In typical PCs the Size of Windows Folder is 6 to 8 GB but in my Case its 25GB. How can I delete the unwanted files from the Windows Folder (which, in turn, will optimize my C Drive size).

My system is Windows 7 with 60 GB in C Drive with 59 GB occupied.


A large Windows folder is quite normal. The Windows folder may start out in the 6-8GB range bbut it will grow larger over time. This is normal behavior of Vista/7 and there isn't really much you can do about it.

The cause is winsxs, and the details are described in this blog-post.

For comparison my Windows folder is 29GB, a bit bigger than yours.

The recommendation of running Disk Cleanup in the other answer are worth a try, but I suspect winsxs is the main cause of your large Windows folder.

EDIT Filling in from the comments:

Another folder that can grow big is the Windows\Installer folder, a protected system folder that contains repair and uninstall information for the programs and updates you've installed. There used to be a program by Microsoft called miszap.exe that could clean out orphaned files from here, but there were issues and it is no longer supported.

The fact is that there really is no safe way to clean out stuff from the Windows folder beyond what Disk Cleanup can do. It is also quite normal for the Windows folder to grow over time as updates and programs get installed onto the system.

The one way to get the Windows folder back to a smaller size is to wipe the system and clean-install it from scratch. But even this is a temporary fix as the Windows folder will start to grow again over time.

To keep it from growing too much it is worth installing windows from media with the latest service pack installed and to be frugal in what programs are installed.

  • my winsxs is just 5 GB Jan 16 '12 at 5:44
  • That is not as big as I expected. Another thing that can balloon over time is the windows\installer folder. How big is that one for you?
    – Mr Alpha
    Jan 16 '12 at 12:32
  • i dont have such a folder in Windows Folder Jan 16 '12 at 12:53
  • 5
    I really hate this behaviour of windows, cuz my windows folder is over 50 gb size? What kind of OS should be that size? It's terrible.
    – Johnny_D
    Jan 17 '14 at 9:03
  • 1
    I just want to note, Microsoft heard our cries about the Installer folder and added functionality to disk cleanup tool. It's made available through a system update and (if your searching through system cleanup options) adds the option for "Windows Update Cleanup". You can read more about it at Microsoft's support site: support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2852386 Jun 12 '15 at 18:38

A couple more suggestions.

  1. One of typically large subfolders of Windows is Installer (a hidden system folder). You can move it to a larger drive and replace it with a symbolic link. Here's a cmd command to create the link once you have moved the folder:
    mklink /D C:\Windows\Installer D:\...\Installer
    It's an archive which isn't used often, so moving it to a slower drive won't hurt your performance.
  2. Check the LocalMLS folder (C:\Windows\ServiceProfiles\NetworkService\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Media Player\Art Cache\LocalMLS; the "Art Cache" part is named differently in non-English Windows). It can also grow large by keeping thousands of images. You can delete them all (it's just a cache, no important data), and if you don't use Windows Media Player Network Sharing, you can disable their collection in the future. Run services.msc, find "Windows Media Player Network Sharing Service" in the list (in Russian it's "Служба общих сетевых ресурсов ..."), stop it, then open its properties and change the Startup type item from "Manual" to "Disabled".
  • 3
    Be aware - if, for any reason, link becomes "broken" (it happened with my computer after Windows 10 upgrade), then Windows starts to use the old - c:\windows\Installer folder. But You can move everything again to one place and reset the link again. Sep 14 '16 at 16:00

If you run low on disk space do the following:

Turn off hibernation on desktop PCs:

powercfg -h off

Remove old service pack files:

DISM /online /Cleanup-Image /SpSuperseded

Commands must be run from an elevated command prompt.

Run "disk cleanup"

Run ccleaner.exe from http://www.piriform.com/CCLEANER

I just reclaimed about 20GB of space on my machine.

  • What could "Could not enumerate Service Pack on machine." mean ?
    – bvdb
    Mar 4 '20 at 8:47

You can compress Windows folders, for instance the Install folder. I went from 8,2 GB to ca. 5,8 that way. It does not solve all problems, but safely reduces size on disk a bit.

To compress a folder, do the following:

  • right-click on the folder
  • select Properties
  • click on Advanced...
  • check the "Compress contents to save disk space" option
  • click OK twice

If any errors occur, select "Ignore all", then it's applied to only those folders that can be compressed.

  • Which subfolders of the Windows folder is it reasonable to compress? Doesn't Windows use most of them a lot?
    – einpoklum
    Aug 8 '15 at 10:38
  • 1
    Installer SoftwareDistribution Downloaded Program Files Windows uses them att updates I think
    – Per G
    Sep 7 '15 at 11:27

I posted a little trick to get size of directories or files: Fastest Way to Know the Size of Files or Folders

You first select the elements you want to measure, this by using "Ctrl" key and click over the files or folders without releasing the key. As a second step you click the right button of your mouse and select "Properties" option displayed in the menu.

With the procedure explain lines above you'll finally get here, where you will see the total amount of space used by the chosen elements.

And what is the trick? Well, it's quite simple but I know there are people who may not have acknowledge about this, just use the keys "Alt" and "Enter" and you'll skip the right-clicking thing and selecting "Properties". Yes! just select the elements and press "Alt" + "Enter" to go straight to "Properties" windows.

  • 6
    Doesn't address what was asked in the question.
    – fixer1234
    Jun 11 '15 at 18:38

There is a really great tool that maps the disc usage. The bigger the file/folder the bigger the square on the map. The program is called SequoiaVew and can be found here.

  • Sorry, that required to download a downloader for the application which I refuse to do. Feb 21 '13 at 18:54
  • 1
    i fixed a link to the university website hosting an actuall install exe Feb 21 '13 at 19:51
  • Awesome! Seems like a useful software Feb 22 '13 at 7:51
  • 2
    While this is an interesting tool, you are not addressing OP's question. He did not ask "how do I know which folders take up space".
    – einpoklum
    Aug 8 '15 at 10:39

If you upgrade your Windows 7 to Windows 10 during the free upgrade phase, the windows cleanup tool can clean your previous windows installation files.

I have cleaned 37GB off my main drive this way.

Keep in mind, that you won't be able to downgrade back after this.

  • The asker says they only had 1Gb free on the drive, which isn't enough to download and install Windows 10. Oct 2 '15 at 9:30

Here are some things you can do to clear up space:

  • Use the freeware tool SpaceSniffer to find out what is making your disk full. You might want to take a close look at your AppData folder.

Now, to clean up Windows folder specifically:

  • Press Win + R and type cleanmgr. Select the driver you want to reduce the size of. Press OK. Check what you want to get rid of. Confirm.
  • Disable hibernate. hibernate puts a large 5-10GB file at your root C: directory, if you don't use the hibernate feature, just disable it. Win+r and type powercfg -h off
  • Clean up the WinSxS folder via this Microsoft guide.
  • Clean up C:\Windows\Installer using PathCleaner tool.

I just noticed a similar problem on an old Windows 7 machine. (Which was never upgraded due to fear of losing an old drive with Truecrypt installed on it.)

In my case, the C:\Windows directory was 272 GB! I saw other people mentioned the Installer folder but mine was a measly 18 GB, and another possibility, the winsxs folder, was just a paltry 16 GB. For me the culprit was the C:\Windows\Temp folder which weighed in at 206 GB! Fortunately, the heavyweight Temp folder had a weak chin, and I knocked it out with a single sucker punch which surprisingly took less than 30 seconds. When the bout was over all that remained were 17 small locked files that I left for the birds to eat.

Tip: I didn't delete the Temp folder; I just opened it, reverse sorted by file size, and selected everything in it, and deleted that. Some of the small files at the end were locked and I left them.

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