Monday, October 14, 2013

Improvement to Windows 7 SP1 Disk Cleanup

Included with Microsoft Updates on the last Patch Tuesday was KB 2852386, an optional update.  This update changes the Disk Cleanup wizard to provide the ability to delete superseded Windows updates in Windows 7 SP1, reducing the space used by the WinSxS ("Windows Side by Side") folder.

Normally, superseded Windows updates can be removed with the installation of a Service Pack.  However, since Windows 7 SP1 was released over two years ago, the size of the C:\Windows\Winsxs folder has grown significantly since SP1. 

As seen in the image copy of WinSxS Properties on my Windows 7 computer, before running Disk Cleanup, it is a very large folder at over 17 GB with over 73,000 files and 18,000 folders.

WinSxS Properties
Before Disk Cleanup

Important Notes

  1. Disk Cleanup needs to be run as Administrator.
  2. Windows Update Cleanup is checked by default under Clean up system files.  If you have had problems with Windows Updates in the past, you may not want to include the Windows Update Cleanup option when running Disk Cleanup.
  3. If you do not see the option for Windows Update Cleanup under Clean up system files, either the wizard did not detect Windows updates that are not needed on the computer or KB 285238 has not been installed yet.
  4. After running the Disk Cleanup wizard, you may not be able to roll back to a superseded update.  In that situation, it will be necessary to manually install the superseded update.
  5. The superseded update files will not be removed until the computer is restarted.  Windows will configure Windows updates on shutdown and Cleanup on startup.  Do not turn off your computer during that process. 


Results will vary depending on the Microsoft programs installed on your computer.  In my case, with a lot of Microsoft programs installed and fully updated, there is a significant difference.  Comparing the before image of WinSxS Properties from my computer with the results after running Disk Cleanup:  14,684 files and 3,507 folders have been superseded since installing SP1.  Net gain:  6.9 GB!

WinSxS Properties
After Disk Cleanup

Illustrated screen images of the step-by-step process are available in the TechNet article referenced below.


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May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Appreciate the tip.

I now have 3GB extra space.

Side issue.

After updating the latest updates I noticed Silverlight directing me to install an older version of Silverlight.

Installed version: 5.1.20913.0
Requested version: Silverlight 5 (5.1.20513.0)

Any ideas?

Mike F.