I know it can't be deleted and while there are some posts that talk about making it smaller, they have not worked for me.

At this point my 18 GB winsxs folder is taking up almost half of the drive that I have the OS on. I have tons of space on other drives though - can I move it?


Yes, you can. Read this.

Be warned: If you move it, Windows can get unstable, and BTW they'll be regenerated at some point.

That 18 GB isn't real since a lot of those files are hardlinks to files elsewhere and are counted twice.

I've been obsessed with winsxs starting with Windows Vista and after with Windows 7 until I gave it up.

If you want to do it, I recommend to read blog post Disk Space before.

Don't delete it!


Moving the WinSxS is not advisable because doing so can severely break your system.

In short, Winsxs, which stands for ‘Windows Side By Side’, is Windows native assembly cache. Libraries which are being by multiple applications are stored there. This feature was first introduced, in Windows ME and was considered as Microsoft’s solution to the so-called ‘dll hell’ issues that plagued Windows 9x.

In that folder are all the dlls that can be used by various different applications, the only way to reduce its size is by uninstalling applications.

There's more information on the WinSxS folder here.

As mentioned, Windows stores the old dll’s and library components in the WinSxS folder. Now if a newer version of this file is a part of the OS, but a particular application requires a particular older version for running, then the older version from the winsxs folder will be used, leaving the newer version in its present place, for other applications which may require it.

So obviously you cannot delete this directory or move it elsewhere. Nor is it advisable to delete anything here, as such a step could probably make your applications un-workable or even break your system! If you have many applications installed, you can expect to have a jumbo sized winsxs folder.

  • 3
    Moreover, this folder is full of hard links, e.g. its total size is misleading as these same files are referenced from other directories on your SSD.
    – haimg
    Jan 17 '12 at 23:20
  • This could keep going on for another page or 2. It is the systems parts and pieces? Plus it is the system install disk? hard links do not work to another disk only the same disk? And every update and MS patch is layered on top of the pile, so those packages can be removed? Any installs following the proper new routine also get stacked up on top of each other there, so they can be removed? There are repeats for sure, and completly unnesssiary items for the system exsiting there? " the only way to remove . . " is to remove from top down besides. it cannot be compressed?
    – Psycogeek
    Jan 18 '12 at 0:01
  • So even if you can move the directory to another filesystem, you would still end up with what would have been hardlink(s) in e.g. system32, but as copies instead of hardlinks because hardlinks only work within the same filesystem. So you'd end up actually wasting space this way.
    – SamB
    Sep 17 '15 at 18:58

You can move WinSXS. I have done it before, but it's not easy. The best way is to attach the SSD to another computer, and use that computer to establish the junctions.

However, there is no reason to move the WinSXS folder. WinSXS is, most likely, not much bigger than a few hundred megabytes. This discussion talks about WinSXS and the misconception that its taking up a lot of space. As it turns out, the problem is with Windows Explorer incorrectly reporting the size of the folder, not the size of the folder itself.

  • 1
    That discussion is true but misses a key point. On a newly installed Windows the winsxs is mostly hardlink to dlls elswhere. But when a dll is updated the old version is moved to winsxs and a hardlink to the new one is established. So if you have five versions of a dll four of them will be in winsxs and the fifth, newset one will have a hardlink to it. So after a few years of installs and updates you can end up with many GiB of real dlls in winsxs in addition to the hardlinks.
    – Mr Alpha
    Jan 17 '12 at 23:38
  • 1
    @nick2253 If you can make my system use actual disk space of " a few hundered megs" for actual items stored in the SXS folder, and magically reduce the number of actual disk clusters used for the files stored in there to say less than 1 Gig. I got $100 for you to complete the job. There is a misconception in the misconceptions, from people who have A web browser, and A video card with no updates and no added programs or updates to drivers and programs :-)
    – Psycogeek
    Jan 17 '12 at 23:43
  • 1
    support.microsoft.com/kb/2592038 The Windows component store (C:\Windows\winsxs) directory is used during servicing operations within Windows installations. . not limited to, Windows Update, Service Pack and hotfix installations. The component store contains all of the files needed for a Windows installation and any updates to those files are also held within the component store as they are installed. This will cause the component store to grow over time as more updates, features or roles are added to the installation.
    – Psycogeek
    Jan 18 '12 at 0:12
  • @Psycogeek I'm sorry, but I honestly am not sure what you're saying.
    – Nick2253
    Jan 18 '12 at 1:56
  • 2
    You can't hardlink across volumes!! At best, it will be a Junction or Symlink.
    – surfasb
    Jan 18 '12 at 3:44

It's a bad idea. It's like asking to move the old System32 folder to a different folder. I wouldn't dare do that on an older version of Windows.

If anything, I'd try moving the %Windir%\Installer directory.

That directory holds all the files necessary to reinstall your programs. WinSXS folder is heavily integrated into the system while the \Installer folder is used less often.

I haven't tried this yet though.


Nonsense! I move the winsxs folder on any install I'm fortunate enough to have another disk to send it to.

Now, the method of moving it is probably different than what you are thinking.

1) Close any running applications (This is important).

2) Copy your winsxs folder to another location (preferably off of your SSD :)

3) Now comes the magic: You are going to create a junction point to literally trick Windows into thinking the winsxs folder is in the same place.

3a) Start > Run > Type "mklink /J "c:\Windows\winsxs" "d:\winsxs"

The mklink command functions as such: mklink LINK TARGET, so in the above example the c:\Windows\winsxs acts as the LINK location where you want to trick Windows into thinking it still exists and the TARGET location is of course the d:\winsxs on another drive.

The only real drawback of this is if you manage to boot your computer without the other location and then you try to launch an application. However, if you are running an internal drive configuration then I guess I wouldn't worry about it.

I use this method ALL THE TIME for moving certain games in and out of the Steam folder on my gaming computers at home and even successfully moved the Adobe Creative Suite's MASSIVE install to one single location on another drive off of my wife's SSD.


I would NEVER do this in an Enterprise environment but at home it's just golden.

  • Tried to do this on a Win2k8 test machine that I had a disk space shortage on. No ball unfortunately. mklink failed since winsxs already existed in C:\windows. I tried to move/rename winsxs but Windows refused to allow me to even when I took ownership of the folder :/ Feb 20 '15 at 14:03

Have a look at this link: how to move winsxs folder.

It worked for me on a virtual machine with limited disk space on the main partition, hence the need to move it to another one.

  • 1
    Please don't post link-only answers. If the link breaks your answer becomes useless for future visitors. Copy the contents or a precis here and include a mention to the website/author.
    – Tog
    Jan 8 '14 at 11:17

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