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Winsxs folder size issue revisited: Would archiving, deleting, and restoring contents reduce the footprint? RRS feed

  • Question

  • After reviewing the many threads about the winsxs folder--several of which were quite heated--I was able to solve a similar problem in a related folder.   After downloading and installing Spacemonger, I discovered that the Windows Installer folder was several gigs in size.   From what I could gather, at this messageboard and elsewhere, the contents of this could probably be deleted with safety, but one should archive them somewhere first, just in case the needed to be restored.

    I should say at this point that I also have Tune Up Utilities 2008 installed.  It's a very valuable app which, among other things, seems to be unique inits ability to recover massive amounts of disk space-on the order of multiple gigs--and causing anything to break in the process.

    So this is what happened with the Installer folder, to the best of my memory.  I zipped all of .msi and .msp files to a couple of winrar files and saved them on a removable disk.   I deleted the files from my hard drive.

    Not only did I not find a great increase in free disk space, but also it broke Microsoft Office.  In addition, Tune Up Utilities didn't reveal any significant additional disk space that it could recover.

    Surprisingly, though, after I moved the winrar archives back to the installer folder, and restored the files to their original place, I reran Tune Up and found that a huge amount of space was now available for recovery--on the order of 8G or so.   As usual, allowing TU to proceed didn't cause any subsequent issues with the OS or any installed apps.  

    It seems that removing and restoring back all of those .ms* files must have somehow reduced the associated overhead on the hard drive.  If my guess is correct, does it mean that a similar procedure might work for the winsxs folder?   I should point out that it was necessary for me to run TU before I could recover the space; I've never known the Windows Disk Cleanup tool to be better than next to worthless.

    Does anyone have any experience with this?   Can any of the MVPs comment?
    Thursday, September 18, 2008 9:47 PM

Answers

  • Hi

     

    You need to be careful with any folder or files that are contained in the System Folders, especially using third party products that are designed to simply free up hard drive space. Many times these products will simply identify folders that take up a large amount of space and offer to delete them, without considering the results, which can catastrophic, and could even require a reinstall of the operating system to recover.

     

    Sometimes the installer files contained in this folder can become 'orphaned'. There is a procedure for identifying and deleting these orphaned files.

     

    Here is more information on the Installer folder.

     

    Heath Stewart's Blog : The Patch Cache and Freeing Space:
    http://blogs.msdn.com/heaths/archive/2007/01/17/the-patch-cache-and-freeing-space.aspx


     

    Heath Stewart's Blog : How to Safely Delete Orphaned Patches:
    http://blogs.msdn.com/heaths/archive/2007/01/31/how-to-safely-delete-orphaned-patches.aspx

     

    As to how this relates to the WinSxS folder, there is really no way to compare these 2 folders. If this folder is moved, the only way to recover is to reinstall Windows, even if you move it back to it's original location.

     

    Hope this helps.

     


    If this post helps to resolve your issue, 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.


    Ronnie Vernon
    Microsoft MVP
    Windows Desktop Experience

    Friday, September 19, 2008 11:17 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Hi

     

    You need to be careful with any folder or files that are contained in the System Folders, especially using third party products that are designed to simply free up hard drive space. Many times these products will simply identify folders that take up a large amount of space and offer to delete them, without considering the results, which can catastrophic, and could even require a reinstall of the operating system to recover.

     

    Sometimes the installer files contained in this folder can become 'orphaned'. There is a procedure for identifying and deleting these orphaned files.

     

    Here is more information on the Installer folder.

     

    Heath Stewart's Blog : The Patch Cache and Freeing Space:
    http://blogs.msdn.com/heaths/archive/2007/01/17/the-patch-cache-and-freeing-space.aspx


     

    Heath Stewart's Blog : How to Safely Delete Orphaned Patches:
    http://blogs.msdn.com/heaths/archive/2007/01/31/how-to-safely-delete-orphaned-patches.aspx

     

    As to how this relates to the WinSxS folder, there is really no way to compare these 2 folders. If this folder is moved, the only way to recover is to reinstall Windows, even if you move it back to it's original location.

     

    Hope this helps.

     


    If this post helps to resolve your issue, 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.


    Ronnie Vernon
    Microsoft MVP
    Windows Desktop Experience

    Friday, September 19, 2008 11:17 PM
    Moderator
  • Yes, I agree with Ronnie.  The Winsxs directory is crucial to window's operation...even though it is poorly designed.  MS should design it in a way so that you may move it to different directory...but that is not the case.  I've played around with moving  the Winsxs via some guides on some forums...to discover that Windows Update and Adding/Removing windows components fail after the "successful" move of the directory.  Have you tried doing any windows update, add/remove components, or install/uninstall applications after you restored your files?
    Sunday, May 17, 2009 6:41 AM