How to Save Space By Cleaning Windows' WinSxS Folder

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Windows uses a system folder called WinSxS to store files that are needed for your Windows installation, as well as backups or updates to those files. It's a space hog, however, taking up several gigabytes of space and growing with each Windows Update you perform. Use the steps below to clean up unnecessary files in that WinSxS folder and reclaim valuable hard drive space.

You can't just delete everything in the WinSxS folder, because some of those files are needed for Windows to run and update reliably. However, with Windows 7 and above you can use the built-in Disk Cleanup tool to delete older versions of Windows updates you no longer need. With Windows 8.1 and Windows 10, you can use the Command Prompt to clean up the WinSxS folder as well.

Use Disk Cleanup to Delete Old Updates From the SxS Folder

1. Open the Disk Cleanup tool. You can do this by typing "disk cleanup" in the taskbar and clicking "Disk Cleanup"

start diskcleanup

2. Click the "Cleanup system files" button.

diskcleanup system

3. Check the box next to "Windows Update Cleanup."

diskcleanup updates(2)4. Click OK.

Note that if you don't see the Windows Update Cleanup option in Disk Cleanup, that means there aren't any files that can be safely deleted.

Use the Command Prompt to Clean Up the SxS Folder

If you want a more thorough view of how much space the SxS folder is taking up and the option to clean up unneeded files, use the Command Prompt.

1. Launch the command prompt with admin priviledges. You can do this by right-clicking on the Windows icon in the taskbar and click "Command Prompt (Admin)."

cmd admin(2)2. Enter the command: Dism.exe /online /Cleanup-Image /StartComponentCleanup

dism

It could take a few minutes for the DISM tool to analyze the folder. When it's done, you'll see size details of the components in the WinSxS folder and, at the bottom, a recommendation to clean it up or not.

3. If recommended, clean up the folder using this command in the Command Prompt: Dism.exe /online /Cleanup-Image /StartComponentCleanup

There's another command you can use to uninstall Windows updates and service packs, which saves more space, but we don't recommend you do that, because you won't be able to uninstall any current service updates or service packs after performing this. The command is Dism.exe /online /Cleanup-Image /StartComponentCleanup

The cleanup might take some time, depending on your system and how much you're deleting, but that extra space will be worth it.

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7 comments
  • Hello McFly Says:

    Melanie, you STILL haven't fixed what you published. Proofread.

    @Andrew thank you

  • Charli Says:

    My analysis recommended NOT cleaning up the component store. Now what do I do? My C drive is almost at 100% capacity!

  • Ben Skidmore Says:

    Hi! You have listed the cleanup command for both steps, meaning that I ran the cleanup instead of the analysis first time. Not a problem but it's worth editing as I found this page pretty high up in a Google search (and it was pretty helpful! Thanks!)

    Best regards

    Ben

  • 64kRAM Says:

    @Melanie - You should proof read your articles before you publish them.

    @Andrew - Thank you for the corrections.

  • Andrew Says:

    3. I should say older versions of Service Packs and updates. So you cannot go back to a position before anymore.

  • Andrew Says:

    1. AnalyzeComponentStore
    2. StartComponentCleanup
    3. SPSuperseded
    The last clears out copies of Service Packs and updates.

  • chucko Says:

    Please take a look at the article. You basically have the user run the same command three times in a row.

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