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Windows 7: Large Windows and winsxs folders taking up too much space


26 Oct 2013   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 
Large Windows and winsxs folders taking up too much space

I have an ultrabook with 128 GB of space, 101 GiB after partitioning and so on, so it got annoying when I just checked my C:\Windows directory and it was up to 25 GBs, with winsxs up to 14 GBs. I had heard on Windows Weekly that there was a way to clean up the winsxs directory now, so I followed that simple procedure and gained 3.5 GBs of disk space after the utility was done. I then rebooted and I gained 1.5 GBs more, 5 GBs of unnecessary files removed.

C:\Windows is down to 18 GBs now and winsxs down to 7.3 GBs, with the disparity between the 7 GBs less those folders report and the 5 GBs less the system disk reports no doubt because of the hard links in winsxs, that have been mentioned here before.

I've seen several threads here about large winsxs folders, but none mentioning this recent blog post from Microsoft so I thought I'd post this fix that worked for me.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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26 Oct 2013   #2

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 

The large size of the winsxs folder is more apparent than real. Actually most of these files are just links to files that are stored elsewhere. Something like shortcuts but not the same.

Since Windows 2000 NTFS has had a feature where a single copy of a file can appear in multiple folders. But it was not until Vista that Windows used this feature, which it does for the winsxs folder. This saves considerable disk space but makes the determination of disk space used by a specific folder very difficult. It is not that the properties dialog is lying to you (as some have suggested), it is a question of what is the truth. There are no easy answers to that question.

The method used in the article should be safe. But there are some more radical methods from other sources and these should be avoided.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Oct 2013   #3
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

You were lucky to gain such a big chunk of space. On my system the total gain would be only 380KB - not worth bothering. My winsxs is 10.1GBs.

I suspect that you had a lot of programs installed and then uninstalled which left a good chunk of dead .dlls behind.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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26 Oct 2013   #4

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

I now see that there was a tutorial about this update on this site a couple weeks back, which my google searches didn't find. Maybe this thread will have better google-fu.

whs, I bought my ultrabook last July and had not run Disk Cleanup since then, so I probably had a lot of accumulated system files. I don't install or uninstall much software.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Oct 2013   #5
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

My Windows installation is 4 years old and I never ran Disk Cleanup before - first time after I saw your post. I really wonder what all the stuff was that was found to be unneeded in your system.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Oct 2013   #6

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

The Disk Cleanup utility said I'd save 6.4 GBs of disk space afterwards, with 1.6 GBs coming from Windows Update files and another 900 MBs coming from service pack files. I think it said another 800 MBs or 1 GB from temporary files, but I don't remember that one exactly: the rest were smaller amounts.

I'm surprised you've been running for 4 years and wouldn't save even more space than me after running Disk Cleanup for the first time. Do you have it configured somehow to throw away all those files right away, no restore points, etc.? I'd think you'd gain much more from a cleanup than me.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Oct 2013   #7

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 

How much space you will gain by using Disk Cleanup depends greatly on the options selected and what you may be doing as alternative. Everything that Disk Cleanup does can be accomplished by other methods and many people prefer this. It is only a convenience.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Oct 2013   #8
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by sprewell View Post
The Disk Cleanup utility said I'd save 6.4 GBs of disk space afterwards, with 1.6 GBs coming from Windows Update files and another 900 MBs coming from service pack files. I think it said another 800 MBs or 1 GB from temporary files, but I don't remember that one exactly: the rest were smaller amounts.

I'm surprised you've been running for 4 years and wouldn't save even more space than me after running Disk Cleanup for the first time. Do you have it configured somehow to throw away all those files right away, no restore points, etc.? I'd think you'd gain much more from a cleanup than me.
If I remember right, I had deleted the SP1 installation files after it was installed. And the temporary files I throw out all the time with CCleaner.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Oct 2013   #9

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

I just minimized the pagefile and gained back another 3-3.5 GB of disk space, as it was the same size as my RAM before, 4 GB. I was going to completely disable it, but Windows then said that it won't be able to write system errors to disk if it crashes without the pagefile, so I set the min/max to 250/500 MB instead and rebooted.

I'm looking for more ways to recover disk space. My 124 GB SanDisk SSD has 115 GiB of usable space: 101 GiB goes to the main partition, 10 GiB for a recovery partition, and 4 GiB for a hibernate partition. What's the best way to backup the recovery partition and remove it, reclaiming that space?

I currently have Windows backup configured for a 1 TB external drive that I attach once a month: does it put the recovery partition on there too? I see no point in keeping such a large recovery partition on my SSD if I can always connect an external drive and recover from there. Any advice or links would be appreciated, as I don't see much good info on this from my googling so far.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Oct 2013   #10

Win 7 Pro x64 SP1, Win 7 Ult x86 SP1
 
 

It looks like you marked this thread as solved while I was writing this post.
But, I'll post my thoughts in case you are still interested.

You should post a screen print of your Disk Management.
Disk Management - Post a Screen Capture Image
Are you running out of space on the "C" partition, or do you just want to maximize the space available?

If you have not already done so, you should create the Recovery discs for your PC.
PC manufactures (OEM) include a utility to create these discs.

You should be able to mount your backup image (VHD) to see if the Recovery Partition is in it.
System Image - Extract Files Using Disk Management

You should have 2 options to recover your PC to "factory condition", the way it was when you bought it.
Using the Recovery Partition, or using the Recovery discs if the Recovery Partition is deleted or corrupt.
If the recovery partition is in a backup image and can be used to recover as a 3rd option...I don't know.

My PCs are home-built, so I don't have an OEM Recovery Partition or OEM Recovery Discs.
I create my own System Backup Images for recovery.

If you really want to get the most out of the PC, you should consider a Clean Reinstall.
Read this tutorial and see what you think.
Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7

If I bought a new OEM PC, I would do a Clean Reinstall asap to get rid of the bloatware and still be covered by warranty...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Large Windows and winsxs folders taking up too much space




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