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According to Microsoft's documentation an installation of XP SP3 peaks at 1.5GB

However, in my case the actual size of C:\WINDOWS is 12 GB, amounting to a ten-fold difference.

Neither CCleaner nor Disk Cleanup were able to find anything significant but obviously something must be hiding somewhere.

A quick scan with WinDirStat revealed the following:

C:\WINDOWS\Installer               4.3 GB
C:\WINDOWS\system32                1.7 GB
C:\WINDOWS\$hf_mig$                1.4 GB
C:\WINDOWS\assembly                1.3 GB
C:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET           780 MB
C:\WINDOWS\ServicePackFiles        588 MB
C:\WINDOWS\SoftwareDistribution    485 MB

Any tools or suggestions for wiping at least some of it?

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AFAIK a vanilla (completely clean) install of XPSP3 will indeed peak at 1.5GB, but once you start throwing years worth of updates at it the size will increase dramatically. 12GB does seem a bit excessive though. – tombull89 Apr 27 '11 at 12:08
I tried installing XPSP3 on a netbook with a 4GB SSD. I could get everything installed for a vanilla instance with the exception of one .Net update. But I was pushing ~3.7GB without hard disk compression. – Patrick Apr 27 '11 at 14:11
You can always use nLite. Just crop off everything you can and there you go. – Shiki Apr 29 '11 at 7:36
up vote 5 down vote accepted
  • The Installer directory contains details of programs you have installed. So it will grow and grow as you install new programs. To reduce it you could uninstall some programs you don't use. The sheer size of this directory suggest to me that either you must have a lot of programs installed or there are lots of duplicate files. How many programs do you have at the moment?

  • Since you have .NET installed it will use quite a lot of space and the sizes for the Microsoft.NET and assembly folders look quite normal. I doubt Microsoft factor this in when they quote 1.5GB. If you don't use any .NET applications I think you should be able to remove .NET via the Control Panel -> Add / Remove Programs, although you could find this breaks something.

  • Have you checked you don't have a lot of old System Restore files left over? They will inflate the size of the system32 folder quite considerably.

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