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Why does the /winsxs folder grow so large, and can it be made smaller?

I know there are lots of posts about the WinSxS folder, but I have yet to find any useful information about shrinking it. I have already tried running the two service pack removal tools.

The folder totals a massive 16 GB (about 10% of the entire drive!).

If anyone has any pearls of wisdom then please share them.

marked as duplicate by Tom Wijsman, Indrek, 3498DB, CharlieRB, Canadian Luke Sep 7 '12 at 6:51

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.


The size of the WinSxS folder is misleading. Most of it's contents are hard-links to other locations. Hard-links are like shortcuts, but at a lower level such that deleting the link also deletes the original and the link shows in Windows Explorer as using the size of the entire file, even though it takes even less disk space than a normal shortcut.

Thus, the folder is not really using anywhere close to 16GB.

  • Even so, an OS should never need anywhere above 2GB of disk space for its files. Signs of bloat IMHO. And to top it off, MS makes wants to make it hard to opt out of retaining crap and bloat. – user55570 Oct 7 '17 at 6:37

I don't think there is much you can do about the size.


There is this application created for Vista, don't know if I trust it or not.