Windows Vista Forums

What is the Winsxs Folder?

  1. #1


    JP Guest

    What is the Winsxs Folder?

    Vista Ultimate:

    Just wondering. Something new to Vista. C:\Windows\Winsxs uses more
    space than \system32 (which is a lot). What is this folder for?



      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Justin Guest

    Re: What is the Winsxs Folder?

    The Winsxs folder includes all manifests, optional components and 3rd party
    Win32 files.

    The files in %windir%\system32 are hard links to the winsxs directory.

    Have you installed a lot of software?

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    JP Guest

    Re: What is the Winsxs Folder?

    No. Just office 2007 and 3 or 4 small apps.

    I did though, come across a Vista article on TechNet:

    "Finally (though this doesn't relate to image size), take note that there is no longer
    an I386 directory. Instead, all components, whether installed or not, reside in the Windows
    directory (although not in the standard SYSTEM32 directory). When installing a new component,
    the necessary files will be pulled from this location."

    I am guesing maybe \windows\winsxs is where these files reside? That would explain the size
    of the directory.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    GTS Guest

    Re: What is the Winsxs Folder?

    Interesting - I hadn't noticed that before. I see on my dual boot system
    that the Winsxs folder on XP is 20MB and on Vista is3.5GB. After studying
    the Vista files a bit, here's how it looks to me. First a little
    background -

    Sxs stands for side by side versioning. This was an feature first
    introduced, oddly enough, in Windows ME and of course improved in XP. It
    was Microsoft's solution to the "DLL Hell" issue that plagued Win 9x and
    provided a way to support multiple versions of same named DLLs. Windows
    would recognize a potential conflict and place an incoming DLL in the Winsxs
    tree rather than overwriting it elsewhere, would store applicable registry
    data, etc.

    In Vista the use of Winsxs seems to have changed and been greatly expanded.
    Vista includes the Net Framework as a core technology (i.e. and not as an
    add in). Many of the files under Winsxs are related to the use of managed
    code -headers, manifests, etc. Also, I concur with your thought that this
    replaces the I386 folder. It seems to be a repository for installation
    files as well as Dlls etc.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    JP Guest

    Re: What is the Winsxs Folder?

    Thanks for the info ! I didn't realize Winsxs was in previous versions of Windows.
    I never noticed it... I did check a WinXP Pro PC and the Windows\Winsxs folder was only about 30MB.
    (Maybe that's why I never noticed it.)

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    GTS Guest

    Re: What is the Winsxs Folder? DANGEROUS!

    This looks extremely dangerous and I recommend not to try it. The program
    is a batch file that could trash the system if interrupted. It doesn't
    include an instruction file (as claimed on the linked page) and it's logic
    is highly questionable.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    webster72n Guest

    Re: What is the Winsxs Folder?

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    GTS Guest

    Re: What is the Winsxs Folder?

    Your explanation of the WINSXS folder is fairly accurate for XP. In Vista
    the folder is used for much more - it stores key Windows components. It's
    not unusual for it to be that large, and it should be left alone. See
    http://blogs.technet.com/askcore/arc...-so-large.aspx
    for details if interested.
    --

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

What is the Winsxs Folder?

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