WinSxS Folder: What Is It and How to Clean Up It?

An introduction to the WinSxS folder and three methods to clean up it.

The C:/ drive or any system drive is the most important drive in any Windows computer. That’s where all the programs are installed on the computer by default. Thus, keeping the maximum free space in the system drive is necessary for optimum computer performance. However, many Windows system folders, like the WinSxS folder, are notorious for hogging up space for unimportant reasons.

If you are facing a similar issue, this article will help you better understand the WinSxS folder. You will also learn how to safely clean up the WinSxS folder on your computer.

What Is the WinSxS Folder?

Windows Side by Side or WinSxS folder is an important folder in the Windows directory where all the components for Windows OS reside. It is also called the component store of Windows. Located in C:\Windows\WinSxS, this folder contains all the files required for Windows installation and removing or adding any system feature. If you ever need to restore an old Windows version, this folder contains all the essential data.

It also contains the files required to install new updates. The files remain in the folder in case you ever need to undo the update and restore the previous version. Thus, with time, the folder size continues to increase.

Is It Safe to Delete the WinSxS Folder?

No, deleting the WinSxS folder is never recommended. It is an essential folder for Windows to work properly. Deleting the WinSxS folder or any files from the folder can seriously affect Windows’ ability to work. That’s why you shouldn’t delete the WinSxS folder carelessly.

If the WinSxS folder takes up too much space, you can remove the unnecessary files from it. For that, Windows have provided many tools like Disk Cleanup utility and others.

How to Cleanup the WinSxS Folder?

Windows provide you with multiple ways to cleanup the WinSxS folder if it starts taking up too much space. All of these methods are safe to use and will not affect your Windows OS negatively if done properly. Below are the three easiest ways to clean up the WinSxS folder:

Cleanup WinSxS Folder with Task Scheduler

The cleanup process of the WinSxS folder can easily be done through Task Scheduler in Windows. While it is extremely helpful in automating many tasks, it can also efficiently run standalone tasks. The steps for using Task Scheduler to clean up the WinSxS folder are explained below in detail:

Step 1: Launch the Task Scheduler on Windows

Launch the Run function on your PC using the “Win + R” key and type “taskschd.msc” to open the Task Scheduler. Now, expand the “Task Scheduler Library” option from the left side.

Launch task scheduler via Run dialog

Step 2: Navigate to the Windows Servicing Folder

Afterward, double-click on the “Microsoft” option, and from the new menu, press “Windows.” Here, locate and open the “Servicing” folder.

Access the Windows option in Task Scheduler

Step 3: Run the Cleanup Process for WinSxS Folder

In the folder, select “StartComponentCleanup” and click “Run” from the right side to run the cleanup process. Now, wait for the process to finish before closing the Task Scheduler.

Run StartComponentCleanup

Cleanup WinSxS Folder via DISM Command

If you prefer using Command Prompt on Windows to handle most issues, you can use a DISM command to analyze and cleanup the WinSxS folder. Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) is an excellent command-line tool to handle Windows system files. Use the following steps to clean up the WinSxS folder via the DISM command in CMD:

Step 1: Run the Command Prompt as Administrator on Windows

Use the “Ctrl + Shift + Esc” key to open Task Manager on your computer. Click “File” from the top left corner and select “Run new task.” Here, type “cmd,” check “Create this task with administrative privileges,” and press “OK.”

Launch Command Prompt

Step 2: Analyze the WinSxS Folder using a DISM Command

Now use the “dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /AnalyzeComponentStore” command to analyze the WinSxS folder. It will inform you of the actual size of the folder and whether you should clean it or not.

Check WinSxS folder size

Step 3: Cleanup WinSxS Folder via DISM Command

In case the previous commands recommend cleaning up the WinSxS folder, run the following command:

dism /online /Cleanup-Image /StartComponentCleanup

It will start the cleanup WinSxS process. Wait for the process to get completed, and close the CMD.

Cleanup WinSxS Folder using Disk Cleanup Utility

It is also possible to reduce the WinSxS folder’s size by using Windows’s disk cleanup utility. It is a powerful in-built Windows tool that allows you to keep your hard disks in an optimized state. Through it, you can remove all the temporary and unnecessary files from the hard drives. Follow the steps given below to clean up the WinSxS folder using the disk cleanup utility:

Step 1: Use File Explorer to Access the System Drive

On your computer, use the “Win + E” key to open Windows File Explorer and click “This PC” from the left side. Now right-click the C:/ drive or system drive and select “Properties.”

Right click Local Disk C and select Properties option

Step 2: Access the Disk Cleanup Tool through the Properties

In the “Properties,” click “Disk Cleanup” from “General.” On the ensuing pop-up window, tap “Clean up system files.”

Access the Disk Cleanup tool

Step 3: Select and Delete All the Unnecessary Files

Now under the “Files to delete,” select all the files you want to delete. Choose “Windows Update Cleanup” to also delete old update logs. Once files are selected, press “OK” to delete them.

select the windows update cleanup option

WinSxS Folder FAQs

In this section, we have answered some most commonly asked questions regarding the WinSxS folder on the internet:

Why is my WinSxS folder so large?

The WinSxS folder contains all the system files, which gives it a large size. With every new update, the number of files increases, and so does the folder size. Not deleting the older files is also a major factor in the large size of the WinSxS folder.

What is the normal size of the WinSxS Folder?

There is no specific normal size for the WinSxS folder as it varies on the Windows OS. However, on average, the normal size for a WinSxS folder ranges from 5GB to 10 GB. Another thing you need to remember is that the apparent size of the WinSxS folder might not be its actual size.

Should I delete WinSxS Folder?

You cannot delete the WinSxS folder as it contains all the data essential for the operating system to work properly. Directly deleting the folder or files in the folder can seriously damage the Windows OS. However, multiple Windows tools can be used to clean up the WinSxS folder.

How do I reduce WinSxS?

Follow the steps guided below if you want to reduce the size of the WinSxS folder on your system:

Step 1: Navigate to drive C or system drive in your computer and right-click on it. Now select “Properties,” and on the next window, click “Disk Cleanup.”

Step 2: After this, access the system files and select the files you want to delete in the “Files to delete” section. Next, press “OK” to complete the process and reduce WinSxS.


Wasting a large part of your hard disk to house unnecessary files isn’t a good idea. The space in your computer is already limited, and you should use it wisely. The WinSxS folder, while important, shouldn’t be allowed to become a white elephant on your computer. You should periodically cleanup the WinSxS folder to keep it in check.

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Ahtasham Ahmad

Ahtasham is the Co-Founder of Visionary Merger. He is obsessed with the world of tech writing about software reviews, app testing, and detailed guides.

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