Each version of Windows has its own best way of reducing the clutter.
I previously answered a reader’s question about Win7’s WinSxS. Here’s what to do on other Windows versions.
Reducing WinSxS clutter on XP and Vista
The April 5 article, “Shrink that gigantic WinSxS folder down to size,” focused specifically on Windows 7 and described the Win7 Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) tool. That story generated more reader follow up questions than usual, some of which appear below. I’ll start with a letter from Peter Pfefferkorn:
- “In the [April 5] issue of Windows Secrets, Fred Langa talks about how to shrink that gigantic WinSxS folder down to size in Windows 7. There is no mention of how to do that in Windows XP. How can I shrink it on XP?”
Before I get to the specifics of XP (and Vista), let me restate three important points from the original article.
1) The stabilization benefits of the WinSxS subsystem are real, so you shouldn’t fool with the WinSxS folder or subsystem without good cause.
2) As always, make a full backup before doing any significant system maintenance.
3) Follow these steps to help reduce WinSxS and general clutter on all Windows versions:
- Uninstall unneeded software. Removing unnecessary software not only removes the software itself but also deletes any of that software’s associated files from the WinSxS folder.
- Perform a thorough general cleanup, Part 1. Start with Windows’ built-in cleanmgr.exe. For full instructions, see the March 13, 2008, article, “Using Windows’ hidden Disk Cleanup options.”
- Perform a thorough general cleanup, Part 2. Run a reputable system cleanup-tool, such as CCleaner (site) to make sure the common forms of unneeded temporary files are deleted. It will also correct any Registry errors that the previous steps may have accidentally introduced.