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Windows 7: Can't Delete Old Updates (winsxs Folder)


01 Mar 2014   #1

7 Home Premium x64
 
 
Can't Delete Old Updates (winsxs Folder)

Hello,

I used to be able to access an option in the Disk Cleanup tool (cleanmgr.exe) to delete old Updates files. Now, the tool merely scans for updates but does not display the appropriate checkbox. My winsxs folder is growing out of control. Installing a couple of recent updates (like 1GB of Office updates and a new 400MB driver package for my video card) is slowly eating away the remainder of my SSD.

The longest scan in cleanmgr is for Windows Update Cleanup, and I know there are a lot of updates to clean, but there is no option at the end of it to do anything about that.





There should be a checkbox in here for the updates. I was able to do this before and save 7GB in one bang, but now there's no option anymore and I have no idea why.



Where the heck is this tickbox?




Thanks.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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01 Mar 2014   #2
Microsoft MVP

64-bit Windows 8.1 Enterprise
 
 

Hello Te3k,

The tutorial below can help show you how to add it back.

Windows Updates - Remove Outdated Updates in Windows 7
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Mar 2014   #3

7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Thanks for the link. I tried everything in that thread, with no success. The update has already been applied. Just in case, I tried to manually download and install it, but got a prompt saying it was already installed. Plus, I had run it before in the past. I was definitely running cleanmgr with administrator privileges.

The only thing I can think of is that the box isn't showing up because the scan's not detecting any available updates to remove (which is weird, because in that case it should be there anyway showing "0 bytes" like all the other ones). But this doesn't make sense to me, because it's been a few months since I've last run the cleaner and my winsxs directory has grown substantially since then (doubled). Plenty of updates have been installed.

Should it really be the case that if you're downloading a 1GB Office update that you should actually lose 1GB disk space? Shouldn't the new modules simply replace the old, resulting in a <1GB net disk-space loss? Or is a backup of the old update copied to the winsxs directory? It's starting to look frustratingly redundant.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


01 Mar 2014   #4
Microsoft MVP

64-bit Windows 8.1 Enterprise
 
 

Do you have all Windows Updates installed?

You might see if uninstalling and reinstalling this update with a restart between each may be able to fix and add it back.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Mar 2014   #5

Windows 7 Pro-x64
 
 

Yes, in most cases it stays there. The reason is that most updates have the option to uninstall so the previous version has to come from someplace. Check the size of your pagefile and consider moving temporary files off the SSD to a HDD.

Here's my C drive.


Attached Images
 
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Mar 2014   #6

7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Brink View Post
Do you have all Windows Updates installed?

You might see if uninstalling and reinstalling this update with a restart between each may be able to fix and add it back.
Thanks.

I do have all updates installed. An uninstall/reinstall of that particular update (with reboots in-between) had no effect, but thanks for the suggestion.

Carwiz, my pagefile is disabled, as instructed by a SSD-optimisation guide I followed a few years ago (I've experienced no problems and I have 16GB RAM to compensate, although with just 6GB there were no problems either).

Honestly, it seems wasteful to have tens of gigabytes of data sitting on the disk "just in case I uninstall an update". I've never had reason to uninstall an update. This is something the user should have control over, not be forced to endure.

What would happen if I force-deleted the entire winsxs directory? Would that result in system crash, or would that merely preclude my ability to uninstall existing updates?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Mar 2014   #7

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

I do not recommend doing this. Let Windows 7 take care of it.


Quote:
]What would happen if I force-deleted the entire winsxs directory?
whs
Senior Member






Join Date: Jan 2009

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If you want to brick your system go ahead. But the smart man stays off winsxs which is about the most inportant folder in your system

I use Intel SSD's and this is the setting I use.
Notice I have it set to let Windows 7 take care of such thing.

Please read this Thread. It will explain better what Winxsx is and does.

WinSXS Folder not actually consuming lots of space

Name:  VIRTUAL MEMORY TODAY.JPG
Views: 23
Size:  66.6 KB

This is what works for me; a tutorial by Bare Foot Kid.
It includes old Windows Update cleaning.

Disk Cleanup : Extended


My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Mar 2014   #8

7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Thanks. The disk cleanup extended tutorial linked above did lead to a ton of options showing up in the dialog, but in the end, it didn't clean anything. I still have a 93% full disk, just like before, after reboot.

I understand that the winsxs directory is full of hardlinked files, but my disk space has been vanishing nonetheless. I'd love it if Windows 7 took care of winsxs like you recommend, but it just isn't doing that. It's getting to the point where perhaps I just won't install giant updates anymore, because old versions of them pile up on the drive.

As mentioned, I've already disabled the paging file, therefore it is currently set to 0MB. I freed more space by deleting all Windows backups, and allocating just 1% of the drive to that (the smallest setting). I'm contemplating disabling Windows backup entirely, because I never use it.

I used to have 20GB free. I haven't installed any new programs since then, yet I'm down to my last 8GB diskspace. The only thing I've done is install every update as it rolls out. I'm confident that they are responsible for my lack of space, and there doesn't seem to be anything I can do about it. Perhaps I'll need to reformat the drive and install a version of Windows with all updates slipstreamed so that I don't have doubles of them populating my Windows directory. It really is ridiculous of the system to go, "Hey, just in case you ever want to uninstall Windows Update KB259595 from 2010, I'll just go ahead and leave the other version here... times several hundred". If I want to make a backup I'll make one, but the operating system shouldn't be forcing me to do that on its own.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Mar 2014   #9

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

I have found that Windows 7 will not do many things when a drive is that full.
To put it simple, Windows 7 need a little wiggle room to work properly.
Remove other things like programs until you get the free space back or get a bigger drive.

From post #8

Quote:
I still have a 93% full disk, just like before, after reboot.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Mar 2014   #10

7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Fine, I cleared it down to 82% full by reducing some things. I'm still not happy about not being able to remove old Windows Updates, which I think are hogging the drive.

Tell me, if you do the scan, will it even show up as an option for you if there are none to be removed? Will it say "Windows Update Cleanup: 0 Bytes" in the cleanmgr window after scan is complete? Or, will you just not see the checkbox? Because I'm concerned that I'm not seeing the checkbox at all (see OP), and I'd like to know if that's normal behaviour.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Can't Delete Old Updates (winsxs Folder)




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