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When you examine the size of the C:\Windows folder, you may notice that the C:\Windows\winsxs directory seems to use lots of disk space.
The Windows component store (C:\Windows\winsxs) directory is used during servicing operations within Windows installations. Servicing operations include, but are not limited to, Windows Update, service pack, and hotfix installations.
The component store contains all the files that are required for a Windows installation. And, any updates to those files are also held within the component store as the updates are installed. This causes the component store to grow over time as more updates, features, or roles are added to the installation. The component store uses NTFS hard links between itself and other Windows directories to increase the robustness of the Windows platform.
The component store will show a large directory size because of how the Windows Explorer shell accounts for hard links. The Windows shell will count each reference to a hard link as a single instance of the file for each directory in which the file resides. For example, if a file that is named advapi32.dll is 700 KB and is contained in the component store and in the \Windows\system32 directory, Windows Explorer would inaccurately report that the file consumes 1,400 KB of hard disk space.
The component store cannot reside on a volume other than the system volume because of the NTFS hard links. If you try to move the component store, this will result in the inability to correctly install Windows updates, service packs, roles, or features. Additionally, we do not recommend that you manually remove or delete files from the component store.
To reduce the size of the component store directory on a Windows installation, you can decide to make the service pack installation permanent and reclaim used space from the service pack files. However, if you make the service pack installation permanent, the service pack is not removable.
To remove the service pack files from a Windows installation, use the following in-box utilities:
Scavenging may also be performed proactively on Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 installations by forcing a removal event on the system. Scavenging will try to remove any unwanted system binaries from the installation and enable Windows to reclaim the disk space. To issue an uninstall event on a Windows installation, add and remove any unwanted system component that is not already installed, and then restart the Windows installation. Scavenging will be performed during the following restart of the operating system.
Note Scavenging is performed automatically on Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 installations.
To reclaim additional disk space on your system, follow these steps:
For more information about the WinSxS folder, go to the following websites:
For more information about the system requirements for disks, go to the following websites: