Windows Vista – Folder Winsxs?

When I started to use Vista I did know why my hard disk is always more than 50% full after some months. So I used TuneUp Disk Space Explorer to find out which folder occupies so much disk space and at last I found a strange folder which is very big. Its size is about 7 GB and gets bigger and bigger day by day. It is winsxs folder.

For more details about winsxs folder you can find at The Secret of Vista Winsxs folder . As I saw this result I thought it is a real folder. But today I found another article which states that.

“Modularizing” the operating system was an engineering goal in Windows Vista. This was to solve a number of issues in legacy Windows related to installation, servicing and reliability. The Windows SxS directory represents the “installation and servicing state” of all system components. But in reality it doesn’t actually consume as much disk space as it appears when using the built-in tools (DIR and Explorer) to measure disk space used. The fact that we make it tricky for you to know how much space is actually consumed in a directory is definitely a fair point!

In practice, nearly every file in the WinSxS directory is a “hard link” to the physical files elsewhere on the system—meaning that the files are not actually in this directory. For instance in the WinSxS there might be a file called advapi32.dll that takes up >700K however what’s being reported is a hard link to the actual file that lives in the Windows\System32, and it will be counted twice (or more) when simply looking at the individual directories from Windows Explorer.

So the winsxs just contains links to real file. Anyway if you install more softwares on your computer, this folder will get bigger too because more files will be saved at your machine to let multiple applications run in Windows without any compatibility problem.

UPDATE 07.03.2014
– After installing Service Pack (SP) for your windows, the WinSxS folder will get again bigger because he has to make a backup of old assemblies. When Service Pack works fine, you can remove all installation and back up files of SP by executing this command (under administrator permission)

dism /online /cleanup-image /spsuperseded /hidesp

– The option is also available in Disk Cleanup

Disk Cleanup

– Choose Clean up system files

Clean up system files

– Choose Windows Update Cleanup and Windows upgrade log files

Windows update cleanup

– Then clean them up

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