How to reduce the size of the WinSxS folder in Windows 7 and 8

The WinSxS folder is located in C: \ Windows \ WinSxS, takes up a lot of space and continues to grow. In this folder unnecessary files are accumulating, for example, old components of the system, and the longer you have the operating system, the more the folder WinSxS.

Why does the WinSxS folder grow?

When you install any updates to the system, old files are replaced with new ones, and in the WinSxS folder for the case of bugs all the old versions are saved.

Files from the Windows folder get into WinSxS using hard links, and file managers take them for real volume. Therefore, the folder size may not be displayed correctly, but in fact it usually weighs no more than 15GB.

However, if you want to clean your system of unnecessary files, there are several ways to do this.

Clean Windows Updates

At the command prompt, you need to type cleanmgr, and the built-in utility will show how much space you can free. You just need to mark “Clean Windows Updates” and click OK.


If you have used a single operating system for several years, you will probably have to free up several gigabytes of free space.

The next time you reboot, Windows 7 will spend a few minutes cleaning up the system files before you can see your desktop again. If you do not have this option, you probably have not updated Windows for a long time. Install the latest system updates and it will appear.

Unlike the seven, Windows 8 and 8.1 clean up the updates automatically in the Scheduler. Windows clears the folder on a schedule by using the Microsoft-Windows-Servicing-StartComponentCleanup task, which automatically starts in the background and deletes the components 30 days after you installed the updates.


If you want to manually uninstall updates, open Disk Cleanup, check “Clean Windows Updates” and click OK.

In Windows 8.1 there are even more options for self-deletion of files. There you can delete all previous versions, even when 30 days have not passed since the installation of new ones. To do this, run the command line on behalf of the administrator and enter the necessary commands.

For example, one command removes all versions of updates without 30 days of waiting:

DISM.exe / online / Cleanup-Image / StartComponentCleanup

The other deletes the files needed to remove the service packs. After entering this command, you will not be able to remove the installed service packs:

DISM.exe / online / Cleanup-Image / SPSuperseded

Another command will delete all old versions of each component. After this, you will not be able to remove all installed service packs:

DISM.exe / online / Cleanup-Image / StartComponentCleanup / ResetBase

Removing components on demand

Modern versions of Windows allow you to include system components on demand. The list of functions is in the “Windows Components” window, which you can access from the control panel.

Even if you did not install any of them, that is, they are not flagged, the components are still stored on your hard drive in the WinSxS folder. If you want to install them, you do not have to download anything, you can do it from a folder.


However, even unused components take up space on the hard disk, and if you are very important to free space, you can delete them.

Windows 8 adds a new option that allows you to delete all these files from WinSxS, and if they suddenly need you, you can download them from Microsoft.

To remove components, open a command prompt and run the following command:

DISM.exe / Online / English / Get-Features / Format: Table

You will see different components and their condition.


To delete a function from the system, you can use the following command, replacing NAME with the name of the function you want to delete.

DISM.exe / Online / Disable-Feature / featurename: NAME / Remove


If you run the / GetFeatures command again, you will see that the function has changed status to: “Disabled with Payload Removed” instead of just “Disabled”.