I am preparing to move my current Windows 7 installation from my hard disk to a solid state drive as the last step in my recent PC upgrade build. One of the things that I have noticed while trying to limit the size of my installation is the size of some of the folders in the Windows directory, particularly the winsxs folder.
Using the tool windirstat I discovered that most of my boot drive usage was my user folder (no surprise there) which I will be moving to a new hard disk drive and the Windows folder (which obviously would be running on the SSD). My Windows folder was clocking in at a whopping 30GB! I cleaned up the normal places, deleting temp files and remnants left over from patch installs and Windows Update but digging into my Windows folder I see that the folder C:\Windows\winsxs is over 12.38GB.
My first inclination was to delete all the contents here, but a quick search unearthed the following information:
1 – The winsxs/Backup folder: Windows Resource Protection (Vista and later) keeps a dllcache here of the many system files that you can replace with the ‘sfc /scannow’ command to fix Windows if its broken.
2 – Manifests and Assemblies: Windows comes loaded with a bunch of shared manifests and assemblies which programs can call to be loaded. Developers can also install their own private assembly in the winsxs folder. When an app starts, side-by-side first searches for the assembly among the shared assemblies in the winsxsfolder and if not found, then searches for a private assembly in the installation folder for the program.
I guess these things mean that I shouldn’t delete willy nilly here. But I am certain that there must be things inside this folder that I am not using any more. The folders here also seem to contain old versions of dlls and Windows files that are superseded by updates and service packs. This allows you to be able to uninstall updates and service packs because the old versions are still available. Since there are monthly updates for Windows operating systems it is quickly apparent where the bulk of the data in this folder is coming from.
There is a command that you can run that will remove the superseded files, thus cleaning up the winsxs folder, but also removing the capability of uninstalling any service packs. Since uninstalling service packs is not something that I usually do anyway I gave it a shot.
DISM.exe used with the following command via the command prompt:
dism /online /cleanup-image /spsuperseded
After running this, my winsxs folder went from the 12.38GB to just over 7GB. Still big, but for those of you that have been running an Windows installation for years this is a quick and easy way to remove some of the crap that the OS generates over time.
Incoming search terms:
- clean winsxs
- how to clean winsxs
- clean winsxs windows 7
- winsxs clean
- clean winsxs folder
- winsxs cleanup windows 7
- how to clean winsxs folder
- how to clean winsxs windows 7
- winsxs folder cleanup windows 7
- cleaning winsxs