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

A new Disk Cleanup wizard plug-in, available as a hotfix for Windows 7 SP1, promises to free up disk space.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

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 By adding a new plug-in for the Disk CleanUp Wizard, this hotfix allows users to delete outdated Windows Updates.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an update, all the previously installed versions of Windows Updates are kept in WinSxS directory even when they become superseded by an update released in future.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.

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