1. #1
    mh2
    mh2 is offline New Member
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    Default WinSxS folder cleanup - How to shrink the winsxs directory?

    Hi, has anyone got any updates on how to shrink the winsxs directory? Mine has now eaten the last of my hard drive space (and I mean the last - I have 8k free), and I have a laptop, so I can't just install a 2nd drive. I haven't installed any software over the last year, and yet this keep on growing - all I have done are MS updates. I have seen suggestions that I remove software installed, but TBQH I haven't really put much on there. There seem to be a whole load of AMD directories in there, and as my system is an intel I don't know why on earth they would be there? Or are there any good free tools to clean this out?

    I've also run the VSP1CLN.exe and that removed nothing (or maybe about 6k, but nothing more).

    Any suggestions would be gratefully received

  2. #2
    HappyAndyK's Avatar
    HappyAndyK is online now Site Administrator
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    If you delete components from the WinSxS folder like the manifest or the assemblies, etc, you could be in trouble. Each system would react differently. What may work for one could break another! For instance, if you install a program that requires that particular assembly, which you may have deleted, then that program will just not run! Compressing the folder is also a no-no, as it could cause problems during WindowsUpdates or while installing a Hotfix.

    The safest way to clean it, is by simply uninstalling applications which you don't require. However, this too is not fool proof, as many applications still leave behind their files here, since they may be shared between other applications. So the probability of dud unused dll's being left behind is quite high.
    More at The Secret Of Windows 7 / Vista Winsxs Folder.

  3. #3
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    It is not winsxs itself that takes the space (although it comes up big in properties) winsxs is like a container of pointers to system files. The size you see is the size of those underlying files. It is not recommended to play with it.

    If you have no space on your disk left, I suggest either of the following:

    1. buy a larger disk and transfer your installation with Acronis
    2. move some of your large files (e.g. videos, music, pictures) to an external disk or to a second internal disk (if it is a desktop)
    3. shrink the shadowstorage - that would be the measure of last resort because the shadows (restore points) are useful to have.

  4. #4
    mh2
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    Thanks for those suggestions. Unfortunately, 1 isn't possible, and I can't do 2 as it is pretty much just windows on that partition (and I don't have much on the other partitions that I can remove) - plus even if I did manage to scrape a bit of space, then (going on past experience) it will just fill up again with more winsxs files. It's up to 10Gb, which given that vistas installation reqs are 15gb seems rather insane.
    How do I shrink the shadow storage? I have run vssadmin list shadows and list shadowstorage but they come up with "No items found that satisfy the query."

  5. #5
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    From what you report it looks like you have no shadowcopies enabled. What is a little strange though is that list shadowstorage did not show anything. It should have shown at least 300MB which is the minimum shadowstorage allocated.

  6. #6
    mh2
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    I _think_ I read somewhere that it will deallocate space to these if the disk space gets really low, so that could be why there isn't any ATM.

    I looked again, installed a flash 10 update that came up, then had a purge of any small progs that I haven't used in a while, in case these were creating DLL hell and were adding to the winsxs directory, removing about 100mb of progs (I reckon). My free disk space went from 300Mb to...... 54Mb - somehow removing those progs + the flash update used up another 250Mb of data.

    My winsxs directory _still_ didnt shrink - it's still sitting at 10.5 Gb - _surely_ there must be something I can do to clear this down a bit?

  7. #7
    Cithel is offline Senior Member
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    Disclaimer:
    There is a way to do this but you need to know that doing so may prevent Windows Update and MSI from functioning properly afterward, you may lose data, you may have to reinstall your OS from scratch. I'm not kidding. Given the risks I would uninstall programs to gain space or purchase a bigger drive or just about anything else before I did this on a production machine. At the very least I would backup ALL data and be prepared to rebuild the OS from scratch.

    I'm not going to post the answer here and if you want details send me a PM and I'll give you the info. I don't want other people to just hit a link, do something without reading about it, wiping out their system and blaming me or the forum.

  8. #8
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    I like to emphasize again: Leave winsxs alone. At best you can gain a few megabytes. But in 90% of the cases, your system will go belly up when you muck around with it.

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    Cithel is offline Senior Member
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    I guess I should have made the disclaimer stronger?

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