How to Clean Up the WinSxS Folder in Windows 11 (4 Methods)

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Written By Larious

Larious is the Executive Editor of LowkeyTech. He is a tech enthusiast and a content writer. 





Last Updated on June 6, 2023 by Larious

Even though Windows is the best and most popular desktop operating system, it still has many flaws. Windows is less optimized than macOS, which results in more storage and resource consumption.

The one problem that Windows users often face is insufficient storage space. While there are many ways to free up storage space on Windows, like uninstalling programs, deleting photos & videos, etc., what if you don’t want to remove any personal files and still want to expand the storage?

In such a case, you must clean up the WinSxS folder on your Windows computer. This article will discuss WinSxS and how to clean up this folder. Let’s get started.

What is the WinSxS folder in Windows?

WinSxS (Windows Side by Side) is a folder on your system installation drive. It is where Windows stores its recovery files, files needed to install updates, previous versions of Windows components, and more.

It’s a very important folder and helps you revert to the previous state in case of software failure. Since Windows often use this WinSxS to store new files, the folder size can expand over time, leading to the low disk space problem.

The folder is located in your system installation drive. For example, if C: Drive is your system installation drive, you will find the WinSxS folder in the C:WindowsWinSxS path.

When you open this folder, you will notice that the files are stored in multiple places in the operating system. However, there’s only one copy of a file, and the rest are just hard links.

Also Read: How to Set Up OneDrive Personal Vault On Windows 11

Best Ways to Reduce the Size of the WinSxS folder

You can’t delete the WinSxS, and you shouldn’t try to delete it. Deleting the files from the WinSxS folder might break the operating system’s functionality. In the worst case, your PC might even fail to boot. Hence, the best way to reduce the WinSxS folder size is to use the built-in disk cleanup tool.

1) Reduce the Size of the WinSxS folder via Task Scheduler

You can use the Task Scheduler to reduce the WinSxS folder size in Windows 11. Here’s what you need to do.

1. First of all, click on the Windows 11 Search and type in Task Scheduler. Next, open the Task Scheduler app from the list of options.

2. On the Task Scheduler, navigate to the following path:

Task Scheduler LibraryMicrosoftWindowsServicingStartComponentCleanup

Task Scheduler LibraryMicrosoftWindowsServicingStartComponentCleanup

3. On the StartComponentCleanup, click the Run button in the Selected Item section.

click on the Run button

This will run the StartComponentCleanup tool and reduce the size of your WinSxS folder.

2) Cleanup WinSxS using Disk Cleanup Tool

You can use the Disk Cleanup utility to reduce the WinSxS folder size. Here are some of the simple steps shared below.

1. First, open File Explorer on your Windows 11. Right-click on your system installation drive and select Properties. Alternatively, open the Windows 11 search and type in Disk Cleanup. Next, open the Disk Cleanup utility from the list.

Disk Cleanup utility

2. On the Local Disk Properties, click the Disk Cleanup button. If you are using the Disk Cleanup utility, select the drive you want to clean.

select the drive

3. On the Disk Cleanup prompt, click the Clean up system files button.

Clean up system files

4. Now select all checkboxes and click on the Ok button.

select all checkboxes

That’s it! The Disk Cleanup utility will run and clean all unnecessary system files.

3) Clean Up WinSxS Folder using Storage Sense

Storage Sense is a storage management tool that lets you free up drive space by removing items you don’t need.

It will effectively scan and remove unnecessary files & folders from your Windows 11 computer. Here’s how you can clean up the WinSxS folder using Storage Sense to reclaim space.

1. Click on Windows 11 Start Button and select ‘Settings‘.


2. On Settings, switch to the Storage tab on the left side.


3. Underneath Storage usage, click on ‘Temporary files‘.

Temporary files

4. unselect the ‘Recycle Bin‘ and ‘Downloads‘. Make sure all other options are selected.


5. Once done, click on the ‘Remove files‘ button.

Remove files

That’s it! This will immediately run Storage Sense on your Windows 11 computer. This won’t clean the WinSxS folder, but it will definitely trim down its size.

4) Clean up the WinSxS folder via CMD

You can also use the Command Prompt to clean up the WinSxS folder. You need to follow some of the simple steps we have shared below.

1. Click on the Windows 11 search and type in Command Prompt. Next, right-click the Command Prompt and select ‘Run as administrator’.

Command Prompt

2. On the Command Prompt, execute the command:

DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-Image /StartComponentCleanup

execute the command

3. This will clear the specific group of files from the WinSxS folder. If you want to clean older Windows component versions, execute the command:

DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-Image /StartComponentCleanup /ResetBase

execute the command

That’s it! This is how you can clean up the WinSxS folder via Command Prompt in Windows 11.

Also Read: How to Block Access to Removable Storage Devices in Windows 11

So, these are the best ways to reduce the WinSxS folder size in Windows 11. You shouldn’t delete this folder at any cost; if you want to reduce the size, just follow our shared methods. If you need more help with the WinSxS folder in Windows 11, let us know in the comments below.


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