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How to clean WinSxS and free up disk space

If you’re interested in freeing up some space on your hard drive, you might be considering deleting the WinSxS folder to create more space. Unfortunately you can’t delete the folder but you can reduce the size of it to free up some space. Read on and we’ll tell you how to clean WinSxS.
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Warning

Both Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 automatically reduce the size of the WinSxS by using methods very similar to those we’re about to walk you through. Before you embark on this, be warned that deleting files from the WinSxs or deleting the whole WinSxS folder can damage your system. It can be so badly damaged that your PC may not boot, so make sure you’re fully aware of everything you’re about to do.

Task scheduler

Windows 8 users may not want to rely on the StartComponentCleanup task which is automatically in place. It automatically cleans up the system when not in use, but this task can lag behind because it waits 30 days after an updated component has been installed before it removes the older variant. If you manually run it, there will be a 1 hour timeout and you may find that it hasn’t completely cleared all files.

Service pack

Another way to free up space is to run the /SPSuperseded parameter of Dism.exe. This will remove any backup components that were required for uninstalling the previous services pack. To do this, go to the elevated command prompt and type: Dism.exe /online /Cleanup-Image /SPSuperseded. Note though that once you’ve done this, the existing service pack you have installed cannot be uninstalled.

Disk cleanup

The Disk Cleanup tool is one of the easiest ways of removing unwanted files to free up some space. Running this normally makes your PC run quicker as it can delete temporary files, system files are removed and it’ll empty the Recycle Bin. To get to this program click “Start” and then type "Disk Cleanup" into the search field.

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