[GUIDE]: Making your windows folder smaller!
By: NeoMayhem (email@example.com) for Neowin.net
Original Thread: http://www.neowin.net/forum/index.php?act=...11&t=62837&st=0
Why would I want to do this?
There are many reasons for making your windows folder smaller, first it saves space and removes windows features you will probably never use that are just slowing down your computer.
What can you delete?
That is what this article is about, I will explain everything I know is safe to delete, and what happens if you do!
Everything I explain in this article has been done on my main system and my other systems for at least 3 months now, my systems have been perfectly stable, and I dont think I have got a fatal error or BSOD yet this year!
Will this really improve the speed of my system?
I dont have any results to prove it, but I think it does improve boot time a little, and after a clean install, it does seem to make the system slightly faster after deleting these things.
Disclaimer: In no way is neowin.net or NeoMayhem responsible for what you do to your system, this is ONLY for advanced users who know a little about windows and computers and can reinstall/repair a windows installation if necessary. This has worked for me wonderfully and hopefully will for you to!
Final notes: This has been tested on Windows XP Pro Final and SP1 (Not home, but it should work fine) Windows 2003 Enterprise Server 3700, RTM, and The Free Evaluation version (Any 2k3 version should work fine), and Windows 2000 Pro. If the following folders are not on your 2k/2k3 system it means they are only in XP and you dont need to worry about them.
If for some reason you can not delete a folder, just delete the files inside, I tried to make not of the folders that cant be deleted, but depending on your system and if you use FAT32 or NTFS it may be different.
All of the paths listed in there are C:\Windows and C:\Program Files, if your folders have different names (Like C:\WINNT on windows 2k) then you should use that path instead.
Well, lets get started deleting, these start out ordered from largest to smallest, but after the first few files they are all fairly small, and are just in a random order.
NOTE: DONT DELETE THIS FOLDER, JUST ALL THE FILES INSIDE! This folder uses a LOT of hard drive space, it holds a backup of every system file that windows uses. Deleting this will cause a SFC error when you replace a system file instead of windows putting back the original file. For people who want to mod there system, this is a good thing.
NOTE: DONT DELETE THIS FOLDER, JUST ALL THE FILES INSIDE! This folder only exists if you installed a service pack on XP, if you did a slipstream it wont be here either. This folder is the same as the dllcache, but has the new files that were updated by a service pack. If you delete the dllcache, deleting this is just like finishing the job.
These $uninstall----$ folders are used whenever you want to uninstall a windows update. If you delete them, you can not uninstall the update(s), but if the updates are working fine for you, there should be now reason to remove them.
This folder contains some custom cursers for windows, if you are happy with the default cursers, or use your own set like Blue Curve, then deleting this wont effect you at all.
- c:\windows\driver cache\i386\
NOTE: DONT DELETE THIS FOLDER, JUST ALL THE FILES INSIDE! This is one you may not want to delete, this takes up a bit of space (about 80mb) but windows uses if you ever add or remove windows components and things like printer drivers. If youre your hardware is already working fine, you dont need this folder on your hard drive. For example, if you delete this folder, and try to install IIS, windows will ask for the CD or Network share with the files on it, if you dont need to add or remove windows components often, deleting this will free up some space for you.
NOTE: DONT DELETE THIS FOLDER, JUST ALL THE FILES IN SIDE! This folder contains all of the windows help files. If you are like me, and think they having 50mb of help files is a waste, then you probably want to delete it. If you delete this folder and try to view a help file, the Help and Support center will come up with a 404 error. No harm is done, you just cant view the help files (because you deleted them). There is also a tours folder inside of the help folder, you can delete everything in this folder also, but windows wont let you remove the actual folder.
NOTE: DONT DELETE THIS FOLDER, JUST ALL THE FILES INSIDE! This folder contains a lot of windows drivers, if you ever add new hardware, windows looks in this folder, then on your CD drive for the latest drivers. Any hardware you might get will probably come with the drivers on a disk, so this folder is just a wasting space on your hard drive with outdated drivers. If all of your hardware is working fine, and you dont plan on adding any new hardware for a while, deleting this wont effect your system at all. If you dont want to delete everything in it, you can go into the folder, press CRTL+F and search for mdm*.* and delete everything that comes up. These are all modem drivers, and it is very unlikely you will ever need them because you either have a modem installed already, or if you do add one, it will come with newer drivers.
This folder is the XP Search assistant, if you delete it, windows will just use the classic 2k style search instead, which is more functional and easier to use.
WARNING: Some people have reported problems with this, and have not been able to search, try this at your own risk!!!
- c:\windows\downloaded installations\
This folder holds the installers for some programs you download and install, for example, Tweak UI puts its installer in this folder, and so you can repair it or update its components later. Deleting this folder wont harm any programs I have ever seen, but you should look inside this and see what you are deleting first.
These are the default windows sounds, if you dont want them, deleting them wont hurt anything.
This is the system restore apps, if you delete this, system restore will no longer work. Before you delete this, you should go into System Restore, and delete all your restore points, and then you should go to the system properties and disable system restore. After that, you can delete this folder, and not worry about system restore slowing down your system or sucking up space.
This folder is the File and Settings Transfer wizard. If you have no need for it, then deleting this wont have any other effects besides the File and Settings Transfer wizard not working anymore.
13 A. c:\program files\msn
13 B. c:\program files
These are the MSN Explorer and Net Meeting applications. If you dont need or use them, then you can delete these folders (For net meeting, you can only delete the files inside) and the only thing it will effect is that these programs will know longer work.
NOTE: DONT DELETE THIS FOLDER, JUST ALL THE FILES INSIDE! In this folder is the Out of Box Experience (The screens you see right after you have installed XP for the first time), and the XP Product Activation stuff. If you have a Retail or OEM version of XP, and you think you might ever need to activate again, DONT DELETE THIS. So unless you are using XP or 2k3 CORP, you may still need this folder someday.
This folder holds the MS Agent program. The MS Agent is a gay little wizard thing that looks like the Office Assistant, I personally hate this thing, and removing it will get rid of it for good! If windows wont let you remove the folder, just delete everything inside of it, and everything inside of the intl folder.
This is the crappy MS Java components that dont work well, and MS got sued over. If you have Windows XP slipstreamed with SP1a you wont have this because MS no longer distributes it. If you use websites that use Java Applets, you should keep this, or remove it and install Suns Java VM.
This is a little app that allows you to switch between multiple languages, if you only use one language, then deleting this wont effect you at all. NOTE: I think this folder only exists on XP Pro because Home Edition doesnt support multiple languages.
After you have deleted everything you want to, I recommend you run the Regisrty Cleaner from jvPowerTools ( http://www.vtoy.fi/jv16 ). This will remove all the references to things you deleted so a window doesnt look for the files any more. If you delete the Java Folder, RegCleaner will find at least 50 reg entries related to it, and can remove them for you if you want.
What else can I do to make the windows folder smaller?
If you want to make your windows folder even smaller, and you use NTFS, you can use NTFS compression to make the windows folder smaller. Although you can compress everything it, compressing EXEs and DLL files will make you system a little bit slower, so I recommend compressing everything BUT EXE and DLL files.
Using this guide, you should easily be able to make your windows folder less then 1gb, but because some programs add there own files to the windows dir, your results may differ from what other people have gotten there folder sizes to. After a clean install, it is fairly easy to get your windows folder less then 700mb so you can put a image file of your clean install on one CD and be able to restore it easily.