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I tried to remove all known junks from the window dir e.g. $NTUninstall..., temp files, etc and setting no pagefile. But I still got around 4GB usage in c: after fresh installation of the windows(my installation path is winxp sp2 from the CD, then WindowsUpdate to SP3/IE8). Is it possible to go down further? I'm sure there are a lot of unneeded files in window dir but not sure which one to remove. Does anyone ever achieved a smaller size?

If you want to know why, I'm running WinXp SP3 in a Virtual Machine (I'm using VirtualBox) and needed to create a smallest possible OS image to be stored in a USB flash drive.

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

depends on how adventurous you are - you could use nlite to remove components - drivers for example - before install. Smallest i've gotten it was about 256 mb, with some serious agressive pruning, and running on UPX on system files - risky, and i got lucky, but you have to do it on a running system, and cross your fingers - if you do it to the wrong file, the system might end unbootable.

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nlite is great for installing Windows on a netbook with a small SSD –  brandon927 Apr 2 '11 at 8:04
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Use powercfg -H off to make sure Hibernate is off (sounds like it is). Use the control panel -> system -> Advanced to reduce the page file to 256MB. Those are the biggest consumers of space.

If you really want a small XP install, you're going to want to get a mini-XP boot CD. Those are customized XP installs that strip out components, but it can also cause problems with programs that expect those components to be there.

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