WinSXS Folder cleanup is an issue which creates problem for a lot of user all around. Growing size of WinSXS folder has become a big problem for a lot of Microsoft Windows user around the world who are using Windows 7, Vista or 2008 server edition of Windows. If you are using a low capacity SSD drive or Virtual machine for above mentioned OS, you will be severely affected by growing size of WinSXS folder because of limited space available for you.
WinSXS folder on Windows 7 / Vista / Server 2008 is one important folder and it keeps shadow copy of all your important system files, which gets changed during any installation of Patches or Updates or software. It will store a backup copy of all those system files which are changed by installation program so that it can restore them back in case something bad happens due to patch or Installation or you want to completely remove the patch. In earlier version of Windows this facility was available but not all system files were reverted to original state. With the use of WinSXS Folder all system files can be reverted back to the stage where it was before installation of Patch/ Update.
This is really a great feature but for users who got limited space this great feature is becoming worst nightmare as with everyday new updates/ patch keep coming and WinSXS folder increases to 10-15 GB in size within a short period of time. There are few Built in tool in Vista Sp1 & SP2 which can clean up some files from WinSXS folder but they will make the patch installation permanent, which means you will not be able to uninstall the patches after using these tools.
Well Now question does I can simply remove the files in WinSXS folder like I delete any other file, well that’s a viable option but is not recommended, I tried it once on my Vista Installation, it did not harm anything and after deletion my windows was working fine except one thing I cannot install any Patch/ Update after that. Whenever I try to do that I simply get an error that some important system file missing and installation cannot proceed. So I recovered about 14 GB space but in return I left with no patch support.
Microsoft did not thought about this problem because now the days TB of space is available in less than 100$ which makes them think to use it and provide a user experience which will be good and robust. They did not think about SSD and Virtual machine usages. Anyway coming back to cleanup tools Vista SP1 has this small utility called “vsp1cln.exe”, to use this simply go to Run and type “VSP1CLN” and hit enter.
Once run it will purge all unnecessary files created by Vista Sp1 and recovers about 3-5 GB of space from WinSXS folder. For Vista SP2 user there is similar tool called “COMPCLN.EXE”, This small utility can be run in similar manner as mentioned above and will recover another 3 GB of space for you depending upon on your installation and components you have.
These utility was about Windows Vista and we have not found anything similar for Windows 7 as of now, so if you looking to recover space in Windows 7 probably you have to wait till Microsoft announces some utility to address this problem.