TR Dojo Challenge: How do you safely reduce the size of the WinSxS folder?

Randomly deleting files from the WinSxS folder may crash system. If you can safely shrink the WinSxS folder, you could earn some TechRepublic swag?

On Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008 machines, the WinSxS folder can take up quite a bit of space. On the test system shown in Figure A, the WinSxS folder takes up just over 13GB, which is 65 percent of the entire Windows folder.

Even in the day of 500GB hard drives, 13GB isn't an insignificant amount of space. You could store about 3,700 MP3s on that amount of space. And on older machines with hard drivers under 100MB, conserving space is the name of the game.

So, here's this week's question: How do you safely reduce the size of the WinSxS folder? Note: Of course, you could just go into the WinSxS folder and start willy-nilly deleting files. But, you might very well make your system unstable. So to get full credit for this question, you need to explain why randomly deleting files within the WinSxS folder is a bad idea and how you can reduce the size without compromising system integrity.

About the TR Dojo Challenge Series

Each week, I publish a new question designed to test the technical skills and IT prowess of our TechRepublic members. You can submit an answer to the question by posting it within this post's discussion thread.

I'll accept answer submissions for one week after I post the question. At the end of the week, I'll consider the question closed and review the answers. The member who submitted the first, best answer will be featured in a follow-up TR Dojo Challenge article, posted on Thursday the week following the question's publication. For being featured on the site, they will also earn themselves a bit of TechRepublic swag-a coffee mug and laptop sticker.

The rules:

  1. Only answers submitted within one week of the initial question's publication date will be considered for the follow-up article and swag.
  2. All answers must be original and must consist of more than a link or links to third-party resources.
  3. I will choose the correct response from the answers submitted and my decision is final.

Good Luck!


Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

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