Is your WinSXS folder huge? Here’s how to reduce its size!

The folder (before).

Do you ever browse the contents of your hard drive or solid-state drive and wonder where your space has gone? If you’ve installed Windows 7 SP1 over your existing Windows 7 installation, then you may have a certain folder named “winsxs” in C:\Windows\ that is rather large. Ghacks has posted a nice write-up that explains what this particular folder contains. Basically, don’t mess with it. Fortunately, there are easy and built-in ways of making it smaller while still keeping the function of your copy of Windows intact.  It’s a very straightforward and simple process. The only requirements are an elevated Command Prompt window, Disk Cleanup and about 10-15 minutes of time. For me, the results were great, as the folder was decreased in size by 35% (3.53GB freed). Check it all out below.

The Issue

As you can see via FolderSizes, my particular winsxs folder is roughly 10.2GB in size, and is quite possibly the largest folder on my 64GB SSD (excluding the Windows folder, of course). You can view something similar using the 100% free program called TreeSize.

The Solution

It’s quite easy. First, try running Disk Cleanup for your main drive. If you have UAC enabled, click on “Clean up system files” when the window loads. Check the box that reads “Service Pack Backup Files”. This will sometime free up some space, but not all of it. All you need to do is run dism /online /cleanup-image /spsuperseded /hidesp in an elevated Command Prompt window. If that command finishes within a few seconds or results in an error, try running it without /hidesp and it should work fine. The removal process will take about 10-15 minutes, depending on how big your folder is.

For me, the Command Prompt command did the trick, freeing up 3.53GB of space, which is roughly 35% of what the folder previously weighed in at.

Post your success (or failure) down below in the comments.

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  • Anonymous

    I already run this command, and the folder is 7GB and growing… this is ridiculous Microsoft…

    • me

      bingo! totally crap!

  • Sterlingfox

    Thanks! That reduced it from 15 to 10 GB. I think i will have to do a clean install for better reults. I’m in dll-hell.

  • Johnmattmel
  • Aaron Lecciones

    doesn’t work for windows 8, unfortunately.

  • Andrew

    Running Win7 and tried dism /online /cleanup-image /spsuperseded /hidesp with and without /hidesp and got the following error each time.
    Error: 87
    The spsuperseded option is not recognized in this context.

    • besweeet

      Are you running Command Prompt as an admin?

  • Jeff Innis

    Ran it, shaved off 5GB, after reboot, went right back to where it was.

  • Pavel Pulec

    on Vista with SP2 run: C:WindowsSystem32Compcln.exe

  • kizi3

    Excellent just what I was looking for.