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Windows 7: How to reduce the size of WINSXS?


31 Dec 2011   #1

Win7-64
 
 
How to reduce the size of WINSXS?

My original installation of Windows 7-64, along with all my application software, took about 22GB on my 64GB SSD. Now, after about a year's use, my Windows folder itself is taking up 21.1 GB and my SSD is nearly 50% full.

The WINSXS folder is the single largest consumer of space on my system, and it continues to get larger and larger. It is now at 7GB.

Does anyone know of a way to reduce the size of WINSXS and still retain the ability to perform Restore Points?

PS: Yes, I have already done the post-SP1 cleanup routine. That did help - it gave back about 3 GB, but all of that (and more) has been re-consumed.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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31 Dec 2011   #2

Win 8 Release candidate 8400
 
 

WinSXS isnt just for restore points. It keeps copies of every version of every driver you have installed, so that if one fails on your system SFC can restore it. It also has junction points system wide. IMHO if you edit, or delete, all or part of it, it will cause trouble.

The best way to keep SXS to a minimum is to not install tons of things.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Dec 2011   #3
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Zigzag is absolutely right. Don't mess with winsxs - unless you want to get into deep trouble. You may gain some additional space by deleting the hiberfile - if you do not use hibernation. The command is

powercfg -h off
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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31 Dec 2011   #4

Win 8 Release candidate 8400
 
 

Thanks W

Also if you are really tight, and have 4 gigs of ram or more, you could reduce the size of the page file.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Dec 2011   #5

Win7-64
 
 

Right, I am already aware of, and doing, those things. My Hiberfile & Page file are relocated onto a 500GB HDD and Windows 7 is very happy with them there. I am aware that there are lots of things in WINSXS besides restore points, and I typically keep only 2 or 3 restore points on my system anyway. Plus I have limited the space allowable for restore points to the minimum.

What galls me is just what you said - WINSXS keeps EVERY copy of EVERY driver etc. regardless of what you really need. I can certainly understand keeping 2 or maybe 3 versions of back-level stuff, but every one?

As far as not installing lots of things, well, I admit I do that a lot. I frequently install different pieces of software just to check them out and I typically end up deleting 95% of it all. And yes, I do use an uninstaller program that gets all the leftover bits from both 32 & 64 bit apps.

Seems to me it would be nice to be able to delete stuff from WINSXS that was more than, say 3 months old. If you haven't needed to go back to something in 3 months you most likely never will. So why should it lie around taking up space?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Dec 2011   #6
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Quote:
Seems to me it would be nice to be able to delete stuff from WINSXS that was more than, say 3 months old. If you haven't needed to go back to something in 3 months you most likely never will. So why should it lie around taking up space?
Yeah, that would be nice. But there are many things in life that would be nice yo have and we do not get them - LOL.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Dec 2011   #7

Win 8 Release candidate 8400
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by bbinnard View Post
Right, I am already aware of, and doing, those things. My Hiberfile & Page file are relocated onto a 500GB HDD and Windows 7 is very happy with them there. I am aware that there are lots of things in WINSXS besides restore points, and I typically keep only 2 or 3 restore points on my system anyway. Plus I have limited the space allowable for restore points to the minimum.

What galls me is just what you said - WINSXS keeps EVERY copy of EVERY driver etc. regardless of what you really need. I can certainly understand keeping 2 or maybe 3 versions of back-level stuff, but every one?

As far as not installing lots of things, well, I admit I do that a lot. I frequently install different pieces of software just to check them out and I typically end up deleting 95% of it all. And yes, I do use an uninstaller program that gets all the leftover bits from both 32 & 64 bit apps.

Seems to me it would be nice to be able to delete stuff from WINSXS that was more than, say 3 months old. If you haven't needed to go back to something in 3 months you most likely never will. So why should it lie around taking up space?
They have to keep every version of every driver. Version X might work with application "Y" but App "Z" wont and needs version X+2. Thats why when you install lots of things your SXS grows.

I have had SXS folders of over 30 gigs (and thats 32 bit). BTW when you remove SOME software, the sxs entries are not removed.

My stock Win 7 ( and WIn 8) partition is now 50-75 Gigs.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Jan 2012   #8

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 x2 + x86 + Windows 8.1 x64 x2
 
 

The WINSXS folder is a repository for symbolic links to the various copies of drivers and Dynamic link libraries and not for the files themselves. Due to the way that windows treats these links the size of the WINSXS folder displays the size of the files linked to and not the actual size of the link. If you check the size of the WINSXS folder, from outside windows, you will be surprised at how little space it actually uses.

There was actually a method devised at the start of use of WINSXS that would allow you to move the folder to a second drive, (useful for some OEM systems where the system drive was limited to 30 GB), but in real terms this is not needed.

The retention of unused DLLs and Drivers after an un-install, is not the fault of the WINSXS folder but rather the conservative way that Windows and developers treat unused DLL and Driver files. Many un-install routines err on the side of caution and do not remove a "Shared" files even when it is no longer required, "just in case"

As has been said by others, do not worry about the reported size of WINSXS and if you wish to reduce the overhead due to restore points, do this within the Operating system (the vssadmin command line), these are in any case stored in a hidden folder at the root of the drive and not the WINSXS folder.

Hope this clarifies things
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Jan 2012   #9

Windows 7 home premium x64
 
 

Explorer claimed size of that folder is deceptive. Many of the entries are junctions to other places which take no space, but the overall size is the result of adding all the destinations of those junctions together.
Admittedly very confusing, all the same you should'n't mess with that folder, you'll get fed up with side by side errors.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Jan 2012   #10

Win7-64
 
 

Barman58:

Thanks for your detailed reply. I do understand about Symbolic Links/Junction Links and all that; in fact I have created several of them to move stuff off my SSD boot drive as a means of reducing writes to the SSD and to also free up space on it. (Junction Link Magic is a great utility for doing this.) And I have used VSSADMIN to limit the amount of space for Restore Points.

I also understand the fact that the reported size of WINSXS is not it's actual size. My concern has to do with the fact that my boot drive is a 64GB SSD and that the actual, physical layout of data on the SSD is controlled by the SSD firmware, and not by Windows 7. For reasons having to do with how SSD firmware works, and the way it relocates data without telling Windows 7 about it, my perception is that SSD's need to be about 50% free to function effectively.

So when I see that my SSD drive is about 50% full I start to get concerned.

Perhaps your suggestion to check the status of my SSD from outside Windows is a good one. I wonder - if I booted off the Windows 7 DVD and got to a DOS prompt to check the status of the SSD, would it say it is much less than 50% full? And even if it did, would this be an accurate report? Remember, only the SSD knows what data is on it and where it is; all any OS sees is what the SSD firmware is telling it.
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 How to reduce the size of WINSXS?




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