I am trying to reduce the size of my WinSxS folder by following this article on How-To Geek:


In there it says:

To clean up such update files, open the Disk Cleanup wizard (tap the Windows key, type “disk cleanup” into the Start menu, and press Enter). Click the Clean up System Files button, enable the Windows Update Cleanup option and click OK. If you’ve been using your Windows 7 system for a few years, you’ll likely be able to free several gigabytes of space.

Well, I have been using my Windows 7 (Ultimate, 32-bit, VMWare VM) for several years, running Windows Update regularly, but for some reason my Disk Cleaner wizard is not giving me the "Clean up System Files" button:

enter image description here

One may say, that this is because there is nothing to clean up but I have verified that my monstrous 5.7GB WinSxS folder indeed contains junk from prior years.

I also tried to use CCleaner but to no avail.

Any idea what I am missing?

== UPDATE ==

After @magicandre1981 kindly explaining how to find that button and that I was essentially already running as if the button were pressed (by virtue of running it as Administrator), I tried DISM:

DISM /online /cleanup-Image /spsuperseded

enter image description here

It appears that DISM does what Disk Cleanup does for system files. Is that so?


1 Answer 1


It already shows you all options to clean system files (system service pack cleanup and the dialog more options are a system task).

Running it as normal user doesn't show it and shwos the button:

enter image description here

This happens if you run %windir%\system32\cleanmgr.exe always as admin or disabled the UAC completely, here cleanmgr.exe always runs as admin.

  • Indeed, I ran it as Administrator. Now when I run it as a standard user I can see the button and clicking it shows the same as the screenshot in my original posting. Accepting +1. Now I have to figure out how to reduce the size of that WinSxS folder because that article on How-To Geek is useless to me in light of the fact that Disk Cleanup wizard shows nothing to cleanup. Feb 18, 2016 at 5:39
  • There is nothing to reduce. WinSxS is the size it needs to be, if you want all recovery options available to you, any removal of a component will mean any system file corruption will result in recovery options being unavailable to you.
    – Ramhound
    Feb 18, 2016 at 13:18
  • 1
    if you can't see the WindowsUpdate Cleanup option, you already removed all possible old updates (check the file C:\Windows\Logs\CBS\DeepClean.log for more details) There is a 3rd party tool called Rebase which claims to do more cleanup, but you have to pay for it: msfn.org/board/topic/174816-windows-7-resetbase-backport Feb 18, 2016 at 16:46
  • @magicandre1981 There is no C:\Windows\Logs\CBS\DeepClean.log in my system (CBS subdirectory exists but it's empty). I might try DISM.exe /online /Cleanup-Image /StartComponentCleanup /ResetBase (after careful consideration). Feb 18, 2016 at 17:17
  • /ResetBase is not available in Win7, only in 8.1 (also not in Win10). I see the file on my Win7 Desktop PC after installing this update: support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2852386 Feb 19, 2016 at 5:23

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