Way to delete WinSxS files and folders on Win10 computer

I need a program that allows me to delete the files and folders in the WinSxS, windows update folder on a Win10 Lenovo Ideapad 100s-141br laptop.  It comes with a 32GB m.2 hard drive so I'm not going to take it out and make it a secondary drive on another computer.  The drive is full and the Winsxs folder has around 16GB of files.  Disk Cleanup doesn't  recognize or allow me to delete the files and I can't manually delete them even in safe mode. So I need a program running from a CD/DVD/Flash drive that will allow me to manually delete them.  I tried Parted Magic 2017 but that didn't have the function I want.  What bootable programs will allow me to do this.
Thanks,
Alan
Alan SilvermanOwnerAsked:
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Scott CSenior Systems EnginerCommented:
If that doesn't work, as I suggested create a current .ISO of Windows 10 and do a clean install.  You will have most of the current updates and the SxS will be as small as possible.  

However, it will grow again over time.
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Do NOT delete files from WinSXS. That folder is for maintaining your computer. Find other files to delete (documents, pictures, videos) or get a larger drive
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timgreen7077Exchange EngineerCommented:
no you can't delete that folder but loom at the below link to sew about other ways to reduce the hard drive size

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-hardware/manufacture/desktop/clean-up-the-winsxs-folder
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Scott CSenior Systems EnginerCommented:
Since you are asking, here is how you can do this...boot with a live 'nix distro.  I like Knoppix..

http://www.knopper.net/knoppix-mirrors/index-en.html

Now...just because you can do a thing, doesn't necessarily mean you SHOULD do a thing.

As stated above, there's a reason you can't mess with that folder easily.   YOU SHOULDN'T.  Fooling around with this folder will make you system unstable at best and un-usable at worst.

You asked, I answered.

What you should do is upgrade to a larger drive.
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Yes . Larger drive is what I suggested above. 32GB is way too small for Windows 10
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Scott CSenior Systems EnginerCommented:
One more thing you can do is backup your data, create a new Windows 10 install disk and do a wipe and reinstall.

Put your apps and data back.  This will work in the short term, but you will be in the same boat later on.
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Alan SilvermanOwnerAuthor Commented:
I do lots of charity work and this is one of those. 32GB isn’t enough hard drive space.  If it were a laptop where I could get to the drive easily I'd upgrade it.  But this is a cheap take the whole thing apart model.  But then 32 GB would be enough to do basic work if Microsoft didn't fill up WinSxS and then make it so I can't clean it with disk clean. (It doesn’t find any system files to delete.) I have a backup so I’m going to try Koppix.
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Alan SilvermanOwnerAuthor Commented:
Koppix seems fairly complex.  Is there anything simpler that will just let me get in and delete the files?
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
You cannot delete the files in WinSXS. Not because they cannot be deleted, but because deleting those files may cause big problems for the OS when it goes to use the files in that folder
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David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
We see this problem all of the time on EE and winsxs is commonly selected as the target for removal. It is not a long term solution.  I have several virtual machines and even with NO programs installed on them other than the OS they average out to be 55 GB used hard drive space. There is no data stored on these VM's at all.. So 32GB is woefully too small to be considered a viable option.  I would be inclined to think that even 80GB is on the small size.
Dism.exe /online /Cleanup-Image /StartComponentCleanup /ResetBase

Open in new window

is the recommended method to clean up this folder
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McKnifeCommented:
There are 3rd-party-tools that allow a cleanup. However, even these tools warn you that you may run into problems and they recommend to backup the contents of winsxs. Ok, let's suppose you did that and backed up the content and then deleted all the stuff in there with such a tool - what will you do, after several new updates were installed? Will you again clean it up and keep several backups of the original winsxs in several states? You should not do that unless there is another way.

32 GB is way too small for other reasons: we need at least 20 GB of free space for a windows feature upgrade. Do you think, you will be able to free up that much? I have my doubts with just 32 GB in total. So you might be stuck even with your tool, unable to upgrade windows and will be running an unsupported, outdated built, some day in the near future.
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Alan SilvermanOwnerAuthor Commented:
I’m not going to mess with the WinSxS folder. Lenovo should never have sold these machines with 32GB and Win10. I spoke with the customer.  It was booting to a black screen.  Now at least she can use it. But Windows will keep on trying and probably failing at putting in the Creator’s upgrade.  How much free space do you need to get that in? Maybe if I can successfully get it installed, disk cleanup with work.  I just ran disk cleanup on my computer and now the WinSxS folder is down to 6GB. Failing that and if the drive gets so full that Windows stops working entirely, I told her a larger hard drive would cost around $70. Question, if I can restore this back to an earlier time, does that replace the WinSxS folder with an earlier/smaller one?
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
WinSXS goes up and down with the current state of updates. Typically I see a big Windows 10 update swing disk usage by around 10 GB

So it is either a bigger disk or stand still and risk Windows 10 becoming insecure and completely out of date
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McKnifeCommented:
"How much free space do you need to get that in?" - it depends on how much data is in the user profiles. Some PCs will need only 12 GBs of free space (that is the smallest number I have seen to ever upgrade), some will require 30 GBs (never seen more needed). I would calculate with at least 20 GBs of free space for upgrading to run flawlessly.
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Alan SilvermanOwnerAuthor Commented:
Just noticed this microsoft article on updating Windows using an external drive for temp space.
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McKnifeCommented:
Right... although I had even seen that before, I totally forgot about it.
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Alan SilvermanOwnerAuthor Commented:
I'll tell you if it works.
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Alan SilvermanOwnerAuthor Commented:
Scott C. can you tell me where to get that current ISO?  
Thanks,
Al
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Since the computer is running Windows 10, you can make a current ISO file from the Media Creation Link

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10
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Alan SilvermanOwnerAuthor Commented:
Created an ISO and when I installed it gave me the option to put the files on an external disk.  No other type of update gave that option.  Has Creative Update and 15GB free space.  That should work for a while.
Thanks to everyone.  You were a great help.
Alan
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Thank you for the update.
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McKnifeCommented:
Alan, your point division is weird. Please try to distribute them more fairly, next time.
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Scott CSenior Systems EnginerCommented:
Glad we could help.
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Alan SilvermanOwnerAuthor Commented:
McKnife,
Will do.  
Thanks again,
Alan
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