Get more hard drive space on your server

Jun 29 2016

Many system administrators struggle when their servers start running out of hard drive space. To help you in those times of need here’s a great tip that might help you reclaim some extra space.


  • Check the size of this folder: C:\Windows\winsxs. In most cases you’ll find it to be huge!

    According to Microsoft: 

“The Windows component store (C:\Windows\winsxs) directory is used during servicing operations within Windows installations. Servicing operations include, but are not limited to, Windows Update, service pack, and hotfix installations.

The component store contains all the files that are required for a Windows installation. And, any updates to those files are also held within the component store as the updates are installed. This causes the component store to grow over time as more updates, features, or roles are added to the installation. The component store uses NTFS hard links between itself and other Windows directories to increase the robustness of the Windows platform.

The component store will show a large directory size because of how the Windows Explorer shell accounts for hard links. The Windows shell will count each reference to a hard link as a single instance of the file for each directory in which the file resides. For example, if a file that is named advapi32.dll is 700 KB and is contained in the component store and in the \Windows\system32 directory, Windows Explorer would inaccurately report that the file consumes 1,400 KB of hard disk space.”

Can I just empty the folder contents?

The answer is NO!

But Microsoft does have a feature that would reduce the size of winsxs folder as well as get rid of other unneeded files. The feature was introduced in Windows 2008 R2 and is available in following versions of Windows Server (2012 and 2012 R2). The feature is NOT enabled by default and would need to be manually added.

To enable this feature:

  • Launch Server Manager then in the Features Summary section, click Add features.

  • Select the Desktop Experience check box, and then click Next. You should be prompted for adding another feature, that desktop experience relies on, called Ink and Handwriting Services.

  • Complete the wizard by clicking Install. The server will require a reboot.

  • After rebooting server, right click on C: drive and choose properties.

  • A button called “Disk Cleanup” should now show up. Click on it, then if needed, click on Cleanup System Files. Check all options you would like to cleanup.

  • Once cleanup process is completed, another restart will be needed, after which you should see some additional free space available!


Learn more about how our IT department can serve you, call 1-866-320-8922 or email us at [email protected] and we’d be happy to help!

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