Free Up Megabytes of Disk Space

I’ve got almost a gig of "$NtUninstall…" files in my Windows directory. They all appear to be related to various patches, updates and service packs for Windows. I’ve got XP Pro SP2 installed. Some of these folders are a couple of years old and they are all flagged as hidden and read only. I’m getting low on disk space, can I safely delete all these folders since I have no plans to uninstall any of the related patches, etc.? As updates and patches accumulate in the future, will this these types of folders continue to grow and take more unnecessary disk space? Aren’t even the old patches and stuff dated before SP2, at the very least obsolete? —Dennis

These files enable Windows’ Add/Remove applet to uninstall the service packs, patches and updates that have been installed on your system over the months and years. If you have no plans to uninstall these updates, you can safely delete the "$NTUninstall" folders and their space-consuming contents.

A quick and reliable way to protect yourself, however, is to delete only the older files— say, those six months old or older. Chances are, if you haven’t uninstalled a six-month-old update by now, you’re not going to.

Alternatively, once you’ve made a backup or disk image of any "$NTUninstall" files, you can delete the files from the hard drive immediately, because you can always restore them from backups, if need be.

A reader named Bruce posted this helpful word of warning on the Langa Blog ( ):

If you delete the folder for the IE7 beta install you will be unable to uninstall it (at least in beta 2) Last word was that FORMAT was the only fix. —Bruce

Find "$NTUninstall" folders by opening your C:WINDOWS folder. Make sure hidden folders are viewable (Select Folder Options from the Tools menu, select the View tab and choose "Show hidden files and folders").

Follow the links below to get more info on all this.;en-us;290402

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About Fred Langa

Fred Langa is senior editor. His LangaList Newsletter merged with Windows Secrets on Nov. 16, 2006. Prior to that, Fred was editor of Byte Magazine (1987 to 1991) and editorial director of CMP Media (1991 to 1996), overseeing Windows Magazine and others.