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Thread: Delete Backup Files of update

  1. #1
    Myself Guest

    Delete Backup Files of update

    Is it safe to delete backup files vista's update? Its taking a lot of space.

  2. #2
    Bob Guest

    Re: Delete Backup Files of update

    My personal practice is very different. These uninstall files
    really take up very little room. Unless you are very short of disk
    space, I think it's safer to keep them even if you think you'll never
    need them, just in case.

  3. #3
    MowGreen [MVP] Guest

    Re: Delete Backup Files of update

    Yes, but ... you can back them up *just in case* something goes awry.
    Store them on an external USB drive, thumb drive, or burn them to
    portable media [CD/DVD].

    " Backups are a Users best friend. "

    I want to Save Space and delete unnecessary files after installing a
    Windows Update patch or Service Pack

  4. #4
    Myself Guest
    So if I delete those backup files, is it going to hamper the future updates?
    I couldn't find any folder named "$hf_mig$" in vista. Anyway thanks for the

  5. #5
    Shenan Stanley Guest

    Re: Delete Backup Files of update

    If you think the updates are actually using up the majority of your space -
    perhaps you have too small of a hard disk drive or at least too small of a
    partition for the system to be using (system being the installation and
    working files of your given OS.)

    Empty your Temporary Internet Files and shrink the size it stores to a
    size between 64MB and 128MB..

    - Open ONE copy of Internet Explorer.
    - Select TOOLS -> Internet Options.
    - Under the General tab in the "Temporary Internet Files" section, do the
    - Click on "Delete Cookies" (click OK)
    - Click on "Settings" and change the "Amount of disk space to use:" to
    something between 64MB and 128MB. (It may be MUCH larger right
    - Click OK.
    - Click on "Delete Files" and select to "Delete all offline contents"
    (the checkbox) and click OK. (If you had a LOT, this could take 2-10
    minutes or more.)
    - Once it is done, click OK, close Internet Explorer, re-open Internet

    You can use an application that scans your system for log files and
    temporary files and use that to get rid of those:

    Ccleaner (Free!)

    Other ways to free up space..


    Those can help you visually discover where all the space is being used.

    If you are concerned over less than 5GB of space total at any given time
    being freed up on your hard disk drive - then something is wrong and
    you would be better off spending a little and putting in a drive that is
    likely 3-8 times as large as what you have not and not concerning
    yourself over such a small amount of space OR you seriously need
    to consider what you really need on the system and what should be

    Basic housekeeping 101... - in an actual home, if your storage area gets
    full - you either have to decide what you really should have in the storage
    area and what could go or you have to find a new place to store stuff
    that will accommodate everything you need. You don't walk into a
    warehouse of cars, look at the filing cabinet in the corner where
    you keep all the records for the cars and decide that if you move it out of
    the warehouse - you will have more room for cars.

  6. #6
    sgrant Guest

    Re: Delete Backup Files of update

    Very unfortunate conclusions drawn here. Maybe the OP has a very legitimate
    reason for not wanting half a gig worth of garbage laying around on his
    drive. What happened to the good ole days of keeping our environments clean?
    I want to backup my pristine machine to a DVD and trust me, the .5 gig makes
    a difference.

  7. #7
    MowGreen Guest
    Which definition of garbage are you using in terms of computer science ?

    1) semantic garbage
    Semantic garbage is any object or data which will never be accessed
    by a running program, for any combination of inputs to the program.

    2) syntactic garbage
    Syntactic garbage refers to objects or data within a program's
    memory space that are unreachable from the program's root set.

    ..5 GB on modern HDs is a trivial size.
    Some browsers are set by Default to cache at least that same amount.
    That's the location where the malware authors are likely to stash their
    executables. Yet, the Default setting of most browsers is to *retain*
    said cache when the browser closes.

    IF a need arises where someone *must* uninstall an update, having the
    uninstall subfolders present is handy.
    In the *vast majority* of cases, deleting the uninstall subfolders is
    desirable since the updates will *never* be uninstalled.

    Backups can be done incrementally and what's backed up should be
    completely up to the User.

    *Imaging* a freshly installed HD, including all apps/programs/whatever,
    is another matter entirely and NO unnecessary data should ever be included.

    Otherwise ... I prefer NNTP to forums as there's less garbage there.

    IIRC, Vista/Win7 uses VSS for branch comparison and stores the uninstall
    information there. Do you know something I don't, Harry ?

  8. #8
    Harry Johnston [MVP] Guest
    Vista doesn't use uninstall folders, does it? Instead it has the servicing
    store, which is definitely not safe to muck about with.

    You may know something I don't - I've never heard that VSS may be involved. Any references?

    I did a bit of poking around and found this:


    which more or less matches my understanding of how Vista+ servicing works.
    There's also this:


    and the same engineer has his own blog which is a good read if you're interested in servicing:


    In particular see the third comment on this post:


    The short summary of all of this is that it is not possible to (safely) delete
    the uninstallation backup files in Vista/W7, except for the special case of
    service packs for which a specific tool, different for each service pack, is

    It should perhaps also be specifically pointed out that these files are stored
    differently than in XP. In XP you have the system directories which contain the
    current version of all the files, and you have uninstall directories which
    contain backups of the files that were in the system directories at the time the
    particular installation took place. Of course, this means that unless you
    uninstall updates in the right order you may wind up in an inconsistent state.

    In Vista and above, the servicing store contains a copy of all the files that
    were originally on your system in a single logical store (I'm simplifying). For
    each update you have applied, there's another logical store containing the
    corresponding files. When you add or remove an update, the system works out
    which version of each file should be in the system directories (usually the most
    recent!) and puts a copy there. (In fact, to conserve disk space, identical
    files are in fact hard linked together so that there is only one physical copy.)

    The upside of this is that you can add and remove updates in any order you like,
    and the servicing store will make sure the right files wind up in place. It
    also eliminates some of the issues that update.exe suffered relating to the
    release and hotfix branches. It's a much more elegant system, unfortunately the
    implementation doesn't seem to have performed as per spec.

    In principle I suppose someone could reverse engineer the servicing store and
    figure out how to identify those files that have been superceded, and then
    delete them. On the other hand, I suspect that Windows would notice they were
    missing, mark the servicing store as corrupt, and refuse to install any further
    updates until the problem is corrected.

    About half the time I eventually find the information I needed was on TechNet or
    MSDN after all, but I usually only find it completely by accident while
    researching something else months later.

    I think perhaps the index and the search engine could do with a little work!

  9. #9
    MowGreen Guest

    Re: Delete Backup Files of update

    Have already seen those 2 blog articles explaining CBS and WinSxS
    before, but I can't find their relation to VSS anywhere ... yet. <w>
    Since my XP HD up and died, I no longer have the reference handy. Will
    ask and get back to you.

    Wouldn't it be neat if MS actually included all of the info on TechNet
    so that we didn't have to rummage around the 'net trying to scruff it up
    .... or is that asking too much ?

  10. #10
    Robert Aldwinckle Guest

    Re: Delete Backup Files of update

    The problem is Okapi. If you want to search for more than one term you
    *must* separate them with AND (all caps). Even worse is not having
    closures any more. E.g. in order to search for KBWU* you have to express
    it like this: KBWUA THRU KBWUZ (really intuitive that! and hopefully it
    doesn't overlook any other non-alphabetic possibilities outside that range.)
    However, I recently read somebody asking about Document Explorer version
    9.0? I haven't been doing any offline browsing for a long time. Perhaps
    it has all changed? Maybe even back to the way it *used* to work? <eg>

  11. #11
    MowGreen Guest

    Re: Delete Backup Files of update

    After further rummaging I found another blog, by an MVP, that confirms
    what I did NOT know about WinSxS:

    and, another on MSDN about why one should keep their mitts off it:
    Deleting from the WinSxS directory

    The only info I found on VSS dealt with XP/WS2K3 and further confused
    me, which isn't really that hard to do.

    In conclusion, I'm starting to think that certain security software is
    the culprit behind missing/corrupt .mum and manifest files that are
    supposed to be hard linked to the registry (0x800F0900, 0x80070002, etc)
    Such errors are supposed to/may be rectified when running CheckSUR.
    That explains why the size of the January release of CheckSUR for Vista
    x86 is 104.1 MB as compared to the one for Win 7, which is "only"
    28.9 MB.

    Thanks for putting me onto this information, Harry.

    *-343-* FDNY
    Never Forgotten
    "Security updates should *never* have *non-security content* prechecked

    Harry Johnston [MVP] wrote:
    > On 2010-03-12 11:07 a.m., MowGreen wrote:
    >> Wouldn't it be neat if MS actually included all of the info on TechNet
    >> so that we didn't have to rummage around the 'net trying to scruff it up
    >> ... or is that asking too much ?

    > About half the time I eventually find the information I needed was on
    > TechNet or MSDN after all, but I usually only find it completely by
    > accident while researching something else months later.
    > I think perhaps the index and the search engine could do with a little
    > work!
    > Harry.

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