SOLVED! DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-Image /StartComponentCleanup

The “DISM.exe /online /cleanup-image /startcomponentcleanup” command is used to reduce the size of the WinSxS folder. Other ways of reducing the WinSxS folder include using the task scheduler, running DISM scan, resetting Base, clearing temporary files, and using the Disk Cleanup. Getting more space on your device could be a challenge and this article shall address how to do it. 

WinSxS In Windows: Compilation 

WinSxS, short for Windows Side By Side, is a folder that resides at C:\Windows\WinSxS on Windows computers. This folder stores all the files that the operating system needs to maintain stability during and after update procedures. A number of actions that WinSxS dictate include: 

  • Install new component versions with Windows Update 
  • Enable or disable Windows features.
  • Add roles or features through Server Manager.
  • Move systems between different Windows Editions.
  • System recovery 
  • Uninstall  problematic updates
  • Run programs using side-by-side assemblies

Deleting WinSxS would lead to grave consequences. One of the most common problems that you will experience if WinSxS is no longer around is that your system cannot boot up. Aside from that, the absence of WinSxS means updates will not be installed and the system operation will not proceed as expected.

How To Cleanup WinSxS Folder

Check Out The Size

Before doing anything, it’s wise to determine the size of the WinSxS folder using the Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) tool.

  • Step 1: Press Windows + R to open Run.
  • Step 2: Type cmd then hit Enter to open Command Prompt.
  • Step 3: Type dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /AnalyzeComponentStore then hit Enter.
  • Step 4: Soon, you will see the size of WinSxS and Windows is going to recommend it if cleanup is necessary. 

Make Use Of Task Scheduler

By default, the StartComponentCleanup task automatically cleans up components when the device isn’t in use. You can also run it manually when you feel there is a need to free up some space.

  • Step 1: Press Windows key, type task scheduler then hit Enter to open Task Scheduler.
  • Step 2: Look to the left, double-click Task Scheduler Library and select the arrow beside Microsoft.
  • Step 3: Double-click Windows and choose Servicing.
  • Step 4: Go to the middle pane, click StartComponentCleanup, look to the left and hit Run. Be patient as it may take a while before it finishes running.

Run DISM 

  • Step 1: Press the Windows key + X to open the Quick link menu.
  • Step 2: Click Command Prompt (Admin) to open Command Prompt with administrator privileges. 
  • Step 3: In Command Prompt (Admin), type DISM.exe /online /cleanup-image /startcomponentcleanup then hit Enter.
  • Step 4: Close Command Prompt and see how things turn out.

Reset Base

If you want to save more space, you should reset base as it removes all superseded versions of components in the component store. Existing updates can’t be uninstalled following the execution of the command but that won’t hinder the uninstallation of future updates.

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  • Step 1: Press the Windows key + X to open the Quick link menu.
  • Step 2: Click on Command Prompt (Admin) to open the Command Prompt window
  • Step 3: In an elevated command prompt, type Dism.exe /online /Cleanup-Image /StartComponentCleanup /ResetBase then hit Enter.
  • Step 4: Once done, type exit then hit Enter

Storage Sense

  • Step 1: Press Windows + I to open Settings.
  • Step 2: Select System then go to Storage.
  • Step 3: Under the Local disk, click temporary files then wait for your system to complete the scanning.
  • Step 4: Check the checkbox beside Windows Update Cleanup then click Remove files.

Disk Cleanup

  • Step 1: Press Windows + R to open Run.
  • Step 2: Type control then hit Enter to open Control Panel.
  • Step 3: Select Administrative tools then double-click Disk Cleanup.
  • Step 4: Check the checkboxes beside the files you want to clean up including Windows update cleanup and hit Ok.

Note: If you don’t see the Windows Update Cleanup option, it means there aren’t any WinSxS folder files that can be safely deleted.

Unable To Delete Files: Advice 

If the DISM tool fails to clear files in the WinSxS folder, you will need to repair the corrupt Windows Image. 

    • Step 1: Press Windows + R to open Run.
    • Step 2: Type cmd then hit Enter to open Command Prompt.
    • Step 3: Stop the Windows Update service by typing net stop wuauserv and hit Enter 
    • Step 4: Rename the software distribution folder, download old updates then start the Windows Update service by typing the following commands. Hit Enter after you finish typing each of the commands.
  • cd %systemroot%\SoftwareDistribution
  • ren Download Download.old
  • net start wuauserv
    • Step 5: Restart BITS by typing the following commands. Hit Enter after each command.
  • net stop bits
  • net start bits
    • Step 6: Restart the Cryptographic service and reset Catroot2 by typing the following commands.
  • net stop cryptsvc
  • cd %systemroot%\system32
  • ren catroot2 catroot2old
  • net start cryptsvc
  • Step 7: Restart your computer then clear files in the WinSxS folder again using the DISM tool.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is WinSXS so big?

The WinSXS folder contains every operating system file. When Windows installs updates, it drops the new Windows component in WinSXS while keeping the old component in the same folder. This means that every Windows Update you install increases the size of your WinSXS folder.

Why do I have an AMD64 folder on an Intel computer?

There is the AMD64 code branch which includes both AMD and Intel processors, and there is the IA64 code branch which includes only Intel Itanium 64-bit processors. Intel processors use AMD64 branch code because they use features and microcode licensed from AMD.

Tips And Tricks

  • Upload rarely used files to cloud storage then delete the original to save space.
  • For ease of convenience, run Command Prompt with administrator privileges.
  • Keep an eye out for Windows updates.
  • Regularly remove duplicated files.

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