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A PC I have has Windows 7 installed on a 40 GB SSD, and I bought a Windows 8 upgrade for it. The current Windows folder on it however is 22 GB, that's after removing hibernation, turning off the pagefile and removing all extra programs/features. So even if I purge every other file and folder, the Windows folder itself takes more than half the disk.

The PC also has a 1 TB HDD, but the upgrade installer didn't give me any options about choosing another drive.

So, is my only option to reinstall Windows 7 on a larger drive, then proceed with the Windows 8 upgrade? Or is there anything I can remove from the Windows folder that while might be dangerous for long term usage, is fine for the few minutes I need to get Windows 8 installing?

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NO there is nothing you can do to chop down the size. All that extra space is taken up by DLL backaups and all sorts of things. Windows will decide to delete them in its own time but you cant just go and delete them or windows will fail.

Just do the upgrade and you will be fine. Windows will know what to keep and what to dump. It is likely that it will stay the same size or grow by 5 to 8 gb. If you are just using the SSD for Windows then that will be great. If you are installing applciations and similar then you will run out of space quickly.


  • You have moved the swap file off the SSD correct? It is better to have it on a mechanical drive anyway because it is intense in writes. Here is a video that might help you in Windows 8
  • Try and get some more space by using this in elevated terminal dism /online /cleanup-image /spsuperseded /hidesp to remove backup SP files
  • You can try and get some more space by removing some windows features - Using control panel and switching to Windows features. Get rid of games, IE8 and some other obvious stuff
  • Sometimes uninstalling applications will free up space on on the Windows drive because it can remove some backup DLL's and uninstall images.
  • Try using CCleaner to sqish all that hidden cahce files out...
  • Use windirstat to see where there are some hidden files that you can delete- sometimes windows caches files in hidden folder that take up ridiculous space....

Result of my biweekly ccleaner run ...

enter image description here

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I'm perfectly aware the question of how to make Windows smaller comes up a lot, but I'm asking in the context of having the Windows 8 installer proceed by giving it the 20 gigs it needs, it can't right now due to the Windows 7 folder being 2-3 gigs too big. I don't need Windows 7 to function correctly even an hour longer. Just the minutes necessary to get the Windows 8 installer going. And yes I moved the pagefile to the D: drive and disabled it for the C: (the SSD). Can't think of anything else safe-enough to do for this particular circumstance. – deryus Oct 26 '12 at 9:25
Oh right - did you try and clean up temp SP files. check my edit – ppumkin Oct 26 '12 at 9:30
Do not use CCleaner! – Michael K Oct 26 '12 at 9:44
Why- is it spyware in disguise? I have been using it over 5 years on more than 500 computers.. umm?? And always use to clear my cache – ppumkin Oct 26 '12 at 9:50
CCleaner is certainly not spyware, but what cache are you talking about exactly? MRU lists, menu order/tray notification etc. caches hardly take up any space at all in the registry or elsewhere. As for Prefetch data, do not remove it! Anyone suggesting that has no idea what he's doing. Temp files I guess you can get rid of without too many issues. – Karan Oct 26 '12 at 17:14

You can do a clean install of windows 8 on the smaller drive. I did this on a 60GB ssd.

  1. Make a windows boot usb. You can do this with a windows tool from in windows, you will need a windows iso, either 7 or 8.
  2. If you only had a windows 7 iso, go through the windows 8 upgrade assistant to download windows 8 files, then delete all files from the boot usb and then copy over the windows 8 files in C:\ESD. (That might not be the full path, the end result should be very similar, quite a few files and folders in the root of the usb.)
  3. boot from that usb and do a clean install using whole drive.
  4. Your license may not work if you accidentally formatted the drive as it will think you didn't upgrade. You can add in a registry key and run a command to fix this. This is easy to find on the web, and is the same method as used for windows 7 upgrade licenses.

Hope it works!

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I have my windows 7 down to 7.55gb before updates.

I used this and in one of the settings on services I selected barebones settings.

I know this is late but hey, why not. :)

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Can you elaborate on what the actual steps were in this answer? Just providing a link isn't all that helpful if the link were to go away at some point in the future. – slm Feb 16 '13 at 22:40

for Win 7 to Win 8 Upgrade with low space on HDD. You need at least 20 GB. Do all the following steps:

  1. Remove all installed programs.
  2. turn off all the media, games, print features etc.
  3. Clear the paging file size.
  4. Turn off Hibernation.
  5. Sort windows updates by size nd remove the bulkiest ones.

I had 11 GB free of 35 GB. With all the steps mentioned above, I was able to get 21 GB freebd installed windows 8 PRo. later upgraded to 8.1 pro

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