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I've tried the cmd command and Windows cleaner with elevated privileges, neither has cleaned winsxs folder. It says that the task has been completed in the CMD, but winsxs is still 14gb. I'm using Windows 7 Home Premium x64.

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migrated from serverfault.com Sep 20 '13 at 18:26

This question came from our site for professional system and network administrators.

marked as duplicate by Synetech, Kevin Panko, Andrew Lambert, Dave Rook, Carl B Dec 20 '13 at 14:40

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What does du report it's space as used? Also check your entire Windows directory with du otherwise you will be double counting files. –  Scott Chamberlain Sep 20 '13 at 18:31
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possible duplicate of 16GB winsxs folder on windows vista. Also check Can winsxs be moved and if so how? for more information. –  Doktoro Reichard Sep 20 '13 at 18:31

3 Answers 3

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The only way to cleanup the WinSxS folder is to check all installed Updates and look which updates are replaced by newer updates and remove those old updates. In Windows 8 Microsoft added an automatic cleanup which does the check for you and removes the updates.

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You can get a hotfix for Windows 7 SP1 now that fixes this as well: support.microsoft.com/kb/2852386 –  Mark Henderson Oct 9 '13 at 0:53
    
@MarkHenderson thanks for pointing to the KB article. I'll try it later and look if it works the same way like Windows 8. –  magicandre1981 Oct 9 '13 at 4:03
    
the update has some limitations and bugs and removes updates which are not replaced by newer ones. So it is better to wait for a newer version of the fix. –  magicandre1981 Oct 9 '13 at 18:02

Windows 7's KB 2852386 update, "Update is available that enables you to delete outdated Windows updates by using a new option in the Disk Cleanup wizard in Windows 7 SP1", now allows Disk Cleanup to clean up the WinSxS folder. From KB 2852386's Knowledge Article page:

This article describes an update for the Disk Cleanup wizard in Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1).

This update adds a new plugin to the Disk Cleanup wizard. After you install this update, you can use the Windows Update Cleanup option to delete Windows updates that you no longer need.

Notes

  • The Windows Update Cleanup option is available only when the Disk Cleanup wizard detects Windows updates that you do not need on the computer.
  • To enable you to roll back to previous updates, updates are stored in the WinSxS store even after they are superseded by later updates. Therefore, after you run the Disk Cleanup wizard, you may be unable to roll back to a superseded update. If you want to roll back to a superseded update that the Disk Cleanup wizard deletes, you can manually install the update.

More info at KB 2852386's Knowledge Article page

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The cleaning command only cleans the files used by Windows Update on upgrading to Windows SP1 (see this for more information). At any rate, the difference in size before and after is relative for most users, but it ranges about the 1GB mark.

There are good reasons not to wipe the wiwsxs folder completely. Quoting from Wikipedia:

From Vista onward the operating system also uses WinSxS for its core components.

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