Microsoft rolls out a new hotfix for Windows 7 Service Pack 1

Microsoft rolls out a new hotfix for Windows 7 Service Pack 1

Summary: A new Disk Cleanup wizard plug-in, available as a hotfix for Windows 7 SP1, promises to free up disk space.


Microsoft's silence on the matter has made clear: There is not going to be a Service Pack 2 for either Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2. (Instead, Microsoft has moved to delivering smaller upgrades to its base-level operating systems, starting with Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012.)


But, as I blogged back in March, that doesn't mean Microsoft isn't going to continue to roll out updates to Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 in the form of hotfixes. The first of these was the Slow Boot Slow Login (SBSL) Hotfix Rollup for Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2. This was a rollup of 90 hotfixes that were released after SP1 for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

On October 8, Microsoft made available another new hotfix for systems running Windows 7 SP1. It's not a rollup, but it does provide some useful functionality: It updates the Disk Cleanup wizard in SP1. By adding a new plug-in for the Disk CleanUp Wizard, this hotfix allows users to delete outdated Windows Updates.

As explained on the Microsoft "Ask Premier Field Engineering (PFE) Platforms" blog:

(T)he WinSxS directory is a large consumer of disk space on Windows Clients and Servers. Over time, the WinSxS directory steadily increases in size.

So why is this?

One cause of this is Windows Updates. To allow the ability to uninstall an update, all the previously installed versions of Windows Updates are kept in WinSxS directory even when they become superseded by an update released in future. This accounts for Windows updates taking a lot of space and it continues to grow significantly as more and more updates are installed.

So how do we cleanup the WinSxS directory? Well, with each service pack released, we also give the option of performing a cleanup that removes all previous versions of the files updated by the service pack. However, service pack 1 released well over 2 years ago, and there has not been another service pack since. Think about all those files updated by security updates and hotfixes? Up until today, we have not had the ability to cleanup these files."

For more details about the new hotfix, check out the Ask PFE Platforms blog post. There's also a related Knowledge Base article on the disk-cleanup hotfix, with download links.

Topics: Windows, Microsoft, Storage, Windows Server


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Paragons of customer service!

    It just continues on! The march of great customer support, the delivery of ever-better products. Who else in the industry takes such pains to make sure that the user experience is not the "old excellence", but the newest, latest, greatest version of OS Awesome Sauce (TM, Mike Cox, reusable with permission)?! My rep told me this was coming -- but until the bits actually hit my desktop, I could not anticipate the cathartic effect! It's an emotional high when one realizes that one's vendor Truly Cares! My rep is worth every penny!
    • catharsis

      Can I expect to experience it when updating my workstation notebook, or it happens only on desktop computers?
  • Why?

    Why not just give us SP2?
    • because the ever wise leadership at microsoft

      doesnt want to back down on their promise NOT to release a second SP for Win7.

      So they will just end up releasing patch after patch and just not bundle them up. Nice job MS.
    • A bunch of reasons

      That it likely costs more to package and test a full service pack is probably part of the answer.

      Another part is that Windows Update has proven itself a great mechanism for delivering fixes and features. I update my PC soon after the second Tuesday of each month, I don't really need to go through the bother of installing a full SP.

      In addition, having another service pack has support lifecycle implications. If they were to ship a new service pack today, then Win7sp1 would go out of support in two years (Windows service packs remain supported until 2 years after the next one is released). This way, SP1 remains supported through to the end-of-life of the OS (which makes enterprise customers happy).
      • Oh Come On

        W7 is a good OS but is badly let down by the MS update process, it's absolutely torturous when compared to most Linux methods. This is an area MS really needs to do some serious work on in their next version of windows. What could be a bonus that it could also do a job similar to secunia psi.

        MS missed an opportunity around the time of W7 release. It should have released a new generation windows at the same time that addressed some of the architectural short comings of windows that could only be solved by breaking backward compatibility.
        Alan Smithie
        • FUD

          Other than the NT kernel needs more reboots after updates, there is little difference in the update process between most common Linux distro such as ubuntu or Redhat and Windows Vista/7/8. Both update the OS, software, and runtimes. And with the Windows Store in 8, now third party software can also be submitted for install and update.

          Linux has its place and is in some ways better than Windows and in others its weaker. But not really in updating in the past 3 OSs.
          Rann Xeroxx
      • 3rd one...

        there should be no differences in testing between hotfixes and service packs.

        Windows Update is also used to push service packs out, so that doesn't hold water either.

        But a new SP for Windows 7 would push its retirement date by about 18 months.
  • Have Fun On A New/Re-install of W7

    Get lots of coffee and biscuits as it's going to take a very longgggggg time getting all those updates done.

    Dumb move MS, just give us an SP roll up to make install life easier.
    Alan Smithie
    • What?

      Windows Update gives you access to every update available, and you can manually choose to remove any individual one should you need to.

      The only thing that a Service Pack has over Windows Update is that it's packaged together, it still takes the same amount of time to download and install the updates.
      • In the good old days

        You could slipstream in a SP and patches. If you have a lot of systems to deal with it made life much easier.
        Alan Smithie
      • reboots

        Not quite the same. With a SP, it's one install then one reboot. With the fixpacks it's install 5 FP, reboot. Install 5 more FP, reboot. Then 5 more FP, reboot, and on and on and on and on.....
    • Its not that bad.

      I reinstalled Windows 7 Home Basic on a friends computer the other day using media integrated with SP1 and the post SP1 updates took less than 30 mins on a 8 MB connection.
  • Now put one out for Windows 2008 R2

    My WinSxS is out of control.
  • Thie is the real fix

    Let me uninstall Windows and put on a real OS Microsoft!
    • Does Microsoft get in the way of you installing any OS on a Win7 box?


      On Win8, "certified" systems have to include secure-boot, but most BIOSes let you turn that off. Or, you might be able to find an OS that is secure-boot compatible (it's not Microsoft specific).

      I'm intrigued about what OS you find more "real" than Windows???
  • Automatically provided via Microsoft update...

    Offered yesterday as a "recommended" update with the rest of the Patch Tuesday stuff. Not necessary (at least for me) to manually download and install. Mary Jo's article was helpful with more detailed explanation and links to articles.
    • Double-down on the Extremely Helpful thanks, Mary Jo!

      Like Randy Smith, after following the links and reading the tip detail page, I ran the Disk Cleanup utility, thereby freeing 6.4 GB of disk-space.

      This was a long overdue improvement.

      As a former small business SysAdmin, I would partition our main server with a substantial fraction C: drive for the OS. After a time the damn thing would clog with Win Updates until functionality choked, always requiring some judicious surgery.

      JJ Brannon
  • windoz updates

    Here comes some more Net framework updates.
  • Need a service pack 2

    Getting really nasty. Install just Windows & .net updates and you are talking about quite a few hundred MB of updates. If you like to install hotfixes then there are hundreds more.
    BTW, bad terminology for Mary. What Microsoft released isn't a hotfix. A hotfix is the one that you need to request. They are available to the public but as the notice for the update says, it has not been fully tested. This "hotfix" released is a non-security update.