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Windows 7: Remove ability to restore auotomatic updates

31 May 2011   #1

Windows 7 Professional SP1 64-bit
Remove ability to restore auotomatic updates

This is the best way I could think of to phrase the question to get the desired response.

With the number of updates that come for Windows 7, there must be a lot of space used up by the files which make it possible to uninstall KB updates and hotfixes, and security updates.

Is there any way to get rid of these? It is at least a week since an update was installed, and my system is running fine, so I don't see why I should be able to uninstall the 37 updates to Windows listed in Control Panel - Programs and Features - Installed Updates. Some of them go back nearly a year.

Over time, these backups are going to take up a significant space in the Wiondows partition.

My apologies if the question has already been answered, but couldn't find an answer.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 May 2011   #2
Orbital Shark



C:\Windows\Downloaded Installations\

These folders contain the setup files of downloaded and installed applications and Windows updates. The last one contains the downloaded Windows updates, which are there in strange names without any extension. With most of those files you can add MSI or EXE and run them separately. Saving these files makes it possible to patch them on another Windows system or Windows setup files.

Note   Note
You may need to have Hidden files/folder/drives enabled
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 May 2011   #3
Orbital Shark


Sorry, have made changes to my original post
My System SpecsSystem Spec

31 May 2011   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient


If I understand your question correctly (and I apologize if I've misunderstood), you want to know why you can't uninstall Windows Updates, Hotfixes, etc that go back over a year ago because they're taking up space on your hard drive. Actually, you CAN uninstall them.

Windows Update - Uninstall an Update

But I would strongly caution you not to uninstall anything, especially since your system is running fine. Those updates, fixes, etc are taking care of security breaches, system anomalies, and other issues. Without those updates your system probably wouldn't be running fine. Another consideration is some updates build upon previous updates and future updates may require those older updates to continue protecting your system.

Over time (let's say the next 4 or 5 years - before you buy a new computer) all of those updates will probably take up less than 20GB of hard drive space. With the size of today's drives, that's a very inconsequential amount of space and may contribute about 6 minutes added time to make a system image backup.

Again, if I misunderstood your question, I sincerely apologize.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 May 2011   #5

Windows 7 x64 pro/ Windows 7 x86 Pro/ XP SP3 x86

The equivalent of XP's $NTUninstall folders in Windows 7 are kept in the winsxs folder (C:\windows\winsxs), dont even think of touching that folder, the system heavily relies on them. It keeps older versions of files to keep application compatibility.

The installers, OTOH are stored in C:\windows\softwaredistribution\download folder, they can be deleted without affecting installed updates.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 May 2011   #6

Windows 7 Professional SP1 64-bit

Thanks all, Bill2 is the answer to the question, but not the answer I wanted

My HDD with my system partition and my programs partition is only 80GB (it goes back years) and with enough updates it could get quite full.

But I do have these two partitions regularly cloned to a 1TB drive, so when this happens, or I have a failure, I can just swap the HDDs and be up and running again seamlessly. (I have no urge to start from scratch again.)

I suppose Microsoft had a good reason for doing this.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 May 2011   #7

Windows 10 Pro x64

If you install SP1 (or any SP afterwards, going forward), you can remove anything pre-SP1 with a dism command. However, Bill2 is right - the space used in WinSxS doesn't exactly match what explorer or dir in a cmd prompt says (\system32 is actually only about 1 or 2GB, with the rest being junction points to locations in WinSxS, hence why you do *not* want to mess with this folder location). 80GB should be sufficient if you store user data elsewhere, but long-term that will get tight (especially after the last service pack, whatever that may be, because there'll be no cleanup of hotfixes post that SP at that point).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 May 2011   #8
Layback Bear

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1

To make it simple. IMHO Microsoft doesn't issue updates just to take up drive space. These updates in most cases are for security and some for reliability and system improvements. These updates is part of what we paid for when choosing Windows. I would never mess with them on one of my systems. If I need more hard drive space I would buy another hard drive. As a matter of fact I just bought another hard drive today 1TB Seagate just for my space. $75.00. The point is removing theme can cause you $500.00 worth of head aches and work and you will have to install them again for a proper security and function of the operating system.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Jun 2011   #9
Bare Foot Kid
Microsoft MVP

W 7 64-bit Ultimate


Have a look at these 2 tutorials at the links below.

How to Free Up and Recover Hard Drive Space

Disk Cleanup : Extended
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Jun 2011   #10

Windows 7 Professional SP1 64-bit

Useful articles, thanks.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Remove ability to restore auotomatic updates

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