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I'm a complete amateur, 66, with eyestrain trying to cope with this stuff - no idea what is going on, least of all why I buy a bit of software and can't just use it but have to spend infinite time messing about with it and getting lost in jargon and obscure terms. So answer please in simplest possible terms. My c:windows/winsxs/manifestcache is 11Gb of a 44Gb drive and is too big to defrag. Can I erase bits of it? Computer often spends a few merry hours doing nothing but trying to download SP1 without success, I've followed the help advice to delete (forgotten what) but it doesn't help. Don't know if this is connected or not. Otherwise computer runs happily. Thanks v much Tom

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This is likely to be migrated to SO's sister site, superuser.com, soon. –  Pekka 웃 Sep 5 '10 at 12:21
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migrated from stackoverflow.com Sep 5 '10 at 20:26

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2 Answers

'The easiset way is to buy a bigger drive.' may be true, however a statement like that doesn't help this guy move forward from where he's at.

It may be the easiest course of action to go ahead and re-install a fresh copy of Windows on a more suitable hard drive- or even buy a new computer with it pre-installed, but I imagine the goal here is to do what we can with what we've got, and make this program work like it needs to.

I often wonder myself, why can't this just freakin work. Yup, that's why I'm here browsing, because mine doesn't either, and I came across this and maybe can be helpful.

Welcome to computers, Tom- like working on your car, there's always something.

Tom, we'll need to know some details with regard to which Operating System you have. That is, which Windows is it? It's hard for us to guess based on the information you've provided, since a few different versions have a WinSXS folder. I'm guessing since it's installed to such a small drive, it's not Vista, though I could be mistaken.

And to reiterate what's already been said, I certainly wouldn't go deleting anything in that huge WinSXS folder. Trouble ensues from what I read. Better to take a different approach than risk further entanglement in a the mess that comes with that.

Also, what exactly are we trying to accomplish?

You said:

'I buy a bit of software and can't just use it but have to spend infinite time messing about with it'

To me that indicated that you've bought something to run on the computer. But maybe you're talking about just what makes up the computer. ie. Windows.

Are you referring to Windows not 'just working', or something else, like a game or something?

You also said:

'Computer often spends a few merry hours doing nothing but trying to download SP1 without success'

To me that indicates that Windows isn't able to finish updating itself. SP1 is an update for Windows, to keep the computer safe from mysterious evils on the internet.

If that's the case this may not be so bad. These are common problems and these days there are automatic tools that can fix that. Not as bad as 1998 anymore.

OK, Tom?

Which Windows is this?

-and-

Is this SP1 issue the only problem or is there more?

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From my own, excruciatingly painful experience with WinSXS, I think the bottom line is: No, you can't delete parts of it.

The easiest way is to buy a bigger drive. (The space it eats up should be the only negative effect you're experiencing.)

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