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HawkMan

Large winsxs folder

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Is there anything I can do to reduce the size of the winsxs folder ?

Currently I have a winsxs folder of 6.5 GB, wich is over half the size of my total windows folder... searches on the winsxs folder didn't help me much. and it seems like there's a lot of stuff I have absilutely no use for in there.

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the folder is for apps that are side by side,do not touch it unless you know what you are doing.

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the folder is for apps that are side by side,do not touch it unless you know what you are doing.

Can you clarify what that means please?

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That's the native assembly cache. Libraries which are shared by multiple programs are stored there. It's the magic thing that (more or less) fixed "DLL Hell."

Deleting anything in there will probably break apps on your system, and could prevent your entire system from working properly. Don't mess with it.

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Mine is about 1.6gb. Cleared out much of it with Vlite during the install. Much of its bulk is useless, like foreign language packs, but other stuff is vital.

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The safest way to clean it out is by simply uninstalling apps in your system via Add/Remove Programs, I'm afraid. I can understand if some apps leave those files there too, though, even after uninstall, just because it's usually DLL's intended to be shared between apps that resides there. So some/many may be left behind even if no app no longer use them. But I'm not aware of a "safe" way to detect which are used by actual installed apps or not.

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I understand the concept of WinSXS but why do I need to have 7 count 'em 7 versions of iexplore.exe there? I use a web based app that periodically scans my machine to be sure I have the most recent version of applications and drivers. Today when it ran it found these 7 instances. This makes NO sense. I understand multiple instances of the same DLL, but not this.

Gary

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You can search for video files there and delete them.

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I understand the concept of WinSXS but why do I need to have 7 count 'em 7 versions of iexplore.exe there? I use a web based app that periodically scans my machine to be sure I have the most recent version of applications and drivers. Today when it ran it found these 7 instances. This makes NO sense. I understand multiple instances of the same DLL, but not this.

Gary

Just leave it alone, and don't question why it does the things the way it does: Mucking about with that folder is literally begging Vista to stop working properly.

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Just leave it alone, and don't question why it does the things the way it does: Mucking about with that folder is literally begging Vista to stop working properly.

Oh, I realize that, but it just seems BIZARRE that it would keep 7 versions of an application. Again, I understand the need to keep multiple versions of a DLL (I am an MCSP), but why an application??? No other app is going to be able to request a specific version of an EXE file like it can a DLL. This just appears to be bloat for bloats sake.

Anyone have any technical insight into why Vista is keeping copies of EXE's in WinSXS?

Gary

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it helps to avoid app compatability problems and dll hell problems,leave it alone as windows will manage it for you.

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Oh, I realize that, but it just seems BIZARRE that it would keep 7 versions of an application. Again, I understand the need to keep multiple versions of a DLL (I am an MCSP), but why an application??? No other app is going to be able to request a specific version of an EXE file like it can a DLL. This just appears to be bloat for bloats sake.

Anyone have any technical insight into why Vista is keeping copies of EXE's in WinSXS?

Gary

Quite possibly from different Windows Updates being applied that are being cached (they may also be cached in C:\WINDOWS\SoftwareDistribution). It's basically a backup mechanism to make sure that everything works correctly. WinSxS keeps copies of different versions of DLL's in case an application explicitly requires or requests one. Leave it alone.

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Oh, I realize that, but it just seems BIZARRE that it would keep 7 versions of an application. Again, I understand the need to keep multiple versions of a DLL (I am an MCSP), but why an application??? No other app is going to be able to request a specific version of an EXE file like it can a DLL. This just appears to be bloat for bloats sake.

Anyone have any technical insight into why Vista is keeping copies of EXE's in WinSXS?

Gary

Well, you can call functions and access resources in EXEs the same way you can from DLLs (You generally don't use EXEs as libraries like that, but you certainly can.).

The only real difference between DLLs and EXEs is that DLLs don't contain entry points, so they can't be executed by themselves.

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Quite possibly from different Windows Updates being applied that are being cached (they may also be cached in C:\WINDOWS\SoftwareDistribution). It's basically a backup mechanism to make sure that everything works correctly. WinSxS keeps copies of different versions of DLL's in case an application explicitly requires or requests one. Leave it alone.

I set about once to delete the ENTIRE folder. I deleted a good amount, and could still reboot and work normally. But at some point, and I'm not sure when---a reboot led to a reboot-loop. The ONLY way to determine what is safe and what is not safe to delete from that folder is by trial and error, careful documentation, and the patience to reinstall Vista a gazilion times. But...oh the fame that awaits the person who can write the definitive guide on this, like that fellow did with "slimming down XP".

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it helps to avoid app compatability problems and dll hell problems,leave it alone as windows will manage it for you.

I realize that. I said in the message that you replied to that I am an MSCP and understand the reasoning behind WinSXS and DLL hell. I don't understand the need for EXE files there though.

Quite possibly from different Windows Updates being applied that are being cached (they may also be cached in C:\WINDOWS\SoftwareDistribution). It's basically a backup mechanism to make sure that everything works correctly. WinSxS keeps copies of different versions of DLL's in case an application explicitly requires or requests one. Leave it alone.

Yes, it keep DLL's. I know that and I know WHY it does that. But what about 7 versions of an EXE? That makes NO sense.

Well, you can call functions and access resources in EXEs the same way you can from DLLs (You generally don't use EXEs as libraries like that, but you certainly can.).

The only real difference between DLLs and EXEs is that DLLs don't contain entry points, so they can't be executed by themselves.

Yeah, technically you COULD use an EXE as a library. I have been doing Windows programming since Windows 1.0 and can not remember the last time I saw ANY such use. I also think that would be TOTALLY outside the development guidelines Microsoft suggests for developers. With todays development environment, I think you'd have to jump through all sorts of hoops to use an EXE as a library. So, I still don't understand why WinSXS needs 7 versions of Internet Explorer???

I am going to ask this on the MSDN developers forum and see if I can get some explanation. I'll let you folks know what I find out.

Gary

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I am going to ask this on the MSDN developers forum and see if I can get some explanation. I'll let you folks know what I find out.

Thank you for pursuing this, I'm looking forward to see what they say. :)

Very disappointed that so many people are apparently ignoring you when you say "but WHY???"... Some of us do care about the why! Just telling us "don't touch. it's magic." just doesn't cut it.

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Yeah, technically you COULD use an EXE as a library. I have been doing Windows programming since Windows 1.0 and can not remember the last time I saw ANY such use. I also think that would be TOTALLY outside the development guidelines Microsoft suggests for developers. With todays development environment, I think you'd have to jump through all sorts of hoops to use an EXE as a library. So, I still don't understand why WinSXS needs 7 versions of Internet Explorer???

I've seen it done with .NET assemblies a few times.

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I've seen it done with .NET assemblies a few times.

Yes, there is no doubt that you can use an EXE as a library. But as I think we both agree it is way out of the "norm" and if memory serves me, is a real "no no" under the Windows development guidelines. It still seems odd, though ESPECIALLY in relation to Internet Explorer 6, don't you think? I can't think of an single scenario, where by an application would call for a SPECIFIC version of IE6. If I had found lets say version 4 5 and 6 of Internet Explorer in WinSXS, I could see a POSSIBLE case to be made for that. But seven minor versions of IE does not make any sense at all.

I am awaiting a response in the MDSN forums. Film at 11.

Gary

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Vista doesn't have IE6, but yeah, I understand where you're coming from.

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Did you install any foreign language packs? If you turn on optional updates and let Windows install everything, you might have gotten dozens of foreign language packs you probably don't want.

I just checked and mine is about 4 GB, without any language packs.

Also, I don't believe a non-.NET exe can be loaded as a library. You can use a .NET exe as a library because it isn't a native Windows exe, just a stub that loads the program using the .NET runtime.

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True ... why so many (upto 7 someone here said) versions of file/s have to be stored is indeed intriguing ! Nevertheless, it is best not to delete anything from the folder, as it could break an application or even make your system un-workable. I have put info in brief about The Secret Of Vista's Winsxs Folder at my site; but yes I too would like to learn the answers to some of the questions raised here.

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This is becoming unmanageable as far as backups go..I already have over 600 mgs in my common files and 6+ gigs in winsxs... Is this thing going to just keep growing forever?

I may have to rethink my partitioning and backup strategies .

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Yeah, technically you COULD use an EXE as a library. I have been doing Windows programming since Windows 1.0 and can not remember the last time I saw ANY such use. I also think that would be TOTALLY outside the development guidelines Microsoft suggests for developers. With todays development environment, I think you'd have to jump through all sorts of hoops to use an EXE as a library. So, I still don't understand why WinSXS needs 7 versions of Internet Explorer???

People use EXEs as COM servers all the time. wmplayer.exe, for instance. However, I'm not sure there are any cases where side-by-side EXEs are actually used in that way. It's possible that support exists for that, however.

My guess is that they're also kept there for rollback purposes, assuming these are Windows components you're seeing that have been updated multiple times by WU.

This is becoming unmanageable as far as backups go..I already have over 600 mgs in my common files and 6+ gigs in winsxs... Is this thing going to just keep growing forever?

I may have to rethink my partitioning and backup strategies .

You back up WinSxS?

Also, I don't believe a non-.NET exe can be loaded as a library. You can use a .NET exe as a library because it isn't a native Windows exe, just a stub that loads the program using the .NET runtime.

What do you mean by "loaded as a library?" Do you mean loaded in-process? Surely, tons of native EXEs are run as out-of-process "libraries" (COM servers and the like).

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You Guys asked what is it and why is it so big and can i delete it well here's the full skinny on WINSXS

A commonly asked question among people looking at a Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008 installation is

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