Windows uses a system folder called WinSxS to store files that are needed for the Windows installation, in addition to backups or updates to people 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 wash up unnecessary files for the reason that WinSxS folder and reclaim valuable hard drive space.

You cannot just delete everything in the WinSxS folder, because some of the people files are essential for Windows to operate increase reliably. However, with Windows 7 and above you should 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 should use the Command Prompt to wash up the WinSxS folder as well.

Use Disk Cleanup to Delete Old Updates In the SxS Folder

1. Open the Disk Cleanup tool. This can be done by typing "disk cleanup" within the taskbar and clicking "Disk Cleanup"

2. Click the "Cleanup system files" button.

3. Look into the box next to "Windows Update Cleanup."

4. Click OK.

Observe that if you do not 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 wash Up the SxS Folder

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

1. Launch the command prompt with admin priviledges. This can be done by right-clicking around the Windows icon within the taskbar and click "Command Prompt (Admin)."

2. Enter the command: Dism.exe /online /Cleanup-Image /StartComponentCleanup

It might take a couple of minutes for the DISM tool to investigate the folder. When it is done, you'll see size details of the components within the WinSxS folder and, at the end, a recommendation to clean it up or not.

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

There's another command will uninstall Windows updates and repair packs, which saves extra space, but we do not recommend you do that, because you won't be able to uninstall any current service updates or service packs after performing this. The command is Dism.exe /online /Cleanup-Image /StartComponentCleanup

The cleanup usually takes some time, based on the body and how much you're deleting, but that extra room is going to be worth it.

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