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This is after installation (I haven't got the option of nLite or similar tools to slim the install disc).

I'll be taking a hard disk image (using Norton Ghost running off a BartPE CD). To be exact, I'm running XP SP3.

To clean and minimise the size of the image, I remove any apps I don't need, switch off hibernation and then reboot into BartPE. In BartPE, I then usually delete the pagefile.sys, clear the temp directories, HotFix uninstallers and Windows Updates installers (J:\WINDOWS\SoftwareDistribution) using CCleaner and finally defrag using MyDefrag to pull everything together.

Are there any other specific directories/files (Windows or otherwise) I can safely remove without causing any headaches?

  • c:\WINDOWS\ie8updates ?
  • c:\WINDOWS\Downloaded Installations ?
  • etc.

Any experience of your suggested deletions would be useful too.

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As Tofystedeth remarks, rollback information for Windows Update is kept in C:\Windows in hidden folders with names $NtUninstallKB#######$ which, if the system is stable with those patches can be deleted.

If your XP system is not vanilla SP3, then this directory can be quite large.

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winsxs is for Side-by-Side Assembly which lets programs that require a specific version of a DLL use it even if there is a newer version installed on the system. Rollback information for Windows Update is kept in C:\Windows in hidden folders with names $NtUninstallKB#######$ which, if the system is stable with those patches can be deleted. I wouldn't touch winsxs. –  Tofystedeth Oct 4 '10 at 21:42
    
@Tofystedeth: I got the wrong directory, so I updated the answer with your remark. –  harrymc Oct 5 '10 at 4:51
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