Free space in c:\windows\installer

I found this trick yesterday for freeing up disk space on tight Windows 7 installs by using an automated tool to purge the C:\Windows\Installer directory. Windows 7 users with monster HDDs won’t have to worry about this, but if you’re running Windows 7 on a small SSD, you will.

But what if everything in C:\Windows\Installer is in use, like it was on my machine? Compress it!

You can right-click in Explorer and select Compress, but there’s a faster way.

Open an administrator command prompt, then issue the following command:

compact /c /s c:\windows\installer

Then it will buzz through the contents of the directory, telling you how much space it saved on each file, and in the end, you get a grand total. I was able to save 200 megabytes. Not a lot, but not chump change, either.

While you’re at it, there are some other directories you can give the same treatment:

c:\windows\inf
c:\windows\help
c:\windows\logs

The return on investment there is more likely to be along the lines of tens of megabytes, but again, it costs no money and a minimal amount of your time. You can switch to another task and check back in a few minutes to see what you saved.

The more space you can free up on a small SSD, the better the wear leveling will work and the longer the drive will last. Although I haven’t actually tried this myself, the theoretical life expectancy of an SSD running at 90% capacity is around 3 years.

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