The users in Windows 7 and further versions have detected a folder named WinSxS, Windows Side by Side, occupying a massive space in the computer. The folder stores multiple copies of dll and component files so that the Windows would not face compatibility issues while the applications are running in it. Each application needs a different version, the folder contains duplicates of dll with the same name, but these duplicates are different versions of the dll. You can find the folder in your C: drive- C:\Windows\Winsxs.
The component files get bigger, and the folder eats up considerable space in the system. Subsequently, the released updates in Windows 7 came with the cleanup tool to reduce the size of WinSxS folder. Windows 8 and 8.1 have an inbuilt cleanup tool where Windows 8 reduces the size of the folder automatically and Windows 8.1 came with a command line which analyses the Windows Side by Side folder and informs the user whether the Cleanup is required or not.
Let’s see how to clean up WinSxS folder in Windows
Folder cleanup by Disk Cleanup tool
- Go to Computer and select your C: drive.
- Right click on the drive to open a menu and select properties.
- Now, click Disk Cleanup in the box appeared.
- Check Windows Update Cleanup box and click Ok.
- You will be prompted to confirm. Click yes.
- The program will start cleaning up the folder.
Note: – The method might damage Windows and the system may not reboot again. Creating a backup before performing the task would be better for you.
Folder Cleanup by DISM command line
- Open Start menu and type cmd.
- Click cmd to open Command Prompt.
- Type exe /online /Cleanup-Image /StartComponentCleanup /ResetBase
- Now press Enter.
- The command enables you to remove all versions of component files stored in the folder.
- Again, type exe /online /Clean-Image /SPSuperseded and press Enter
- With this command, you can remove the backup components required to uninstall the service pack.
Note: – The last command might disable uninstalling the existing updates and service pack.
Folder Cleanup with StartComponentCleanup
- The StartComponentCleanup tool is created in Windows 8 to reduce the folder size.
- The tool is set to run automatically by the Operating System after the 30 days of installation of an updated component to uninstall the previous updates.
- Open Task Scheduler to run the program.
- Go to Library and click Microsoft.
- Select Windows and click Servicing.
- Click StartComponentCleanup from central panel.
- From the right panel, click Run to start TiWorker.exe or Windows Modules Installer Worker.
- You can find the process running in Task Manager.
- If it takes very long, then you can click End to end process.
- A confirmation box will appear saying “Do you want to end all the instances of this task?”
- Click Yes to confirm.
Deleting the WinSxS folder or the files inside it might corrupt your Windows resulting in the inability to reboot. The second methods must be followed when you are an advanced user or else stick up with the first and last one. It is good to keep free space in the system but removing the Side by Side folder could be risky. Hence before following the methods, you must create a backup of your system.
Jack Tucker is a Microsoft Office expert and has been working in the technical industry from last 10 year. As a technical expert, he has written technical blogs, manuals, white papers, and reviews for many websites such as office.com/setup.