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Windows 2008 - c:\windows\winsxs?

Posted on 2011-02-22
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Hi.

We have a server running Windows Server 2008 SP2 that is running out of space... I found out that the folder c:\windows\winsxs uses 12 GB and c:\windows\installer usees 6 GB... What are these folder for? And can I free up some of that space they are using?

The server is running WSUS 3, SCCM 2007 and nothing else.
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Question by:Sum Wum
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by:Carl Tawn
Carl Tawn earned 668 total points
ID: 34951341
It is the folder that allows different versions of DLL's to run side-by-side, and it is generally best to leave it alone.

Further reading:

    http://www.ghacks.net/2010/07/24/the-winsxs-folder-explained/
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by:Darius Ghassem
Darius Ghassem earned 664 total points
ID: 34952322
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CSI-Windows earned 668 total points
ID: 34955725
C:\Windows\Installer is the cached files for the windows installer service.  Any .MSI files in there (with randomized names) are used for uninstall.  As of version 6.1 of the kernel  (Windows 7, Server 2008 R2) the ENTIRE MSI file is cached here.  This is done ONLY to avoid an unsigned uninstall prompt.

Here is a possible way to reduce the files in there, but please test it first as I've never done this myself.

1

Find a  huge .MSI in c:\windows\installer.

2

Run "MSIEXEC /A <name>.msi"  Where <name> is the random name it had in the cache.  

3

It will prompt for an extract location.  Point it to a location OFF the machine where there is roughly twice the space of the size of the .MSI. (e.g. "\\otherserver\share\tempextract")

4

When it is complete, look at the root of the location you extracted to for a MUCH smaller copy of the .MSI file. (e.g. "\\otherserver\share\tempextract")

5

Rename the one in the cache (in case this does not work).

6

Copy the smaller file into the cache (must have the same name it had before).

7

Test the product uninstall - if the uninstall starts up properly, then the smaller copy with *PROBABLY* work fine.  

8

If you really want to make absolutely sure before doing this with other cached .MSI files - then you should do a full uninstall of at least one product.

9

If you do not want the cache filling up like this in the future, always perform an administrative install of the product before (msiexec /a) before installing it on the server.

10

Delete the renamed file in the cache (in future operations you can simply overwrite it when copying back)

11

Delete the temporary extract location. (e.g. "\\otherserver\share\tempextract")
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by:Sum Wum
ID: 34958459
Okay thanks for the answers... I'll leave them as they are... We moved our page-file to another partition and found 5 GB logs, so now we have 12 GB free disk space instead of 500 MB...
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