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Is it possible to reduce the size of winsxs without affecting the operating system?

Posted on 2008-11-04
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2009-12-16

I have Windows Vista Ultimate and I just realised that the size of the winsxs folder is just under 10GB. Not totally sure what this folder is for and why is taking so much space but I would like to know if it is possible to get some tool to delete most of the content, resize or compact the folder.

Best Rgds,
Question by:i9796674
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Assisted Solution

firemanf29 earned 80 total points
ID: 22881993
Sxs stands for side by side versioning. This was an feature first
introduced, oddly enough, in Windows ME and of course improved in XP. It
was Microsoft's solution to the "DLL Hell" issue that plagued Win 9x and
provided a way to support multiple versions of same named DLLs. Windows
would recognize a potential conflict and place an incoming DLL in the Winsxs
tree rather than overwriting it elsewhere, would store applicable registry
data, etc.

In Vista the use of Winsxs seems to have changed and been greatly expanded.
Vista includes the Net Framework as a core technology (i.e. and not as an
add in). Many of the files under Winsxs are related to the use of managed
code -headers, manifests, etc. Also, I concur with your thought that this
replaces the I386 folder. It seems to be a repository for installation
files as well as Dlls etc.
LVL 59

Accepted Solution

LeeTutor earned 120 total points
ID: 22882027
Your answer is on this page:

The Secret Of Windows Vista Winsxs Folder.

And this quotation answers your question:

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 Now if a newer version of this file is a part of the OS, but a particular application requires a particular older version for running, then the older version from the winsxs folder will be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.
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Expert Comment

ID: 22894471
i9796674, any feedback?
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Author Comment

ID: 22895346
Hi LeeTutor,

Well, the information is good but I still need to find a way to reduce the size of that folder. I cannot increase the size of the partition and the only thing I can think of is to reinstall the operating system which for me is not a very good option...
LVL 59

Expert Comment

ID: 22935989
You say:

>It is a question with no answer because what I want to do is not possible

Isn't that exactly what my comment said?  

I know you're unhappy about the answer, but for some questions the correct answer is "you can't do that."

See this section of the Experts-Exchange Help documentation online:

The correct answer to some questions is "you can't do that"

Expert Comment

ID: 22938720
Leetutor is correct.  You should not delete that folder or any of it's contents or you could damage applications and even the operating system itself.  The only thing you may try is to compress the folder in Windows.  Go to properties on that folder.  Click the Advanced Button.  Check "Compress contents to save disk space".  Click OK and Apply.   It may take a good while for the compression to complete so go do something else for a couple hours.  You may gain a lot, a little, or no space by doing this as compression depends on the types of files in the folder.  You may even crash your system and have to reinstall.


Author Comment

ID: 22938880
Hi Lee,

I just accepted firemanf29 solution but I also want to accept yours. How can I do that now?


Author Comment

ID: 22939025
Well, to be honest I think it should be you who get the points since you gave me the right answer to start with but since I have already agreed to share the points, that is what I will do this time, if that is ok with you.

Please use your Editor page to mark the question an unanswered.


Expert Comment

ID: 23629879
There is a good solution winsxslite which is available at:
(Thanks to chris Bering at yahoo answers)
The principle on which it works is to replace earlier versions of dlls with hard links to the latest. Given this info, it is unlikely to cause problems. (I had none). Read the help file before you actually start.

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