Vista WinSXS woes & MS Brilliance.

Lets start with this:

Vista Sucks

I received Vista SP1 update. I have installed Vista on a 13 GB partition, and I had only around 700 MB left. After downloading the update, it said minimum 2GB required. So I set out to explore what is eating so much memory. Turned out Windows folder took a good 10.2 GB of it. And digging deeper the system32 folder took 4.17 GB and there was this other folder named winsxs which took another 4.78 GB. I deleted 1.23 GB promptly from the SoftwareDistribution/Download/ folder which has all the downloaded updates which it doesn’t delete after update installation. Now I wanted to see if I can get rid of this winsxs. And what turned out is quite hilarious and obnoxious.

It is a directory to solve the “dll hell” problem. Windows XP has this directory but much much lesser in size. But there is an innovation involved in Vista. They wanted to solve the “dll hell” problem by storing all the versions of dll that ever comes in through my updates and all versions of dlls that are required by the softwares I install. And when you un-install these software, their dlls remain, as they “could-be-shared”. They chose this method as a great way for giving some amount of backward compatibility. Well this is my frustrated explanation from my reading in the forums. Look here for the official explanation. The baseline is, you can’t delete it, can’t compress it meaningfully, can’t get rid of it in any way. However, there seems to be a way out of this as detailed here, but it cripples certain features.

I am in awe of the brilliant Microsoft crew who came up with this brilliant brute force algorithm for an operating system function. Vista is the first operating system I’ve used for which 13 GB is not enough. I have not installed any programs in the Vista drive. AppData takes up rest of the chunk. Clearing all browser cache and other unwanted data couldn’t help. I was left with 1.8 GB and the update wouldn’t install. How much more ridiculous can it get? And how could they ship such an OS? How could they take this part so lightly. I have seen people commenting about more than 6.5 GB for this winsxs folder. All for the sake of compatibility. Maybe MS employees have unlimited disk storage at their disposal, but who were they shipping this OS to? There were instances where after downloading some updates, there would be just 4MB left on my Vista installation drive…. and sometimes I would be like, “Wow, it can still run with just 4 MB of space left… cool.” But it was terribly slow and then I would restart it and look around to clearing browser caches and such. All in all it has been a constant headache. Oh, and I did good by searching for the “Hibernation File Cleaner” which appears during disk cleanup offering to free up .99 GB for me. And earlier before an update, “Per user queued reports” and “Per user archived reports” used to offer me a cool 2.5 GB of free space. But had I went around “cleaning” them up, my entire 13GB would have been cleaned for me. And cleaning Hibernation File Cleaner cripples the Hibernate feature. Were their testing teams having sex and getting drunk while testing this? Makes me wonder.

I now wish to “get away” from this installation asap and use something sane for the optimal use of my machine.

May Vista rest in peace.

Which Vista?

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28 Responses to “Vista WinSXS woes & MS Brilliance.”

  1. Ziyaad says:

    Lol at the comics, so true.

    I too am having the same problem, and after hearing how everyone still uses XP, probably going to go back to XP tomorrow.

    Vista is fine for me except for this glaring problem.

  2. BC says:

    I never thought to check the Windows folder size until reading this. Mine is 14 GB… bloody well insane if you ask me. MS has finally mastered Bloatware!

  3. Gollum says:

    My winsxs has 8.15 GB :( …. 42164 files and 10753 folders. I just installed the updates, acrobat reader and antivirus.
    I hope there will be a way to cleanup duplicates and old files in this folder…

  4. ivanmor says:

    Bloat ware… no way!!! Though its taking SPACE, its saving your a%# when you install software that people dont put the time and energy to properlly test, so in a way, MS is helping here guys!

    At the price of a 500 gig HD, what 70 bucks…. why someone would even care how much an OS is taking these days, surprises me…. you want the best, but cant even caugh up some $$ for a small but obviously LARGER than you got hd, Seems like you guys are just haters!! ;)

    Really, just get a hd and be done, its not slowing hte computer down, and IS actually helping!


  5. Gubbi says:


    Sorry for delay in approving the comment.

    500 Gigs might be cheap at your place, but not so everywhere. (I’m in India.) Lets say it’ll eventually be cheaper everywhere and this is something not to worry.

    However, a brute force approach to solve this problem isn’t wise. They don’t even cleanup never-will-be-used-again files. Look at the low end netbooks that come loaded with Vista, or the ones that run on SSDs, they are really squeezing the space there.

    It certainly is laughable that an operating system uses 9+ gigs in the name of backwards compatibility. In fact, it is feeding the culture of lazy programmers and is also a representative of such culture.

    Whether Vista is really the best is debatable.

  6. shinmai says:

    I was awestruck when I noticed that Vistas minimum requirements included 40Gb of harddisk space.

    Ivanmor: Oh yes, thank you microsoft. I certainly wish that my harddisk be filled up with redundant duplicates of every dll file ever to grace my system, so that I – too – can enjoy the benefits of this security, provided for idiots who install incompatible software.. Please! I’ve installed NOTHING, only Vista updates, and the damn WinSxS-folder is eating up 15 gigabytes.

    I only need Vista for compatability testing, but am strongly considering just putting a notice on all my software that it’s untested and unsupported on Vista, as I’m not really too interested in consuming a quarter of my laptops hard-disk on this crap…

  7. Anonymous says:

    Now my Winsxs folder is more than 13GB!

  8. Senthil Kumar P says:

    Same here 13+ GB winsxs.. I cannot downgrade to Windows XP since my laptop came with windows vista. Finally decided to install Ubuntu Linux 8.04 in my laptop. Surprisingly this full featured os run in less than 2 GB. Slick and fast.. and more importantly its free..
    This is just my own humble decision… Not telling / asking anybody to switch to ubuntu.

  9. Drew says:

    There is a one time cleanup solution. in windows/system32 there is a file called vsp1cln1.exe. it will help with the bloat at least a bit by getting rid of redundencies, but it might not work for everyone.

  10. robanco says:

    Three laptops with the same problem, one only has 20gb HDD, a Fujitsu U1010 and half is taken by these two files. Run speed is contunially degrading as this Winsxs files grows. I have not loaded anything other than Office 2007 but it seems that the file grows with Internet usage.

  11. Dogan says:

    worse than bloat. cant you think anything else than $$, larger system partition means larger image files for backup/restore/migrate and that means time, MS is stealing our time not only money.

  12. lolwindowssux says:

    Guys, it’s freaking SYSTEM RESTORE. If you install a game like GTA4, ofcourse there will be 15GB shit in that directory. Turn of system restore and all files will be deleted. You can turn it on again to have system restore working from that point again.

  13. szmoker says:

    We have Vista Business, Office 2007 Basic.
    It means all the programs we use on the PCs are Outlook, Excel and Word, no other programs installed, no other programs ever used.
    The WinSxS here is well over 8,5gb.

    There's a 20gb partition for OS, and it has about 50mb free, after cleaning everything I could think of (including the never-used hibernate file).

    Maybe I'll install Linux with OpenOffice next time.

  14. rolfen says:

    Well… just look who it benefits
    - Less space = less space to install other OSes (linux and osx if youre running a macbook)
    - More HD demand = well, HD manufacturers are gonna like it

    The thing that some ppl dont understand and that really bothers me, is not the space in itself, is that as a software knowledgeable person, I KNOW there are other ways to solve this problem. They could have used some sort of system that stores DELTA differences, and it would have resulted in AT LEAST twice less used space for the same functionality (most probably more then 4x size reduction in reality).

  15. Gubbi says:

    Absolutely !! And also by including at least some way of cleaning up unused dlls.

  16. Gubbi says:


  17. Andy says:

    the winsxs folder is such bull. mine is 16gb and i’ve got sp2 and already ran their “cleanup” tool. the winsxs folder is actually 53% of my windows folder.

  18. admin says:

    Yep. Mine is 20 GB now and counting…

  19. Simon says:

    It amazes me the sloppy job MS has done. I’ve been using MS since DOS 3.3 and they have slowly been turning the water up, the water has finally come to a boil and I’m done with this line of OS’s. My Vista…Suxs folder is 19GB+ and my Win7 Suxs folder is 8GB and getting bigger. Currently I’m testing out Linux Mint and Ubuntu, very promising.

    There’s more to it then just expecting everyone to have more HD space, Ghosting images & systems backups, running multiple virtual machines (those VM images get very big fast). This is a good example of how not to build a foundation, if you build the little pieces poorly that hold up everything the final product is crap. Designing each part of the foundation well will result in an excellent final product.


  20. admin says:

    I agree.

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