Compress the ServicePackFiles\i386 folder in Windows XP

After installing Windows XP SP2, you'll notice a set of folders inside of the Windows folder called ServicePackFiles\i386 in which the OS keeps copies of all the main OS files replaced by SP2. Check out how you can reduce the disk space this folder occupies from 530MB to 200MB.

When you install SP2 on a Windows XP system, the installation procedure actually creates a set of folders inside of the Windows folder called ServicePackFiles\i386 in which the operating system keeps copies of all the main operating system files replaced by SP2. This folder is then used by Windows File Protection in the event that a crucial system file needs to be replaced. In addition, the operating system uses the ServicePackFiles\i386 folder to store those files that are needed to install optional Windows components that aren't installed by default. The ServicePackFiles\i386 folder occupies around 530MB of disk space.

You can regain some of the disk space if your hard disk is formatted with the NTFS file system by compressing the ServicePackFiles\i386 folder with NTFS compression. In fact, you can expect to regain about 200MB of disk space. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click the ServicePackFiles folder and select the Properties command.
  2. In the Attributes section of the General tab, click the Advanced button.
  3. In the Advanced Attributes dialog box, select the Compress Contents To Save Disk Space check box and click OK.
  4. When you return to the Properties dialog box, click OK.
  5. When you see the Confirm Attribute Changes dialog box, select the Apply Changes To This Folder, Subfolders And Files option button and click OK.

(Note: It will take a few minutes for Windows XP to compress the folder.)

Once the folder is compressed, it will take up less space, yet it will still be accessible for Windows File Protection operations and the installation of optional components.

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About Greg Shultz

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

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