How to clean up WinSXS directory that is growing too big!

WinSXS is a directory under current Microsoft Windows installation. It is used to housed services packs and other update files should your installation needs to be restored.

However it can become really big. Is there a way to clean this up?

You can run DISM.exe utility to clean this up.

In fact different version of Windows can run this:

  1. Windows Server 2003: VSP1CLEAN.exe
  2. Windows Server 2008: COMPCLN.exe
  3. Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2: DISM.exe

To do this:

  1. Start your command prompt as Administrator
  2. Type: dism /online /cleanup-image /spsuperseded

You will realise that this thing can run for some time, and when you monitor your hard disk space it actually goes down!

Do note that when you see the progress bar reach 100% its not over yet.

Only when its returned to the system32 directory is it completed.

I had only 7.61GB free and this frees up to 10.3GB, which is around 2.7 GB.

Do note that after you do this you cannot roll back to before you install the service pack.

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Kyith is a blogger with interest in all things on Wealth Mastery, Technology, Business and Productivity.
  • gisabun

    Useful for service packs only. Will not clean up individual updates.

    • Kyith

      ah shucks thats true, it is one of the bugbears of windows. can you imagine this on the tablet, will kill the limited hard disk space!

      • gisabun

        My WinSXS folder is 11GB. Without another service pack [MS has no plans for Win 7 SP2/SErver 2008 R2 SP2. So the folder will only get bigger and bigger.
        Microsoft also doesn’t suport a system if the contents in the folder has been deleted.

        • Kyith

          you tell me about it, i have been fighting with this monster for quite some time!