The Windows Servicing Guy

Tips and tricks from a Windows support engineer on issues related to servicing

General guidance on disk provisioning for WinSXS growth

General guidance on disk provisioning for WinSXS growth

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Seems like this question has come up a lot this past week at work:

How much space should I plan to provision for my new Vista, 2008, Win7, R2 installs? 

This questions comes up in one of two forms.  Either an admin is planning a new deployment and is just curious, or more likely, machines that were provisioned previously are now running out of disk space because the intial disk roll out was too small (usually these systems are under 20GB). 

My answer to this question is always the same: 40GB

Why 40?  Well it gives you good space growth for the servicing directory, which should be in the range of 7-15GB on most machines.  Keep in mind that as you patch your systems and add new roles and features, the WinSXS directory will grow in size.  Also, 40GB allows you to properly keep a reasonable page file on the system.  We see more and more client systems with 6+GB of physical RAM these days in workstation class machines and if you ever encounter an issue such as bugchecks on those systems, you want to be able to make sure you can properly capture a memory dump so we can look at it.  On server class machines, page files are typically moved from the root, so 40GB is a nice enough number to just secure space for growth without too much worry about space concerns

I know I am also asked a lot about what causes the growth in WinSXS and I've written about it in the past on my teams site: http://blogs.technet.com/b/askcore/archive/2008/09/17/what-is-the-winsxs-directory-in-windows-2008-and-windows-vista-and-why-is-it-so-large.aspx .  If you have to reclaim space, your options are fairly limited.  On Vista and 2008 machines with SP2, you can use the COMPCLN utility to make the service pack permanent and reclaim some space.  If you've already done that, you can force scavenging on the servicing directories by adding/removing a component (I usually use TelNet client because its small and quick).  On Win7 and R2 machines, we auto scavenge at specific intervals, so this isnt necessary and your WinSXS directory is probably correctly reflecting its size.

Hope this helps

--Joseph

Comments
  • Joscon,

    there is or not a solution for cleanup the winsxs on windows 7 ?

    What is the magic command ?

    I've read about vsp1cln.exe and compcln for vista and for windows 7 ?

    I've 14Gb of winsxs and just installed seven (from clean) about two months ago ! :-((

    hope in a real solution from MS ...

  • @Stretor;

    Assuming you're on SP1 I have information on that here: blogs.technet.com/.../how-to-reclaim-space-after-applying-service-pack-1.aspx

  • After running Windows 7 for a while I think the 40GB recommendation is a good one.  With my 30 GB SSD I'm just on the edge of a continual struggle to maintain free space.  Another 10 GB would probably be perfect.

  • Hi,

    Is 15GB a reasonable size for a Vista 32 Home Premium installation?

    Regards,

    Frank

  • Hi again, I meant 15 GB for only the winsxs folder, analysed with windirstat.

    ciao,

    Frank

  • @Frank;

    You would be getting close to the limit of what I consider reasonable.  Have you ever used VSP1CLN or COMPCLN to mark the Service Pack permanent on the system?  If not, you may want to consider doing that to remove some unneeded files from the machine and reclaim some space.

    --Joseph

  • @Frank

    Uninstall superseded updates. I did this on my friend Vista Sp2 HP and this saved 3GB of space by oly removing the old cummulative IE updates.

  • Uninstall superseded updates is the correct answer. I need a tool that can uninstall all superseded updates.

  • only in Windows 8 MS allows an automatic removal of replaced updates.