Thursday, October 17, 2013

New update for Windows 7 SP1 adds option in Disk Cleanup to clean WinSxS Directory

It’s been long time since I have written Windows 7 specific article. But this cleaning up of WinSxS directory has been a long requested feature and users were trying out various methods and now that Microsoft is providing it officially, so this article. If you are one of those who are still running Windows 7 and haven’t yet moved to Windows 8, this might be useful. Last week along with many updates for Windows 7 SP1, there was one very cool update.

That update was listed as KB2852386 . This update enables you to delete outdated Windows updates by using a new option in the Disk Cleanup wizard in Windows 7 SP1.

updtlstAs many of the Windows 7 & earlier users know about the size of the WinSxS directory and always want to some how free up disk space from that directory. The WinSxS directory steadily increases in size, mainly because of the Windows Update. All previously installed versions of Windows Updates are kept in WinSxS directory even when newer version of update gets available. These are kept to allow to uninstall an update.

When a Service Pack is released, Microsoft provides with it cleanup that removes previous versions of update that gets updated by SP. But with Windows 7 SP1 which was released well over 2 years back, there hasn’t been any Service Pack, & there might not be any, Windows update files have been growing in WinSxS directory.

But this update adds a new plugin to the Disk Cleanup wizard. After you install this update, you can use the Windows Update Cleanup option to delete Windows updates that you no longer need and reduces the WinSxS directory.  This update provides some of the same functionality built into Windows 8.


  • The Windows Update Cleanup option is available only when the Disk Cleanup wizard detects Windows updates that you do not need on the computer.
  • To enable you to roll back to previous updates, updates are stored in the WinSxS store even after they are superseded by later updates. Therefore, after you run the Disk Cleanup wizard, you may be unable to roll back to a superseded update. If you want to roll back to a superseded update that the Disk Cleanup wizard deletes, you can manually install the update.

Please check that this update is listed as important update & may not automatically installed as its not listed as Critical Security update. You can get it from KB2852386

After installing this update run the Disk Cleanup tool

Start >All Programs > Accessories > System tools >Disk Clean Up Right click on it and Run it as Administrator

& run it selecting the operating System Drive

Just scroll through the option and you’ll see the new option


The amount of disk space you gain will differ by machine. So install this cool update and gain some disk space.

UPDATE 18 Oct 2013: After the PC restart I could see this screen… doing the clean up


and could gain ~ 4GB from WinSxS directory.

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