for this Folder design than what MS has come up with.

    Wednesday, September 07, 2011 2:55 PM
  • Hello,

    That is all a hard link is, a pointer in the MFT which is used to identify the location of the files on the disk.

    Folders are not containers, they are simply a way to identify groups of files, they don't actually contain the files.  The same file can exist in two separate folders, but that doesn't mean it doubles the space occupied.

    Most of the space you are seeing occupied in winsxs, is simply a replica of links of the files that are in Windows, Program Files and ithieir subfolders.

    Use DU from sysinternals with the unique switch to check the size.


    Thanks, Darrell Gorter [MSFT] This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights. VAMT - Volume Activation Management Tool - Download link http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=ec7156d2-2864-49ee-bfcb-777b898ad582&displaylang=en
    Wednesday, September 07, 2011 5:26 PM
  • I'm using win 7 since february, have problems with keeping restore point, with keeping the size of the windows folder decent, I made 5 reistall of win 7, and of other 50 programs that I use.

    I'm soo pissed off reinstalling everything, and knowing I will have to reinstall everything another time, and more

     

    that

    I GO BACK TO XINDOWS XP!!

     

    Somebody should do something!

    I spent soo much time on win 7 you can't imagine. And for what? for the aero?

    I spent time getting back the quick launch, to get rid off the new toolbar in explorer, and everytime I have to do these things again.

    Win 7 even doesn't give the possibility to see the size of folders in the size column.

    I have a hard time organizing my 8 terybytes of files with this OS.

    I have the home edition, should I suppose the professional, is really professional?

     

    And about your technical support forum, cudn't you give a feedback to developement department, or the one that "takes care" about the OS functions and functionality.

     

    I'm soo pissed off, did disk clean, I saved 4 gigabytes. Still folder C is almost full, the win sxs folder is only 8 gigabyte, just after the reinstall of the OS.

    I don't want to image what happens if I use it for one year with the 150 programs I have on my old laptop.

     

    I am soo pissed off of working on the pc only for the os. It's incredible!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    What can I do?

    I won't pay you again!

     

    Friday, September 09, 2011 1:19 AM
  • I dont know what is going on, they tell me not to believe my eyes, so i used a cluster inspection methodology, and indeed i cannot believe my eyes :-)  It s HUGE.   i start looking at the some 70THOUSAND files in there, my gawd where did  they all come from even.

    (check out Ronnies post for varifications, it says 70k files there not hard linked Right?)

     I have a real licence for the operating system, i got a DVD , it HAS them files on it for installing the stuff i never will install anyways.
    I have a Real honest DVD for re-installing the operating system from that dvd, WHY do i need the whole thing also there?   Why would MS want to assist People who dont have a DVD to reinstall?
    it isnt going to work most of the time anyways, HAL (space idocy 2001) will NOT be able to repair hisself when he is broken, that is why humans exist :-)

    I use my own backup methods, my XP backup started at ~1gig compressed image file, the win7 started at ~4gig compressed image file, it is now at 7.
    it seems that re-instalation and updates of programs causes exponential growth?

    We got some people worried about thier 30g, let me tell you I meticulously install my programs and backup my system myself, system restore has never really fixed a whole large problem.
    For the person who says "whats a few gigs here and there?"
    it is not a FEW gigs, because being a responcible Windows user i have incramental backups of my system, because Stuff doesnt LEAVE windows systems easily.
    I have incramental backups of my system because not only does MS software suck but so does a whole lot of other software, and those are the choices.

    now you start multiplying this VAST size increases , to your backups, because your a responcable computer user, and it adds up to huge pigpiles of stuff fast.
    so i dont want to be hearing about how i can run the MS system off a terrabyte and not worry :-)

    I have a windows XP installation that is the Original instlalation from 10+ years ago.
    there are many reasons for this, it is heck to install all the stuff i paid for, to activate it all, to go through and find updates, and install the myriad of harware that connects to my computer.
    I do not percieve that windows 7 will be able to stay alive and usefull on my system, if this is not somehow controlled.

    If you want to SEE what kind of space is taken up, I didnt even have to think, i just did a Reorder Defrag  placement, and analised the clusters.   Are they going to tell me now that those clusters are not there Either?     Fairy clusters, i have heard of them :-)

    I really need help with a program that does a cleanup of this mess.  I (unlike many others) have a reliable and full backup of the system, I will nto lose anything from Nuking the whole pigpile,
    I have a legit and legal licence of the W7 operating system, i can re-install it and re-run the upgrades.
    I understand that you dont want to hand people "the knowlege of the differecne between good and evil"  because they will shoot themselves in the foot.
    right now
    If i dont shoot myself in the foot , i am going to be at War with this stuff for 10 years.
    it is evil, my simple system backups are (of course) taking 4 times as long and will take ~7 times as long by the time i get all installed.

    windows 7 , when 1 would have worked 7 is better :-)

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011 10:43 AM
  • Surprised to see this issue with winsxs still on-going.

    I've examined a number of threads on the issue, and seen a lot of replies expressing concern over this folder's deletion, however I see equal concern over the amount of space the OS reports it is taking up on SSD drives.

    I've yet to see if anyone has attempted to move the folder, and it's contents, to another drive.  I believe if MS customers with SSD boot drives could simply get it out of their root and on another drive it would provide a temporary, albeit incomplete, solution.

    Eventually, the size of the folder must begin to plateau, and I can't imagine it filling up a 1TB hard disk.  Frankly, even if it gets to an annoying size on another disk, it will still be less of an issue than the slow stranglehold it has on a small SSD.

    I'm going to look into this personally next week, but if anyone else comes up with any helpful tips before then, please let me know.

    I'm aware that altering the registry and the system root has it's risks, but frankly if you kill something that is inevitably suffocating slowly, isn't that considered a mercy kill?  =D

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011 7:31 PM
  • I didn't find your post helpful, Ronnie.  To the contrary, it sounded to me like you're basically saying, "it's important and it needs all the space it uses, so just quit your whining."  Not very helpful.

    I have way less of an issue with the fact that this stuff is stored, than I do WHERE it is stored.  I don't necessarily want to remove it, but I would definitely like to relocate it off my SSD C drive and onto my much larger HDD D drive, where space is not an issue at all.  Right now Windows is taking up 35 gigs of my 60G SSD boot drive.  12G of that is WinSxs and 12G of it is "Installer", both of which appear to just be cached files.

    The problem I'm now running into is that since WinSXS just keeps growing like a cancer and I can't surgically remove it, it's now killing my system.  I get Windows Phone updates or do a printer installation and there is NO space left on the boot drive for the temp files that are required during installation.  If I manage to free up a gig or two of space by deleting some other files, Winsxs will just eat that up in the next month or so (this has already happened once).  So I'm now having to think up workarounds.  Ridiculous.

    In the end I may just wind up wiping the system and starting over, with my O/S install on my HDD instead of on the SSD.  I really don't see any way around it. 

    Thursday, October 06, 2011 6:57 PM
  • Hi Michael

    Please don't shoot the messenger. :)) I do understand your frustration.

    There have been sporadic reports about 'out of control growth' of the WinSxS folder since this thread was first started over 2 years ago. However, trying to get documentation from the users reporting this issue has been very difficult, in my experience.

    I can only go by what I have personally seen on my own systems. I installed the Windows 7 RTM 64bit on one of my production systems in August 2009. I have installed all updates, including SP1, plus over a hundred different programs, including several SDK's and developer programs (Visual Studio, etc). With regular maintenance, I can easily maintain the system volume at a bit less than 40GB. I keep all of my personal files on a second drive.

    After over 2 years of use, the current size of the WinSxS folder on this system is 6.6GB and this is only 1.6GB larger than the initial 5GB after installing the RTM. The scavenging process seems to be working as designed with deleting older files that are replaced with updated versions.

    Your issue with that folder being so large and still growing is unusual and it may be that a clean install could be beneficial for that system. If you do decide to do this, I would recommend that you monitor the size of the WinSxS folder while you are getting everything installed again.

    Regards

     


    Ronnie Vernon MVP – Windows Desktop Experience
    Thursday, October 06, 2011 11:55 PM
  • Why don't you move the directory to another drive and then make a logical link (soft...? hard...?) pointing to it? Logical links are the source of the problem, maybe they're the solution? Might not help he virtual people, but SSD and 'normal' users might be happy.
    Saturday, October 08, 2011 8:48 AM
  • Here's some real-world data. Win 7 x64. Used for one year.

    All folders in c:\Windows, all unique sizes using du -l 1 -u :

    GB  Folder

    1.76 Assembly

    6.44 Installer

    3.76 System32

    1.24 SysWow64

    6.37 winsxs

    I must say, even in a world of cheap GB's, 19.57 GB is a bit bloated. Particularly when it must replicate across all VM's, across all SSD's, etc etc etc.

     

    Saturday, October 15, 2011 11:21 PM
  • And, happily, a relatively quick follow up!

    Following various links, I discovered the following cleanup command:

           dism /online /cleanup-image /spsuperseded

    I ran it, and my winsxs (ignoring hard links again) reduced from 6.37 GB down to 2.60 GB. That's a win in my book.

    (The other folders had no change other than a tiny effect in System32: 3.76 to 3.75GB.)

    • Proposed as answer by Jayawardhane Tuesday, February 21, 2012 4:29 PM
    Saturday, October 15, 2011 11:54 PM
  • Ran DISM under CMD as Administrator on my Windows 7 64-bit laptop and freed over 6 GB

    Microsoft Windows [Version 6.1.7601]
    Copyright (c) 2009 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.

    C:\Windows\system32>DISM.exe /online /Cleanup-Image /spsuperseded

    Deployment Image Servicing and Management tool
    Version: 6.1.7600.16385

    Image Version: 6.1.7600.16385

    Removing backup files created during service pack installation.
    Removing package Microsoft-Windows-UltimateEdition~31bf3856ad364e35~amd64~~6.1.7
    600.16385
    [==========================100.0%==========================]
    Service Pack Cleanup operation completed.
    The operation completed successfully.

    C:\Windows\system32>exit

    Freed 6GB 02/01/2012

    Jerry 

    Thursday, February 02, 2012 3:23 AM
  • And, happily, a relatively quick follow up!

    Following various links, I discovered the following cleanup command:

           dism /online /cleanup-image /spsuperseded

    I ran it, and my winsxs (ignoring hard links again) reduced from 6.37 GB down to 2.60 GB. That's a win in my book.

    (The other folders had no change other than a tiny effect in System32: 3.76 to 3.75GB.)

    MrPete.H, Awesome suggestion !!!

    I ran command mentioned in your post, it freed up around 7 GB space from winsxs folder, it had grown up to 11GB.

    Thank you so much, much appreciated.

    Very lengthy dicussion, I had to read for about 30 min but in vain. however, I was about give up my hopes on freeing the disk space but your suggestion saved my life ! 


    ~ Knowledge Seeker

    Tuesday, February 21, 2012 4:36 PM
  • Okay maybe some background on the root of the problem would help.

    Windows XP (and Windows 2000) used a fast and great mechanism called Hotfix Installer (Update.exe) to install updates. Updates installed in very little time. If you wanted to further reduce update times on Windows XP, you could just temporarily stop the System Restore service and updates would install at crazy speeds. Note that this is not recommended for novice users who don't know advanced recovery methods, as some updates can sometimes cause your system to stop booting so you cannot even uninstall them. The method the Hotfix Installer used was simple, it just installed a new version of files to be updated at %windir%\system32 and %windir%\system32\dllcache (the Windows File Protection cache). For files that were in use, a restart copied them from dllcache to the system32 folder. This is simple file-based servicing. The hotfix installer (Update.exe) also supported various command line switches like /nobackup which means not to backup files it patches. Again, this is not recommended for novice users as some updates can screw your system even after the comprehensive testing Microsoft does before releasing them. But if you won't be uninstalling any updates (usually one only requires uninstalling updates if they cause problems), you could save a ton of disk space by not backing up the files it patched. The Hotfix Installer backed up files to C:\Windows\$Uninstall$KBxxxxxx folders so even if you did back up the files at install time, they could be safely deleted after a few days if no stability issues were found after using Windows with the newest updates applied. Update.exe also supported the very important and convenient ability to slipstream a service pack or update into the original Windows setup files using the /s switch.    

    .

    When Microsoft was developing Windows Vista, they realized that components had gotten too many interdepencies on each other and to service each file reliably without breaking another component that relied on it, Microsoft introduced what they called as Component Based Servicing (CBS). You can read all about it in a much more technical way at The Servicing Guy's blog. What CBS does basically is it installs all files of the entire operating system, including all languages into C:\Windows\WinSxS and then it hard-links files from there to C:\Windows\system32. This has the benefit of not having to insert the OS disc to add or remove any components, and some other advantages as well like offline servicing of a Windows Vista or Windows 7 image. But the design introduces a major disadvantage of taking up a lot of hard disk space. Whenever an update is installed, it no longer installs it to C:\Windows\system32 and C:\Windows\system32\dllcache like Windows XP's hotfix installer (Update.exe) did. Instead, it updates the files in C:\Windows\WinSxS. Now, Windows keeps multiple copies of the same file but with different version in WinSxS if it is used by more than one Windows component. The higher the number of components, that many number of times the file exists in C:\Windows\WinSxS. When a Windows Vista update (.MSU) is installed, the components get updated, each and every one, instead of the files and the worst part is it still maintains the older superseded previous versions of components in WinSxS so the user would be able to uninstall updates. Microsoft does say that some sort of "scavenging" or deleting older copies of components takes place but is scarce on the details. The scavenging seems to take place automatically at certain intervals in Windows 7 but not in Windows Vista. In Windows Vista, you have to add or remove any Windows component for the scavenging to take place. And Microsoft says the scavenging will free up some disk space but in practice, on my system, I see my free disk space only decreasing on Vista as I remove or add any component. Windows does not give the user an option to not backup the earlier versions of components like Windows XP's /nobackup switch in Hotfix Installer did. As as you install more and more updates on your system, they will take more and more disk space. This is one of the primary reasons Windows Vista and Windows 7 are so bloated. Another reason for them being so bloated is the DriverStore that these OSes store. All drivers that are shipped with the OS and the OEM ones which you download and which are installed for a particular system are staged in C:\Windows\System32\DriverStore. But let's not go there for now.

    .

    Now, an important thing to note is that the size of the WinSxS folder is not what Explorer or the dir command report, it is far less but is misreported by Explorer because it counts the hard links more than once when calculating size. That does not mean, the size of WinSxS is not causing real-world disk space problems on numerous Windows Vista/7 systems in use today. Microsoft's ingenious recommendation to this problem of ever growing disk consumption is to install fewer updates to keep the size of the servicing store under control. Of course, users cannot deny installing security updates and leave their system open to security holes. What they can do is install less optional updates, the ones that Microsoft releases on the fourth Tuesday of every month and also install less of the hotfixes that are available by request from a Knowledge Base article. In short, you have to trade the number of bugs fixed in the OS by installing hotfixes at the cost of enormous amounts of disk space. The whole servicing stack is a total downgrade to Windows XP's update.exe method. It causes heavy disk thrashing and slow logoffs/logons while Windows configures these updates at the Welcome Screen. Many systems are unable to boot because of failed updates. Another disadvantage of the "new" servicing stack (and the redesigned Setup mechanism of Windows Vista) is the inability to do a true slipstream of service packs and hotfixes.
    The time it takes to actually install these hotfixes online compared to Windows XP is also completely unacceptable. When you start installing an MSU update, it spends a lot of time determining whether the update applies to your system. Then, the update itself takes much longer to install compared to Windows XP's Update.exe (hours instead of minutes if you are installing dozens of updates through a script). Finally, that post-installation process ("Configuring updates... Do not turn off your computer") takes several minutes before shut down followed by a second post-installation process (configuration) upon restart before logon that also takes also several minutes and thrashes the disk.

    .

    I can install the entire SP3 for Windows XP in about 10 minutes after downloading the full installer. I can also install a slipstreamed-with-SP3 copy of Windows XP is about 45 minutes on a modern fast PC. In contrast, Windows Vista or Windows 7 do install relatively quickly (in just about 15-20 minutes) on a modern PC but installing the service packs and updates takes more time than anything on XP did. Not only can service packs not be slipstreamed, but Vista Service Packs are not even cumulative, which means if you clean install Windows Vista today, you have to install SP1 first which takes about 90 minutes, then SP2 which takes less time, then all the post-SP2 updates which do take hours to install. If you really HAVE to use Windows 7 or Windows Vista, you are stuck with this slow update non-sense as Microsoft does not even acknowledge that there is any slowdown or loss of functionality in the new servicing mechanism. The fact remains: MSU updates are slow as **** and take too much time and as Windows 7/Vista get older and Microsoft stops producing service packs, a clean install is going to take longer and longer to bring it up-to-date with all patches installed. Is is worth wasting your time on an OS whose servicing mechanism Microsoft completely screwed up? I once again recommend you read more about the servicing stack and how it operates at The Servicing Guy's blog:http://blogs.technet.com/b/joscon/. To fix this messed up servicing stack, Microsoft also offers a tool called CheckSUR for your system if it finds “inconsistencies in the servicing store”.

    .

    Microsoft's Windows Vista and Windows 7 products are not engineered with disk space in mind. It causes a problem, especially for SSDs which are still low capacity and very expensive. The only hope is that Microsoft again completely redesigns this servicing mechanism in a future Windows release so it would not cause this growing disk space consumption issue, speed up installation of updates by an order of magnitude, not slow down logon and logoff, not prevent systems becoming unusable because of failed updates being stuck at a particular stage and allow true slipstreaming.
    Microsoft's response to this is vague - they simply state "Windows 7's servicing is more reliable than Windows XP" but they cannot acknowledge it is a million times slower and still unreliable...slow to the point of being unusable and sometimes leaving systems in an unbootable damaged state. Of course they know all this too but can't admit it since it makes their latest OSes look poor. Moving from a very simple and fast update mechanism that worked to a complex one that requires endless “configuring” and repair through CheckSUR is a product engineering defect.

    Take a look at servicing-related complaints in Microsoft's own forums:

    1. Very slow install of updates to Windows 7
    2. Windows 7 - Updates are very slow
    3. Windows 7 Ultimate, it takes long time configuring updates
    4. "Preparing To Configure Windows. Please Do Not Turn Off Your Computer"
    5. Very slow update install at shutdown (Windows 7 Home Premium)
    6. Why does my computer run so slow when installing updates?
    7. Every time the computer is shut down, it always says installing update do not turn off your computer
    8. Computer is working slow and wants to do windows updates all the time
    9. Windows 7 Update install time taking a very long time
    10. Windows wants to install 6 updates every time I log off or put the computer in sleep mode
    11. Problem In Configuring Windows Updates at the time of Startup
    12. Computer really slow after latest updates
    13. Windows hangs up in "configuring updates"
    14. Why can't windows 7 install updates?
    15. Every time computer is shut down, receive Installing updates, do not shut off....
    16. How long does it take for the Windows 7 Home Premium updates take?
    17. Windows 7 "Installing Update 2 of 2" for 12 hours now
    18. Updates causes endless reboots
    19. Updates stuck installing for over 24 hrs. Computer does not boot
    20. Cannot load Windows 7 after installing 2 critical updates

    A proper solution to this problem would be to completely re-engineer and rewrite the servicing mechanism so it operates with the speed, reliability and pain-free operation of the XP servicing mechanism.

    I don't see this situation improving in Windows 8 either. Good luck with your Windows tablet taking hours to install service packs and updates. Now, do iPads take that long to install updates?

    Microsoft understated the real system requirements to keep a Windows 7/Vista system running. System requirements at install time may be 15 GB of free disk space but over time, this number increases to alarming levels as you install more service packs and post SP-updates. You can find out the real size of the WinSxS folder using a tool like cttruesize (ctts.exe) (download it from http://www.heise.de/software/download/cttruesize/50272 and run ctts -la -a -l C:\Windows to find the correct size minus the hard links which MS says causes Explorer to misreport the WinSxS folder size but the fact remains that even with the correctly calculated size of WinSxS, the disk space requirements of Windows 7 to keep it updated are unacceptable, especially for people's SSDs which are running out of disk space!

    • Proposed as answer by xpclient Sunday, March 25, 2012 12:03 PM
    Sunday, March 25, 2012 12:03 PM
  • dism /online /cleanup-image /spsuperseded

    The most helpful command EVER found on reducing the whooping bloat size of winsxs (2 years of operation on a Windows 7 x64 system blew it up to 21 GB !!!

    Running the command reduced the size of WinsXs to 7.95 GB !!!

    Everything else proposed is worthless compared to this.

    On a 111 GB Raid SSD array this reduction gives room for new applications..and space for wear leveling.

    This folder size has nearly stalled me from using my fast SSD to install programs on it because i always had to worry about future reserve space

    for winsxs.

    MS shouldnt divert from the design flaw of the  OS  bloating itself to unnatural sizes by quoting low storage capacity prices (useless point for a folder you cannot relocate to a cheap storage HD)  instead approach a easy to use and safe solution to users who are not tech savy to reduce the size of this folder without jeopardizing

    system stability. Because the only remaining safe solution would be a complete reinstall of the Operating system...which is really not a solution but the worst case scenario).


    • Edited by Br33zer Tuesday, May 15, 2012 1:33 AM
    Tuesday, May 15, 2012 1:33 AM
  • SxS means Side-by-side technology and it is a solution integrated in recent Windows versions by Microsoft in a attempt to reduce DLL hell. The problem with this solution is that the system keeps all versions of installed components in order to be able to serve them to asking application. As a downside, you will notice that this folder grows up very quickly and this can quickly became a very serious issue for your computers
    Common sizes for the WinSxS folder:

    - Windows 2003 : WinSXS = 25 MB / 05 GB (total Windows)
    - Windows 2008 : WinSXS = 05 GB / 10 GB (total Windows)
    The only safe way to reduce the size of the WinSxS folder on the disk is to remove the packages that installed the original components. This can be achieved by uninstalling superseded versions of packages.

    On Windows Vista, Service Pack 1 contains VSP1CLN.EXE. Running VSP1CLN.EXE will make the Service Pack package permanent and not removable.
    The tool is automatically installed as part of the SP1 upgrade, and you can find it under \%windir%\system32\vsp1cln.exe.

    On Windows Vista, after Windows SP2 you can use COMPCLN.EXE to clean up WinSxS folder. This tool is installed as part of the SP2 upgrade, and you’ll find it under \%windir%\system32\compcln.exe.
    As with vsp1cln.exe, executing compcln.exe will make SP2 not removable.
    Other third part solutions to reduce WinSxS size are:
    WINSXSLITE
    VLITE
    VOPTIMIZER 

    if your problem is with %windir%\winsxs\ManifestCache\ growing too much, you can refer to this procedure to remove the files under the %windir%\winsxs\ManifestCache\ and to release some disk space that the WinSXS folder is taking:

    Net stop trustedinstaller
    Takeown /f %windir%\winsxs\ManifestCache\*
    Icacls %windir%\winsxs\ManifestCache\* /GRANT administrators:F
    Del /q %windir%\winsxs\ManifestCache\*



    Regards Jinish.K.G|HCL Infosystems LTD

    Tuesday, May 15, 2012 7:04 AM
  • After long readings without any real answer I've decided to take a different approach. Let's post files found in the WinSxS directory that are safe to delete.
     Here's a list of files to start with:
     for example,
         Sleep Away.mp3
          Kalimba.mp3
     and Maid with the Flaxen Hair.mp3 all exist within sample media directories as well as the WinSxS folder
     Guess what, there's no chance in hell I'll need these.
     Solution: take ownership and delete the bastards.
     Kalimba.mp3 was about 8Mb and guess what? After I deleted it from the sample music folder AND from some obscure subfolder in WinSxS , I got 16Mb of space back. Hard Link or not, you can't argue with actual results.
    I know 16Mb is not anything to brag about, but it's the first real bite from WinSxS other than the SP1 cleanup command. It is my hope that with enough responses to this, we'll have something that can make an actual difference.
    I hope others will identify more files, or better yet folders, that are full of fluff like this that can be safely deleted.
     
     To reiterate, the list starts with the following:
     
       All the WinSxS copies of files found in sample media directories,
        %windir%\WinSxS\Backup\*
        %windir%\WinSxS\ManifestCache\*
     
     Please contribute!

    I've found another thread where a poster suggests that DISM may be used to remove backups of Updates other than SP1, but it applies to W8.

    Here's that thread:

    http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/windowsdeveloperpreviewgeneral/thread/d6365e6e-c8d7-4c9a-ac9a-fdf6f59878d1


    Saturday, May 19, 2012 10:28 AM
  • You can also free up more space by deleting everything in:

                    C:\Windows\Installer\$PatchCache$\Managed\*.*

    (http://blogs.msdn.com/b/heaths/archive/2007/01/17/the-patch-cache-and-freeing-space.aspx)

    I've recover about 5GB.

    Hope it helps.

    Friday, June 01, 2012 5:13 PM
  • This is not entirely true.  I ran Disk Cleanup (and selected Service Pack Backup Files), then ran the DISM command with the /cleanup-image option.  Even after running Disk Cleanup to remove service pack backup files, I recovered another 1.5GB!! by running the DISM command.
    Thursday, June 07, 2012 5:02 PM
  • Have you ever even read what's happening?

    I quote myself:

    "This is ridiculous and these issues are hitting businesses, namely all my SQL Servers.

    I've been searching and searching for an answer but there is none available.

    All I get is the same old "BUT WINSXS isn't REALLY taking up space, as it's hardlinks...."
    DO I CARE?  I only care what the operating system is telling me and it's telling me that I'm running out of space DUE to the WINSXS folder and I can't install my patches and other programs.

    Regardless if it's actually taking up physical space on the disk, the operating system is telling all these programs that MY DISK IS FULL.  So, am I suppose to magically tell these programs that the disk isn't really full or is Microsoft actually going to do something about this and either update the brains in the OS to recognize that it isn't taking up all this space?"

    In simple terms:

    I don't care if it's REALLY using the space or not.  The OS is reporting it's being used and I can't perform critical tasks.

     

    FOUR years passed and MS take no action for this shit.

    My SSD is full again with 15GB of Winsxs folder

    Wednesday, August 28, 2013 3:39 PM

  •  

    FOUR years passed and MS take no action for this shit.


    MS fixed it in Windows 8(.1). here you can remove old, replaced updates and compress WinSxS to reduce the size with the Disk Cleanup:

    http://superuser.com/questions/1/why-does-the-winsxs-folder-grow-so-large-and-can-it-be-made-smaller/594216#594216


    "A programmer is just a tool which converts caffeine into code"

    Wednesday, August 28, 2013 8:23 PM
  • try Unlocker

    google for that

    • Proposed as answer by A_RayoBanned Sunday, December 01, 2013 6:25 PM
    • Unproposed as answer by A_RayoBanned Sunday, December 01, 2013 6:25 PM
    Wednesday, September 11, 2013 6:35 AM
  • http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn251565.aspx

    Goce Bogdanovski

    Monday, February 10, 2014 1:56 AM