Clean Up the WinSxS Folder

This topic is about the different ways to reduce the size of the WinSxS folder on a running version of Windows 10.

One commonly asked question is, "Can I delete the WinSxS folder to regain some disk space?" The short answer is no. You can, however, reduce the size of the WinSxS folder using tools built into Windows. For more information about the WinSxS folder, see Manage the Component Store.

Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016 automatically reduce the size of the WinSxS folder by using methods similar to the ones described in this topic, in addition to internal processes, such as uninstalling and deleting packages with components that have been replaced by other components with newer versions. Previous versions of some components are kept on the system for a period of time, allowing you to rollback if necessary. After a period of time, these older components are automatically removed from the installation.

You can also reduce the size of a Windows image using some of the same techniques, as discussed in Reduce the Size of the Component Store in an Offline Windows Image.

To learn about finding the size of your WinSxS folder, see Determine the actual size of the WinSxS folder.

Warning

Deleting files from the WinSxS folder or deleting the entire WinSxS folder may severely damage your system so that your PC might not boot and make it impossible to update.

  In Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016, you have a number of ways to start the cleanup of the component store, which use a combination of package deletion and component compression to clean up the WinSxS folder:

Task Scheduler

The StartComponentCleanup task was created in Windows 8 to regularly clean up components automatically when the system is not in use. This task is set to run automatically when triggered by the operating system. When run automatically, the task will wait at least 30 days after an updated component has been installed before uninstalling the previous versions of the component.

If you choose to run this task, the task will have a 1 hour timeout and may not completely clean up all files.

Run the StartComponentCleanup task in Task Scheduler to clean up and compress components

  1. If Task Scheduler is not open, start the Task Scheduler. For more information, see Start Task Scheduler.

  2. Expand the console tree and navigate to Task Scheduler Library\Microsoft\Windows\Servicing\StartComponentCleanup.

  3. Under Selected Item, click Run

    schtasks.exe /Run /TN "\Microsoft\Windows\Servicing\StartComponentCleanup"
    

    Note

    The StartComponentCleanup task can also be started from the command line.

Dism.exe

The /Cleanup-Image parameter of Dism.exe provides advanced users more options to further reduce the size of the WinSxS folder. For more information, see DISM Operating System Package Servicing Command-Line Options.

Use the /StartComponentCleanup parameter

  • Using the /StartComponentCleanup parameter of Dism.exe on a running version of Windows 10 gives you similar results to running the StartComponentCleanup task in Task Scheduler, except previous versions of updated components will be immediately deleted (without a 30 day grace period) and you will not have a 1-hour timeout limitation.

    From an elevated command prompt, type the following:

    Dism.exe /online /Cleanup-Image /StartComponentCleanup
    

Use the /ResetBase switch with the /StartComponentCleanup parameter

  • Using the /ResetBase switch with the /StartComponentCleanup parameter of DISM.exe on a running version of Windows 10 removes all superseded versions of every component in the component store.

    From an elevated command prompt, type the following:

    Dism.exe /online /Cleanup-Image /StartComponentCleanup /ResetBase
    

    Warning

    All existing service packs and updates cannot be uninstalled after this command is completed. This will not block the uninstallation of future service packs or updates.

     

Use the /SPSuperseded parameter

  • To reduce the amount of space used by a Service Pack, use the /SPSuperseded parameter of Dism.exe on a running version of Windows 10 to remove any backup components needed for uninstallation of the service pack. A service pack is a collection of cumulative updates for a particular release of Windows.

    From an elevated command prompt, type the following:

    Dism.exe /online /Cleanup-Image /SPSuperseded
    

    Warning   The service pack cannot be uninstalled after this command is completed.

     

Disk Cleanup

You can use Disk Cleanup to reduce the number of unnecessary files on your drives, which can help your PC run faster. It can delete temporary files and system files, empty the Recycle Bin, and remove a variety of other items that you might no longer need. The option to cleanup updates helps reduce the size of the component store.

Run Disk Cleanup to delete system files

Manage the Component Store

Determine the Actual Size of the WinSxS Folder

Reduce the Size of the Component Store in an Offline Windows Image

Uninstall-WindowsFeature

How to Reduce the Size of the Winsxs directory and Free Up Disk Space on Windows Server 2012 Using Features on Demand

How to address disk space issues that are caused by a large Windows component store (WinSxS) directory