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Unknown files, folders in C:\Windows.

Posted on 2011-09-20
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
   We  have some Windows XP Pro PCs. In the C:\Windows folder there are about 100 folders that are named something like "$NtUninstallKB926436$." Also, there's about an equal number of notepad files named something like "KB926436.log."
     I don't think any of these existed when we first got these PCs several years ago. I think over time we've been accumulating these (perhaps when we do updates?).
     I was wondering:
     1) Why do we have these files and folders?
     2) Is it OK to delete them, because they're taking up about 2 GB of space.
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Question by:john8217
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9 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:houssam_ballout
ID: 36568945
they are the updates for your windows
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Dave Baldwin earned 125 total points
ID: 36568975
They are from Windows Updates.  If you delete them, I don't think you can uninstall the updates associated with them.
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LVL 66

Assisted Solution

by:johnb6767
johnb6767 earned 125 total points
ID: 36569036
To be exact, they are the Uninstall directories for an installed update. And correct, you cannot uninstall a KB update without them.....

(no points needed, just clarifying....)
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LVL 66

Expert Comment

by:johnb6767
ID: 36569044
If you have Network Storage/US B Storage attached, I would move them, JUST IN CASE...... The uninstall directories also contain not only the uninstallers, but the backed up files that they replace.
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Author Comment

by:john8217
ID: 36569317
   Hmm. In that case I have 2 more questions:

     1) Are these folders specific to the PC that they're on or can they be used to uninstall the same update off of another PC?    
     For example: Suppose I copied these folders from Computer A to a backup drive, then deleted these folders on Computers A-E. Later, if I need to uninstall one of these updates off of Computer C, can I copy the folder for that update onto Computer C (even though that folder was originally from Computer A)?

     2) Even without these folders, surely, doesn't Microsoft provide some other way (or a specific utility) to uninstall an update?
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Expert Comment

by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 36569652
No, there probably isn't another way to uninstall the updates.  I have a couple of thing that I can't uninstall because the 'install' directory is missing along with the install details.  The folders are at least somewhat specific because not all machines have the same software which means they don't have the same updates.  And if the versions of the software like Office 2007 versus Office 2010 are different, then the updates are likely to be different.  I don't think you can count on them be 'transportable'.
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LVL 66

Expert Comment

by:johnb6767
ID: 36570384
1. Technically that would work if the previous updates were the same level when it was installed, but you could end up with the wrong version of a .dll (which can be bad). If all your systems are updates the same way then maybe this would be ok.....maybe.... I mean mirror images in terms of software installed and the same updates.....

2. Nope..... This IS their way that they have provided... Basically because of the way the previous versions are archived (and how update.exe handles WFP) something like Revo would not be able to do it... System restore could if you catch the problem soon enough...
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Expert Comment

by:jrobillard
ID: 36573392
Backup the folder starting with $ in C:\Windows into a DVD Disk and then delete them.
If you have any problem and need to uninstall it, place the $file that your need on the C:\windows.
Also make a Restore point before doing that.
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Author Closing Comment

by:john8217
ID: 36580791
Thanks guys
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