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How to reduce the size of winsxs in windows 7 ultimate x64

    Question

  • Ok so first off there are some caveats to responding to this question

    1.) Im on windows 7, so DONT refer to some "winsxs is important" vista link...

    2.) i am well aware of what windows side by side is for, and appreciate dll ____ must be bad for some... but lets be honest, professional people like me know how to keep a system in shape and not remove DLL files willy nilly and should have some kind of "i know what im doing" option

    3.) i know its important system files blah blah blah

    4.) i know it MUST be possible to trim this... vsp1cln.exe and compcln.exe from vista sp1 and sp2 respectively shows it CAN be done

     

    so in light of that, as there is no vsp1cln.exe or compcln.exe included on windows 7 i need to know if they are compatible with windows 7 if i just pull down a version from vista.

    if not, there must be some kind of method to reduce winsxs size... mine is currently at 6.2GB and that... frankly... is too big, i can understand a few GB worth, but 6! thats a whole windows xp installation!

     

    now, if a utility could be written that would be detrimental to compatibility but acceptable in terms of limited damage then that would be good, perhaps removing the ability to uninstall updates if for example, your system has been stable since february i know i wont have problems and have the retail disk if it gets fubar.

     

    I cant see what all that folder is for... i mean if you dont want such compatibility or the ability to install extra components without finding the disk then you should be able to remove that... i dont use a lot of the server side components, so why cant i remove those.

     

    also winsxs uses a lot of hardlinks and junctions that are reporting hard drive usage that isnt actually used as explorer counts these files repeatedly, there must be a way to tell explorer not to count those files... it might be all well and good to say theres 2gb not actually being used, but if windows is throwing a fit because it thinks im out of space then those 2gb might as well be 2 TB for all the use they are to me.

     

    lets take for example the winsxs/backup folder, there are about 60% of that taken up with FONT BACKUPS... i mean SERIOUSLY! ... you backed up the FONTS!?

     

    WHY!?!?

    There must be more things like those that could go

     

    perhaps someone could get back in touch and explain why microsoft windows is the ONLY operating system that seems to think that if it doesnt have 80 hundred million backups and spares it wont work... linux does not have this side by side thing, nor does macosx

    Saturday, June 12, 2010 2:33 AM

Answers

  • The same links for Vista apply to Windows 7. MS didn't change the usage! most of the files inside the WinSxS folder are hardlinks.

    To get the real size of your Windows folder, use this tool:

    http://www.heise.de/software/download/cttruesize/50272

    and run the following command:

    ctts.exe C:\Windows

    The WinSxS\Backup folder is part of the Windows Resource Protection . NEVER touch it in any way or you will break your Windows 7.


    best regards
    André


    "A programmer is just a tool which converts caffeine into code" CLIP- Stellvertreter http://www.winvistaside.de/
    Saturday, June 12, 2010 1:38 PM

All replies

  • The same links for Vista apply to Windows 7. MS didn't change the usage! most of the files inside the WinSxS folder are hardlinks.

    To get the real size of your Windows folder, use this tool:

    http://www.heise.de/software/download/cttruesize/50272

    and run the following command:

    ctts.exe C:\Windows

    The WinSxS\Backup folder is part of the Windows Resource Protection . NEVER touch it in any way or you will break your Windows 7.


    best regards
    André


    "A programmer is just a tool which converts caffeine into code" CLIP- Stellvertreter http://www.winvistaside.de/
    Saturday, June 12, 2010 1:38 PM

  • why!?   is a professional person like yourself wasting time, poring over 10,000's of cryptic files in the guts of your OS's harddrive?

    wouldn't your effort be better spent upgrading to a modern TeraByte drive instead?

     

    why!?   am i replying to this?

    Not a very helpful answer. Some of us prefer to buy SSD drives which in case you haven't heard offer a massive performance increase over traditional platter based storage. Unfortunately they are very pricey so it could be $300 for a really fast (300mb/sec) 100GB storage. In this case, trimming the winsxs folder would be great way to optimize space.

    So how about you save us the trouble and only post when you have something constructive to say.

    I would also welcome info on how to trim up the winsxs folder. When I saw a basic install of win7 enterprise on my SSD was 16GB (including pagefile) I about fell off my chair. That is completely absurd.

    Saturday, June 19, 2010 1:23 AM
  • On my system (WIN7 X64) this folder consumes 7.18GB of diskspace (7.26GB reported by explorer, minus about 190MB linked files, plus cluster losses).

    The windows folder is 19GB, so the WINSXS consumes over 35% of the windows installation. No extra languages or so.

    How to reduce this WINSXS space??

    Monday, November 22, 2010 8:48 AM
  • Winsxs doesn't really take up space.  It's just hard links to other files.  But windows can't tell you the right amount of space it takes up.

    EDIT:

    I take this back.  There's plenty of singly linked files in here, aside from windows\winsxs\backup, within my 92,406 (!) subfolders.  I'm using cygwin ls and find.  I wouldn't delete anything though.

     

    Monday, November 22, 2010 6:16 PM
  • On my system (WIN7 X64) this folder consumes 7.18GB of diskspace (7.26GB reported by explorer, minus about 190MB linked files, plus cluster losses).

    Have you used ctts.exe to measure the size?

    NEVER delete file in the WinSxS folder:

    http://blogs.technet.com/b/joscon/archive/2010/08/06/should-you-delete-files-in-the-winsxs-directory-and-what-s-the-deal-with-vss.aspx


    André


    "A programmer is just a tool which converts caffeine into code" CLIP- Stellvertreter http://www.winvistaside.de/
    Monday, November 22, 2010 7:38 PM
  • i don't normally post to forums but felt i had to in this case....

    I am preparing to move my installation to an ssd and find windows reports 22gb of space used after moving my documents etc to a traditional sata drive.

    a quick look around, and you guessed it, 8gb is taken up with winsxs which i make about 32%.

    i've done a lot of reading today on the subject and peoples frustration with this folder (and  there are a lot of frustrated people), and the problem i have with people talking about hard links vs actual physical files and usung tools that show the "real" disk usage is that they are completely missing the point.

    nobody reporting this issue as far as i've read cares about:

    1. the hard hard links and their benefit in OS design

    2. the fact your hdd has more space free than you think

    3. what the real size is of winsxs is

    the real issue is that:

    1. when windows the operating system thinks there is no more disk space left, there is no more disk space left to use....even  if the hard drive has 8 gb free due to hard links (or part of the 8gb)

    2. we are paying for storage we can't use which on ssd's is still expensive as are corporate SAN disks

    3. virtual pc's and servers vhd files are reportedly expanding to cater for winsxs consumption

    4. there was a microsoft provided tool in vista sp1 and a new version in sp2 and so is an acknowledged problem with a fix supplied in previous versions which has not been made available for win 7.

    5. there are tools that run under windows 7 that can work out the actual disk space but the operating system can't. if the OS reported the free space correctly yhere would be no problem.

    so the question that needs answering is (and just this question, not any discussion on the subject or need to do it!)......

    question: can the reported size of winsxs be trimmed in anyway under windows 7 or can the disk usage/free calculation be corrected?

    answer: no

    • Proposed as answer by jezzaUK Friday, December 03, 2010 4:13 PM
    • Edited by jezzaUK Friday, December 03, 2010 4:14 PM extra word by mistake
    Friday, December 03, 2010 4:11 PM
  • You can't tell the size of winsxs, but the free space on c: is reported correctly.  For example if you have a big crash dump and make a hard link to it, the reported free space on c: remains the same.

    dir  (see the bytes free)

    mklink /h c:\windows\memory.dmp2 c:\windows\memory.dmp

    dir (the bytes free are the same)

     

    Friday, December 03, 2010 4:23 PM
  • Okay, first off, sorry to wake up this ancient topic again, but there's still lots of frustrated people out there and the truth here isn't 100%.

    I ran that tool that the 'answer' provided. The results were that about 1-2GB of the ~12GB of files in that folder are hardlinks, which means the REST ISN'T.

    The majority of the files in the winsxs folder resides in 'backup', as the name implies i'm suspecting this is for meant for backing up old versions of files, e.g due to windows update.

    There was a tool available in windows vista SP1/2 and windows server 2008 SP1/2, however not for Windows 7 (and afaik that should affect windows 2k8 R2 as well?), as the changes from windows vista to 7 are minimal as far as i gathered, why not reintroduce that tool?

    So, is there anyone out there that has a working solution? I'd just remove the backup folder, but i don't want to spend time unnecessarily in linux live distros to fix it again, aside for the fact that many less tech-savy users wouldn't know how to do that at all. (which would make it more worth your while to just fix it?)

     

    <little rant of mine on the subject>
    The current size of my windows folder is reportedly nearly 22gigs, with 5GB of hardlinks according to ct TrueSize, either size is WAY TOO BIG for an OS install, sure my SSD is 120GB and can sustain it, but fuck, 99% of the users out there really don't need backwards compatibilty to AT-based systems, 5.1/2 inch floppies, or any of that crap. I'd be surprised if you'd get windows 7 working on an AT-based device in the first place.

    Windows XP suffered from this problem too, but with windows vista/7 this problem seems to have skyrocketed. there is NO OS OUT THERE that uses SO MUCH HDD space, for what, backwards compatibility with 1980?
    Personally, they should release a seperate version of windows (like ultimate/professional/business) that supports backwards compatibility, the mainstream product would benefit from that SO MUCH. if it isn't HDD/SSD/SAN space, it's speed, every library and every file in windows gets checked out at some point,

    remember windows XP "performance edition"? 250MB install, supported all modern computers, zero mentionworthy usability degradation, booted up in under 10 seconds and used less then 70megs of RAM in a default install. now THAT is how it SHOULD have been released.

    </rant>

    If no real answer is provided in a few days from here, i'm just gonna try (re)move the backup folder, if that doesn't crash my system i'll report my findings here.

     

    ~Ced

    Wednesday, June 29, 2011 2:21 AM
  • After finding this folder and how much it contains, then finding this information.  M$ has lost a customer, when in the HW requirements state that you need about 8 GB of disk space that seems to be a lie, or someone is going to spin it as you need 8gb to install, BUT NOT KEEP THE SYSTEM RUNNING.  I'm offended that I no longer have the capacity to prune back things that the clepto OS keeps.  Without that control, I no longer have a system that I will be able to use and this puts those of us that support it in a very bad spot.  I have another longer list of things I don't really like about how the OS has progressed, maybe it's lack of understanding, but I file it under "that's a sneaky maneuver."  Scheduled tasks that still run if disabled, because the trigger is still enabled.  So I buy a 1 tB disk, but M$ leases a certain % of it for things I really don't need forever.  This is not a good design method.  I did however find a post that explains what is going on and I don't like the answer.

    http://blogs.msdn.com/b/e7/archive/2008/11/19/disk-space.aspx

    After reading the article all I can say is wow, really. There has to be a better way, hope you find it.  I still think that the HW reqs should plainly state that the size requirement will expand exponentially over time.  Unless the shell can understand that Winsxs is truly on 400mb.

    "While it’s true that WinSxS does consume some disk space by simply existing, and there are a number of metadata files, folders, manifests, and catalogs in it, it’s significantly smaller than reported. The actual amount of storage consumed varies, but on a typical system it is about 400MB. While that is not small, we think the robustness provided for servicing is a reasonable tradeoff."

    If the OS only knew it was 400mb.  I get the programming behind it needing a hard link, but wow, what a mess.

    • Edited by IT-FishGuy Sunday, July 03, 2011 4:22 AM Article read
    Sunday, July 03, 2011 3:47 AM
  • My winsxs grew to over 40GB (on a 60GB SSD) and I was down to 2GB free (and this is after I had relocated everything I could do an external USB drive) my machine will only take a 1.5" drive, and those are EXPENSIVE.  Since the only solution to this problem is to buy a bigger harddrive, well, I can't run windows anymore.

    I thought I would miss it, but I don't.  I'll just run xp VM if i need windows for something, i guess.  I feel like a total chump for buying ultimate, and I can't believe the infuriating responses from the representatives.  I'm not going to cancel my xboxlive subscription but I'll never buy another windows OS again.  I really wanted it to work out for us, microsoft, but it's not me, it's you.

    Tuesday, July 12, 2011 9:09 AM
  • Try the following as admin/using admin rights in cmd:

    dism /online /cleanup-image /spsuperseded

    Saved me ~2GiB, not that much, compared to the size of the folder, but it's a start. Had to find it via Google, as MS doesn't seem to promote this way. Dunno why ... Found here: http://www.iishacks.com/2011/06/23/reduce-windows-7-winsxs-folder-size/


    • Proposed as answer by JAWSxs Tuesday, August 16, 2011 5:48 AM
    Friday, July 22, 2011 9:38 AM
  • Helpful note on that "dism /online /cleanup-image /spsuperseded" command!

    Tuesday, July 26, 2011 5:40 PM
  • Helpful note on that "dism /online /cleanup-image /spsuperseded" command!

    C:\Windows\System32>dism /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.
    [==========================100.0%==========================]
    Service Pack Cleanup operation completed.
    The operation completed successfully.

    Before :

    Windows 24497 MB

    winsxs 11755 MB

    After :

    Windows 20 052 MB

    winsxs 7356 MB

    4 GB saved on a 80 GB SSD is always good


    Wednesday, July 27, 2011 10:01 PM
  • This only appears to work if you upgraded to Windows 7 SP1.  A clean install of Windows 7 SP1 (in my case Enterprise 64-bit) you get the following,

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

    Deployment Image Servicing and Management tool
    Version: 6.1.7600.16385

    Image Version: 6.1.7600.16385
    Deployment Image Servicing and Management tool
    Version: 6.1.7600.16385

    Image Version: 6.1.7600.16385

    Service Pack Cleanup can't proceed: No service pack backup files were found.
    The operation completed successfully.

    C:\>

    My winsxs folder remains the same size as before.

    Thursday, July 28, 2011 5:45 PM
  • Try the following as admin/using admin rights in cmd:

    dism /online /cleanup-image /spsuperseded

    Saved me ~2GiB, not that much, compared to the size of the folder, but it's a start. Had to find it via Google, as MS doesn't seem to promote this way. Dunno why ... Found here: http://www.iishacks.com/2011/06/23/reduce-windows-7-winsxs-folder-size/


    Thank you zeroFX!!!!

    I have Windows 7 Ult. w/ SP1  I have 2 pcs with 2 ssd.  After running that command, it saved me almost 4gb on my OCZ 60gb ssd and 3.8gb on my small Intel 40gb.  most came out of the winsxs folder!!!


    Tuesday, August 16, 2011 5:48 AM
  • Try the following as admin/using admin rights in cmd:

    dism /online /cleanup-image /spsuperseded

    Saved me ~2GiB, not that much, compared to the size of the folder, but it's a start. Had to find it via Google, as MS doesn't seem to promote this way. Dunno why ... Found here: http://www.iishacks.com/2011/06/23/reduce-windows-7-winsxs-folder-size/


    Great sleuthing. I have been looking for a solid answer to this predicament for a while and i just dropped from 13.6GB -> 6.6 so my SSD thanks you. Cheers!
    Saturday, August 20, 2011 5:48 AM
  • The WinSxS\Backup folder is part of the Windows Resource Protection . NEVER touch it in any way or you will break your Windows 7.

    Yes, the above answer is wrong wrong...why was it marked as answer Mr. Xie?

    The correct reply is: you can reduce the size of winsxs on a W7 SP1 PC by running the command as noted by zeroFX:

    dism /online /cleanup-image /spsuperseded

    I've done this on a couple of SP1 machines that have worked fine for months and regained some 4Gb of space each time.

    • Proposed as answer by MNIN Thursday, July 26, 2012 5:50 AM
    Saturday, August 20, 2011 3:47 PM
  • Sorry folks but I want to talk Vista.

    My daughter's laptop started life on XP and has been running Vista since it first came out and has all the updates applied.

    Her C drive (39GB) is now showing 2.43 GB free and I have removed all the garbage I can possibly remove. The machine is still usable with difficulty, fortunately all the data was on a separate partition and has been removed

    I am now left with the WinSxS showing 24.7GB of which 14.9GB is in WinSxS/Manifestcache folder as a file 6.06...blah....blobs.bin

    I have read everything I can find on this subject and am seriously considering deleting this blobs.bin file.

    My daughter has already bought a new machine so if I kill this old one it really doesn't matter too much as I will wipe everything and install Linux for use as a web browser.

    Has anyone got a useful comment before I withdraw the life support system?

    Sunday, August 21, 2011 4:18 PM
  • This is truly sad, i myself have had the same problems on my ssd, but now I am having an issue at work. I was recently tasked with deploying windows 7 in the workplace. I went to reading all of the various tools they offer and built my first image. It was Windows 7 Pro. After running imagex on it my wim file was around 3.5 GBs. Well after talking we decided to use enterprise since we have license to it and it offers more features. Did the same exact setup on it, installed the same applications. Now running imagex results in a 16GB wim file. This just doesn't work.....

     

    Is there any difference in editions? Is everyone running enterprise here?

    Wednesday, September 14, 2011 12:26 AM
  • Many thanks to ZeroFX and all other. Just ran the mism command following instructions in the link below

    http://www.iishacks.com/2011/06/23/reduce-windows-7-winsxs-folder-size/

    before: winsxs showed 10.5GB (using TreeSize Free)
    after: winsxs showed 6.5 GB

    I know it's only "displayed" size and not necessarily "actual" size, but nonetheless it's 4GB on a 130 GB SSD (3%) that looks to have been freed.

    Windows 7 Professional SP1 64bits

    Friday, December 23, 2011 12:54 AM
  • there  r no options to do this ................ :(
    Thanks & Regards, Swamish naik
    Friday, December 23, 2011 6:51 AM
  • I cannot believe there is no solution to this problem!!

    I really feel left out in the cold by Microsoft and am seriously considering to start using a different OS.

    JezzaUK can not be more right when he says the question that needs answering is: can the REPORTED SIZE of winsxs be trimmed in anyway under windows 7 or can the disk usage/free CALCULATION be corrected?

    No matter how much space in reality is left on my C:-drive, if the OS does not see it, what effing good does it do?

     

    Microsoft, address this issue, you m************

     

     

    Friday, December 30, 2011 9:29 PM
  • Is this any different from:

    1. Right-click the drive.
    2. Properties | General.
    3. Disk Cleanup.
    4. Clean up system files.
    5. Check Service Pack Backup Files
    and do it?
    Monday, January 02, 2012 7:35 PM
  • Is this any different from:
    1. Right-click the drive.
    2. Properties | General.
    3. Disk Cleanup.
    4. Clean up system files.
    5. Check Service Pack Backup Files
    and do it?

     

    you must be kidding, right?
    wouldn't you figure we already tried what you're proposing?

    Monday, January 02, 2012 9:12 PM
  • The WinSXS folder may contain hard links,  but what a hard link means is that when the file it's linked to no longer exists,  WinSXS is using up that space,  because a file is not removed from disk until all hard links to it are removed too!

    So the real question is:  How do we clean out hard links to old versions of files that no longer exist, that are no longer needed by any installed applications?

     

    I have a 32 GB SSD,  and I am finding that  WinSXS is using  25gb;

    and approximately 20gb in the Backup directory are hard links to files found nowhere else on disk.

    This is Windows 7 64bit SP1,  and  

    dism /online /cleanup-image /spsuperseded

    Does not seem to free up any space.

    "Service Pack Cleanup can't proceed: No service pack backup files were found.
    The operation completed successfully."

     

    Saturday, January 14, 2012 8:51 PM
  • Hello,

    Hmm, have not seen the \winsxs\backup folder near that large on systems.

    First:

    Download the Disk Usage tool from the sysinternals site?
    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb545046.aspx

    drop  into a \tools folder

    C:\Tools>du /v c:\Windows >%username%.txt 

    C:\Tools>du /v /u c:\Windows >%username%_U.txt 

    Can you make the files available for download?

    also from the \windows\winsxs\backup folder, can you run dir *.* /o-s >filelist.txt?

     

     


    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
    Sunday, January 15, 2012 8:24 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?

    So fact is Microsoft understates or conveniently hides the real system requirements to keep a Windows 7/Vista system running. System requirements are install time may be 15 GB of free disk space but over time, this number increasing is unacceptable, especially for people's SSDs which are running out of disk space!
    • Proposed as answer by xpclient Friday, March 23, 2012 9:28 AM
    • Edited by xpclient Sunday, March 25, 2012 11:52 AM
    Sunday, March 04, 2012 8:10 AM
  • Mornin',

    You nailed it.  That one reply added that in 64bit win 7 you need to elevate the cmd rights AND be in sys32.  He also nailed it.  Thanks folks.  There should be more EASY solutions such as this RATHER than go to a MS site to download and install some more so that in the end you get rid of some more.  Thanks again

    Horatio

    Friday, March 23, 2012 8:44 AM
  • Nice post Xpclient.  The scavenging is done by 'TrustedInstaller.exe'.  It idles for a long time, and then eventually does a cleanup and exits.  So one thing you can do is wait for it to finish and then compare the disk space.  And whatever you do, don't install a lot of foreign languages from the optional windows updates.  The more files you have in c:\windows\system32\catroot, the slower your boot will be (and login immediately after boot).

    Although in my experience, the slow windows updates come from .NET 4, recompiling its assemblies with mscorvw.exe.  There's nothing you can do but wait for it to finish.


    • Edited by JS2010 Friday, March 23, 2012 11:00 AM
    Friday, March 23, 2012 10:56 AM
  • This is not the solution...
    Wednesday, May 09, 2012 6:49 PM
  • Agreed, I'm sitting on a 27gb(!!!) winsxs folder, and the compcln.exe tool only cleaned up 2 freaking gigs of it.  I have 10 Vista/Win7 machines running in a virtual environment for software testing and all of them exhibit this awful issue.  These machines were provisioned with 30gb hard disks, which I felt was far and away more than enough given the 8gb system requirement, but with NO software installed on these machines (software gets installed at test time and removed afterward) I have no usable space on the drive.  I have already reprovisioned the drives from 20 gb to 30 gb 6 months ago to combat this same issue.  Now we're here again, and I have to reprovision all these frigging vms one more time to allow microsoft to usurp more and more of my disk space.  How could you even remotely consider this a fair tradeoff for the "dll hell" issue that in 10 years of using and supporting XP, I never saw once?
    Wednesday, May 30, 2012 3:23 PM
  • Is this any different from:

    1. Right-click the drive.
    2. Properties | General.
    3. Disk Cleanup.
    4. Clean up system files.
    5. Check Service Pack Backup Files
    and do it?

    you must be kidding, right?
    wouldn't you figure we already tried what you're proposing?

    I was just trying to free up space to download\install Max Payne 3 (58GB total!) and did disk cleanup and removed Service Pack Backup files, but saw my Windows folder was 23GB and winsxs 8GB so I tried the dism command and it said there were no service pack files...so it seems the same to me

    • Edited by Gareth0208 Saturday, June 16, 2012 9:05 PM
    Saturday, June 16, 2012 9:04 PM
  • Hello

    Can you use the Disk Usage Tool to collect some data from the system?

    I can take a look at the data.

    Download Disk usage from Sysinternals site.

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb896651

    I dropped it into a tools folder.

    then run

    C:\Tools>du /v c:\Windows >%username%.txt

    C:\Tools>du /v /u c:\Windows >%username%_U.txt

    If you can please zip the files and make them available for download?


    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

    Thursday, June 21, 2012 5:42 PM
  • Sysinternals du correctly reports the size of the winsxs, taking hard links into account, while windows explorer does not.

    Thursday, July 26, 2012 2:50 PM
  • In Windows 8 Microsoft added a way to reduce the WinSxS size. They've added a new DISM command to detect and uninstall updates which are replaced by newer ones (like new cumulative IE updates):

    http://www.msfn.org/board/topic/153742-dism-improvements-in-windows-8/page__view__findpost__p__1015509


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

    Thursday, December 13, 2012 9:15 PM
  • Ok so first off there are some caveats to responding to this question

    1.) Im on windows 7, so DONT refer to some "winsxs is important" vista link...

    2.) i am well aware of what windows side by side is for, and appreciate dll ____ must be bad for some... but lets be honest, professional people like me know how to keep a system in shape and not remove DLL files willy nilly and should have some kind of "i know what im doing" option

    3.) i know its important system files blah blah blah

    4.) i know it MUST be possible to trim this... vsp1cln.exe and compcln.exe from vista sp1 and sp2 respectively shows it CAN be done

     

    so in light of that, as there is no vsp1cln.exe or compcln.exe included on windows 7 i need to know if they are compatible with windows 7 if i just pull down a version from vista.

    if not, there must be some kind of method to reduce winsxs size... mine is currently at 6.2GB and that... frankly... is too big, i can understand a few GB worth, but 6! thats a whole windows xp installation!

     

    now, if a utility could be written that would be detrimental to compatibility but acceptable in terms of limited damage then that would be good, perhaps removing the ability to uninstall updates if for example, your system has been stable since february i know i wont have problems and have the retail disk if it gets fubar.

     

    I cant see what all that folder is for... i mean if you dont want such compatibility or the ability to install extra components without finding the disk then you should be able to remove that... i dont use a lot of the server side components, so why cant i remove those.

     

    also winsxs uses a lot of hardlinks and junctions that are reporting hard drive usage that isnt actually used as explorer counts these files repeatedly, there must be a way to tell explorer not to count those files... it might be all well and good to say theres 2gb not actually being used, but if windows is throwing a fit because it thinks im out of space then those 2gb might as well be 2 TB for all the use they are to me.

     

    lets take for example the winsxs/backup folder, there are about 60% of that taken up with FONT BACKUPS... i mean SERIOUSLY! ... you backed up the FONTS!?

     

    WHY!?!?

    There must be more things like those that could go

     

    perhaps someone could get back in touch and explain why microsoft windows is the ONLY operating system that seems to think that if it doesnt have 80 hundred million backups and spares it wont work... linux does not have this side by side thing, nor does macosx

    Seraphim,

      Try this: 

      1.  Open up an elevated command prompt

      2.  Open up the command prompt from the sys32 directory (from/in).  

      3.  Use this command(without the quotes):  "dism /online /cleanup-image /spsuperseded"

      4.  Let it run

      5.  Should give you the results you want

    hope this helps

    horatio


    • Edited by HoratioL MCP Sunday, December 16, 2012 11:51 AM missed some punctuation
    Sunday, December 16, 2012 11:50 AM
  • My question is how do you trim the $MFT...

    Monday, December 17, 2012 3:28 PM
  • Use Wise disk cleaner Link: http://wisecleaner.com/wisediskcleanerfree.html It's easy and free to use and there is a slimming down option that gives you the ability to delete useless junk in the winsxs folder (Ex: sample music, sample pictures, sample video's and a whole lot more.... It even gives you the ability to clean up other junk in different system folders, which i have not had any problems with this product..      I hope this helps a lot of people that have limited disk capacity!!!
    Sunday, April 28, 2013 11:57 PM
  • Hey

    According to lifecycle information on ms page Win7 should be supported for quite a few more years from now. I don't care the fixes you make in Win8 or 9. I paid for a product that consumes my whole C partition and I cannot even install Visual Studio (lack of space require to extract the INSTALATOR). And yes, I also use SSD drive. The problem has been reported a few years now and you do nothing that might help.

    Anyway, I've worked on Win8 and have to thank you. The interface you created according to my problem will really make me to actually migrate to other OS... On the other hand I really liked programming in C# though... :(

    Tuesday, June 04, 2013 7:37 AM
  • This is getting worse and worse with every update.

    6.32gb of AMD files that I do not need because I am on Intel.

    You can't delete these files even as admin as the owner is TrustedInstaller

    Surely Win7 only needs enough files to recover remaining files online.

    Wednesday, October 09, 2013 4:01 PM
  • Microsoft released an Update to cleanup old updates:

    Install this update to get this new option in disk cleanup:

    Update is available that enables you to delete outdated Windows updates by using a new option in the Disk Cleanup wizard in Windows 7 SP1
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2852386

    http://blogs.technet.com/b/askpfeplat/archive/2013/10/08/breaking-news-reduce-the-size-of-the-winsxs-directory-and-free-up-disk-space-with-a-new-update-for-windows-7-sp1-clients.aspx


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

    Wednesday, October 09, 2013 6:42 PM
  • Thanks for the updated Disk Cleanup feature - works great, removed 3,7GB here.
    Tuesday, November 05, 2013 7:13 PM
  • 6.32gb of AMD files that I do not need because I am on Intel.

    They are not AMD (vs Intel) files.  AMD64 is the accepted designation of something that pertains to a 64 bit system.

    AMD designed the 64 architecture that is widely used today, hence the name.

    Tuesday, November 05, 2013 7:43 PM
  • "its not the real size" doesnt matter if you cant write files because of 0 byte free space ...

    Wednesday, February 26, 2014 9:34 AM