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How to clear space from the Win­SxS folder

Win­dows uses a sys­tem folder called Win­SxS to store files that are needed for your Win­dows install­a­tion, as well as backups or updates to those files. It’s a space hog, how­ever, tak­ing up sev­er­al giga­bytes of space and grow­ing with each Win­dows Update you per­form. Use the steps below to clean up unne­ces­sary files in that Win­SxS folder and reclaim valu­able hard drive space.

You can­’t just delete everything in the Win­SxS folder, because some of those files are needed for Win­dows to run and update reli­ably. How­ever, with Win­dows 7 and above you can use the built-in Disk Cleanup tool to delete older ver­sions of Win­dows updates you no longer need. With Win­dows 8.1 and Win­dows 10, you can use the Com­mand Prompt to clean up the Win­SxS folder as well.

Use Disk Cleanup to Delete Old Updates From the SxS Folder

1. Open the Disk Cleanup tool. You can do this by typ­ing “disk cleanup” in the taskbar and click­ing “Disk Cleanup”

start diskcleanup

2. Click the “Cleanup sys­tem files” but­ton.

diskcleanup system

3. Check the box next to “Win­dows Update Cleanup.”

diskcleanup updates(2)4. Click OK.

Note that if you don’t see the Win­dows Update Cleanup option in Disk Cleanup, that means there aren’t any files that can be safely deleted.

Use the Com­mand Prompt to Clean Up the SxS Folder

If you want a more thor­ough view of how much space the SxS folder is tak­ing up and the option to clean up unneeded files, use the Com­mand Prompt.

1. Launch the com­mand prompt with admin priv­iledges. You can do this by right-click­ing on the Win­dows icon in the taskbar and click “Com­mand Prompt (Admin).”

cmd admin(2)2. Enter the com­mand: Dism.exe /​online /Cleanup-Image /​StartComponentCleanup

dism

It could take a few minutes for the DISM tool to ana­lyze the folder. When it’s done, you’ll see size details of the com­pon­ents in the Win­SxS folder and, at the bot­tom, a recom­mend­a­tion to clean it up or not.

3. If recom­men­ded, clean up the folder using this com­mand in the Com­mand Prompt:Dism.exe /​online /Cleanup-Image /​StartComponentCleanup

There’s anoth­er com­mand you can use to unin­stall Win­dows updates and ser­vice packs, which saves more space, but we don’t recom­mend you do that, because you won’t be able to unin­stall any cur­rent ser­vice updates or ser­vice packs after per­form­ing this. The com­mand isDism.exe /​online /Cleanup-Image /​StartComponentCleanup

The cleanup might take some time, depend­ing on your sys­tem and how much you’re delet­ing, but that extra space will be worth it.

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