Windows Directory 30GB!

Posted on 2006-11-01
Last Modified: 2013-11-14
What is needed in the WINDOWS directory?  In the case of this computer running XP Pro SP, it has grown to 30GB.  That seems way too big especially since the drive is only 40GB.  I ran the program TreeSize Free and it indicated the Installer subdirectory is 26GB.  What is the Installer directory and should it be this big?  As always, thanks for the help!  milehighsanddollar
Question by:milehighsanddollar
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LVL 17

Accepted Solution

Eagle6990 earned 75 total points
ID: 17851747
My folder is only 600 MB in size.  It looks like it only contains MSI files for various installed programs such as Office 2003.  Seems like it would be safe to get rid of. You might be prompted for the CD or other media if you want to change a program. You can always delete it and let it sit in the recycle bin for a few days.
LVL 18

Expert Comment

ID: 17851755
I did a comparison on a few machines and the windows folder ran between 3 and 4 gigs.

I don't think "Installer" is a standard windows system directory.  Perhaps a copy of the installation files from the cd have been copied to the local machine?

Expert Comment

ID: 17851772
I don't know of anything there required by Windows.  I would move all that to the Recycle Bin and see how windows performs.  If everything is alright after a day or two you can empty the Recycle Bin.

Just for reference my Install folder is 250 MB.

And you can also remove the uninstall folders for the hotfixes that are compressed in the Windows folder.
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Author Comment

ID: 17851869
Very interesting.  Something must be awry because this stupid system keeps trying to install office over and over!

BTW, can you really throw away 26GB in the Recycle Bin?  

LVL 17

Expert Comment

ID: 17851884
That all depends on how big your drive is.  The recycle bin maxes out at 10% of your drive by default but you can change that by right clicking on Recycle Bin from Explorer and choose Properties.

Assisted Solution

stefmahoney earned 25 total points
ID: 17851896
Recycle bin has a limit that can be adjusted. Right click on Recycle Bin and bring up the properties to see what your max size is.

Good chance the install folder size is related to the Office reinstalls.  Might want to do a full uninstall of office.  Then clean your temp folders (%temp%) and the install folders, then reinstall office.

Expert Comment

ID: 17852071
Unusual Indeed.

I would becareful of just deleting things randomly.

I do not have an Install or and Installer directory in my Windows folder, at all in my WinXP Home PC.

A search of my drive yielded one in My Profiles Application Data folder. I vaguely remember someone
saying that if you delete files from this folder, you may have trouble uninstalling things on your PC
afterwards. I would proceed with extreme caution until you are sure.

Two questions:
1. Do you have profiles set up on this machine, or does it just boot to the desktop?
2. What exactly is in this folder? Are there a bunch of files with the same extensions, similar naming,
LVL 66

Expert Comment

ID: 17852275
If thatas the only directory taking teh majority of the space, you can *safely* delete as mentioned above. But if you create a new user, and the first run installs that usually happen for a user to create the profile, and sefl healing of applications probably wont run. Thats the only things I would take into consideration prior to deleting....
LVL 66

Assisted Solution

johnb6767 earned 25 total points
ID: 17852284
And do a search in that directory for *.* under c:\windows\Installer, and see what else is there, maybe something is throwing temp files out there, or even a virus replicating there......

Expert Comment

ID: 17852337
Oh, hey!
My WinServer 2003 always tries to install Office 2003 over and over and over for every user that rdesktops to it.
I just looked into my Windows folder, 85GB!!!!!!!!

I would never have bothered with the C: on that machine until you just said that.
Nice catch, I am assuming its a bug with Office that is triggered randomly?

Anyways, I just uninstalled Office and ran this command to be completely rid of it at command prompt.

wmic.exe product where Description="Office *" delete

I then re-installed it and it seems fine now, no longer trying to reinstall each time someone logs on.


Author Comment

ID: 17852389
All really insightful inputs, thank you!

I renamed the installer file--which is a system file and cannot be viewed unless you indicate under CTL PNL files and folders.  AND uninstalled the Office Apps.  

Much easier than having to reinstall windows, office and about 20 other apps on a new drive to get the user more space!


Expert Comment

ID: 23595993
The reason I established for this folder growing exponentially (Mine was 24.4GB) is because of failed office updates.
In my case it was because the drives had changed around a little (Clients Acer machine, removed partitioned second drive and combined in to one). Each time it tried to do the update it failed and Windows being the very intelligent program it is, would then soon after re-download another copy of the so called files that required updating and they were all going in to this "Installer" directory.

What I did?
I tried the Microsoft Installer cleanup utility (;en-us;290301)  that does nothing more than remove the entries in the Registry for the selected items. That was fairly useless and had to do a Restore to put these entries back, so I then did not have to re-install office, and still be left with a Bloated "Installer" folder.

Next, created another Folder called "Installer_OLD" under the windows directory and moved all files from Installer to the new directory.
Tested Office, rebooted etc. All seems good. Then moved the entire directory from that hard drive to a backup directory for a few days. Just in case.

This has also stopped the updates that were supposedly required and failed any way.

Check your Systems Event Log under applications for errors which will also help determin what the problem is.

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