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C:\Windows\Installer Folder is out of control!

    Question

  • I am trying to figure out if there is a tool or if I can manually remove the contnets of this folder.

    On my Windows 2003 server we have about 50 GB on the C Drive. We are down to about 4 free GB's due to one folder.

    C:Windows\Installer

    From what I read I should not delete this folder. I am curious if this is correct also why. I could get another HD but if I can delete a folder that takes up over 30GBs I rather do that.


    thanks.
    Thursday, October 04, 2007 2:08 PM

Answers

  • MsiZap.exe is also available inside the Installer Cleanup Utility package (349KB):


    http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;290301

    After installation browse to C:\Program Files\Windows Installer Clean Up\ to find MsiZap.exe

    This page may be helpful as well:

    http://blogs.msdn.com/heaths/archive/2007/01/31/how-to-safely-delete-orphaned-patches.aspx
    Monday, July 07, 2008 9:29 AM
  • HI.
    I just want to thank you all for the answers. msizap G (without !) works just fine. I've just free'd 20 GB of space from an 40 GB C: drive of an WXP sp3 computer.
    Then I've tested the resolution an uninstalled and installed a few apps, and the computer works just fine.
    Thank you again.
    Monday, May 25, 2009 12:24 PM
  • I had multiple duplicate files in the Installer folder.  I used the MsiZap.exe program with the "G" switch and it removed all of the duplicates.  The size of the folder went from 26GB to 1.7GB.
    Sunday, July 12, 2009 3:34 PM

All replies

  • For the moment I moved the folder to another drive to free up space on my C drive.
    Thursday, October 04, 2007 2:18 PM
  • The folder is there to help install and uninstall programs and patches. I moved it to another drive and it works fine. You can move some folders back when you need to uninstall certain programs.

     

    Monday, January 21, 2008 3:39 PM
  • I did the same thing by moving to a different partition in case I needed them. Well after running windows updates, the folder started filling up again with those same types of files. So now I am not sure what to do. I am running out of drive space on C.

    Friday, January 25, 2008 7:03 PM
  • I know it doesn't solve the problem but it can help. You can add space to your disk or partition by using the command linkd (Windows Resource Kit) :

     

    C:\Program Files\Windows Resource Kits\Tools>linkd


    Links an NTFS directory to a target valid object name in Windows 2000.

     

    LINKD Source [/D] Destination

      Source             - Displays the Windows 2000 name targeted by Source

      Source Destination - Links source directory to Destination directory or a
                           Windows 2000 device or any valid Windows 2000 name

      Source /D          - Deletes Source, regardless of whether a link exists at
                           source

      /?                 - Prints this help message

     

    LINKD grafts (links) the target name directly into the name space at Source, so that Source subsequently acts as a name space junction. The Source directory must reside on a disk formatted with NTFS in Windows 2000. The destination (the target of the link) can be any valid directory name or device name or valid object name in Windows 2000. When the target name does not resolve to a directory or a device, open calls fail.

     

    All characters in both the Source and Destination names must be in the ASCII character set. Usage of arbitrary Unicode characters is not supported.

     

    Type "LINKD /? | more" if you need to see all the help text

    Wednesday, January 30, 2008 6:23 PM
  • I am having the same problem.  My C:\Windows\Installer folder is filling up with files and folders.  It is taking up more space than all the other folders in the Windows path!  But only one of my servers is displaying this behavior.

     

    What's even stranger, is that though this folder exists on ALL my servers,  and every other server has less than a GB of data in this folder, the folder is not visible at all in Windows Explorer (even with hidden and system files set to visible).  But on the server where it is taking up over 5GB of space, the 'Installer' folder IS visible inside Windows Explorer.  The reason I do know the folder exists on other servers is because they do display contents in response to an explicit 'dir'  command.  So the only place it is visible is where it is out of control, making me wonder if one is related to the other.

     

    If these are updates, that have been applied or need to be referred to, why is it this folder has more information in it than everything else on my system drive!!!

     

    Only a few people seem to have this issue, but most replies are the same on forums and across the net... focusing on how to add space to your partition.  That is NOT a professional response.  You do not throw more hardware at something because it has a software bug.  Besides, that does not address the problem of backup size.

     

    Will someone at Microsoft please look into this issue and provide a better response than the Installer Cleanup Utility that is provided "as-is" and is documented to break other applications.

     

    To summarize the question for our offshore counterparts:  How do you properly and permanently reduce the size of the C:\Windows\Installer folder on Windows 2003 when it starts becoming bloated?

     

    Thank you in Advance....

     

    Keith Jakobs

     

    Sunday, February 24, 2008 1:13 AM
  • Not sure if anyone's got a handle on this but figured I woud throw in what i've found.  I downloaded but didn't use the installer cleanup tool (too much risk and too many bad stories).  I am currently following part of this article. http://support.microsoft.com/kb/274533

    If you scroll over the files they will show you what program they are for and other useful info.  A lot of the larger files appear to be duplicates of office patches.  Per the article i'm searching the reg for the file names of the msp files. I'm archiving the ones not found onto a storage server to make sure I have a back up.  Eventually I'll archive them to disk or tape just in case.


    -Josh
    Thursday, April 17, 2008 10:12 PM
  • I agree with what everyone has been saying Microsoft needs to address this issue.  I downloaded a simple drive viewer and peeked inside this folder and saw replica's of program patches and Uninstallers.  Its seems its been copied over 100 times for one program which was 110MB.  The folder finally reached a point of causing my page file to be next to nothing bring everything to a complete stand still or seemed like it.  Thank goodness i had plenty of ram!  i used the tree finder and simply too note of the date and time for the files i deleted.  I deleted the copies and left the one copy.  i believe this is a safe way to proceed.  I'm not sure what to do about files with different dates and file sizes since i have no way of knowing who and what program they are registered too?!?!?!   Wish i was smart enought to figure this out.. but this is beyond me.

     

    Thanks,

     

    Monday, June 02, 2008 3:57 PM
  • Fortunately...

     

    I was able to resolve this issue with the msizap.exe utility, though I dont recall where I found it.  Sorry I did not post my solution here earlier, but fortunately this thread was set to alert me to follow-ups.

     

    Anyone still having this problem should do a search for the msizap tool.

     

    Good Luck.

     

    Keith Jakobs

    Monday, June 02, 2008 5:18 PM
  • Well that might help with some of my issues do you know of  a WSUS cleaner. That is really what I am looking for.
    Wednesday, June 04, 2008 6:47 PM
  • This problem did occur for me on systems that were updated using WSUS.  The automatic updated still uses msi files, and it was remanants of these msi's from failed patch installs that were filling up my Installer folder.

     

    Give it a try, as in my experience, it does not cause any of the issues that the Installer cleanup tool creates.

     

    Keith

     

    Wednesday, June 04, 2008 11:19 PM
  • MsiZap.exe is also available inside the Installer Cleanup Utility package (349KB):


    http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;290301

    After installation browse to C:\Program Files\Windows Installer Clean Up\ to find MsiZap.exe

    This page may be helpful as well:

    http://blogs.msdn.com/heaths/archive/2007/01/31/how-to-safely-delete-orphaned-patches.aspx
    Monday, July 07, 2008 9:29 AM
  • There is the microsoft tool MSIZAP.

     

    This is designed to correctly and safely remove your insaller files.

     

    Although if you have an application that needs to refer to these it will expect to be able to do so

    Check out this area of your registry:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall

     

    However, you seem to have a hugely bloated installer folder, the above tool should be able to identify any installer files that your server is not aware of (I.e registered in the above area)

     

    use the msizap tool with the flag "g!" and it will identify orphan files, these you can delete

     

    also, look through the registry area above, see if there are applications on your server that you were not aware of.

     

    You do have a problem, and it is one I have never seen to this level.

    Thursday, August 14, 2008 12:25 PM
  •  

    Oops, this thread had been closed.. My bad Smile
    Thursday, August 14, 2008 12:28 PM
  • Does MSIZAP work correctly with Windows Storage Server 2003 64-bit OS?

    Thursday, August 14, 2008 3:02 PM
  • Well Adrian, I was running out of space on a 35Gb C Drive and running this gave me back 13.4Gb, just from orphaned installer files!

    many thanks,

    Crispy Duck

    Tuesday, September 16, 2008 10:12 PM
  • My problem is that I followed this problem to the msizap.exe solution, but that process will not open or run.  I know the issue and I know the solution, but I cannot find a way to get msizap to work.  It opens for a split second and then closes.  I just need a program that can make C:\windows\installer visible so that I can delete things in it.  Thanks if you can help.
    Sunday, November 02, 2008 4:57 PM
  • I just finished running this app, msizap.exe G! on my XP SP3 machine.  You must run this from the command prompt, dos.  On my machine it reported error code 2 and deleted part of the files, left most.  The message indicated the files in those weird folders belonged to S-1-5-18 if I remember, did not print that page.  Anyway, don't expect this program to be magic, at least it only got part of my problem.  My wife's machine has about 5GB of junk in the window\installer, impossible to run a virus scan, let it go five hours last night then gave up, reported about 5 million files on a machine which should have at most 500,000 files.  Hey, nothing strange has been done on her machine to warrant such havoc either...my old XP/SP3 machine well, it has been around the block but still much better than hers.  It's about time to go to the Apple store methinks!

    Windows is really hit a low point in my life.  Just tired of messing with stupid stuff like this, none of which is my fault.
    Tuesday, November 04, 2008 4:58 PM
  • It is perfectly visible on my laptop using Total Commander, you might want to try that.
    http://www.ghisler.com/

    Monday, December 08, 2008 1:49 PM
  • To see these files using Windows Explorer, click on Tools, Folder Options, and select the View tab.

    Scroll down a bit and change 'Hidden files and folders' to 'Show hidden files and folders'.

    Then uncheck 'Hide protected operating system files ...'.

    Just be careful, Microsoft puts the blinders on by default for a reason.

    I'm trying to figure out if I can delete the whole lot without killing my system, but from the discussion I get the impression it just fills up again.
    Tuesday, December 23, 2008 11:24 PM
  • After making the folder visible as mentioned above, a good application I found to chart the contents is 'Folder Size 4'.
    It can be downloaded by searching for it and is free for a 15day trial.
    I am currently working on a system with a 52 Gb Installer folder and trying to identify the items I can safely delete.

    Advice found sugests searching registry for each individual entry to establish which are orphans and deleting those, with well over a hundred such items called, for example, 38fd0.msp, I am in for a long job. I would realy like to find a suitable tool to do this, so I might try msizap and see what it does.

    HTH peacox
    Thursday, January 22, 2009 7:36 PM
  • HI.
    I just want to thank you all for the answers. msizap G (without !) works just fine. I've just free'd 20 GB of space from an 40 GB C: drive of an WXP sp3 computer.
    Then I've tested the resolution an uninstalled and installed a few apps, and the computer works just fine.
    Thank you again.
    Monday, May 25, 2009 12:24 PM
  • I had multiple duplicate files in the Installer folder.  I used the MsiZap.exe program with the "G" switch and it removed all of the duplicates.  The size of the folder went from 26GB to 1.7GB.
    Sunday, July 12, 2009 3:34 PM
  • I have the same problem and i delete the folder contents but alot of errors happend and some files appear without icons and i can't install or uninstall some files.



    you can try use Windows Installer CleanUp Utility

    Tuesday, November 03, 2009 1:33 PM
  • Yeah....thank u who ever gave this suggestion....i freed 23 gb on a 90 gb hdd. Hope this is a lasting solution....i was going crazy until this.

    Guys .. i see very many are missing the mark...

    after installing just open the command prompt by going to 

    Start-->Run and type cmd

    In the command prompt jst type msizap g and press enter.....

    all bad files gone

    thank u!!!!!!
    Tuesday, January 12, 2010 10:17 PM
  • I cannot seem to run the msizap g command.  I've tried it every way I can think of.  From my admin account I have tried run; cmd; then msizap g and I get back that msizap is not recognized.  I have also run under c prompt: C:\WINDOWS\System32\cmd.exe to get to the c prompt under System32 and then run C:\>msizap G.  The dos window just idles and returns nothing to me.  I have downloaded the installer cleanup tool and can find the MsiZap.exe file where it belongs but I can't seem to make it run.  My Installer folder has 71 Gigs in it and my hard drive is full!  Help!

    Thanks

    Keith (another Keith)
    Monday, January 18, 2010 11:11 AM
  • http://www.pagestart.com/msizap.html

    First: Open a command window:
    Next: Change the default folder to: C:\Program Files\Windows Installer Clean Up>
    Then: At the command prompt enter:
    msizap !g   >  zapresults.txt
    Press the ‘Enter’ key.

    Changing the default folder was the trick.  I used the program Folder Sizes 4 to open the command from this folder.  Running msizap from here was like magic.  My Installer folder is now982 Mb instead of 72 Gb!!!!!!
    • Proposed as answer by asharpguy Monday, January 18, 2010 12:25 PM
    Monday, January 18, 2010 12:23 PM

  • Hello.

    I have a Wndows XP Pro, SP3 Dell computer.

    I see a lot of people have had success with this program.  I can't seem to get it to do anything.

    I tried running this as Administrator:

    MSIZAP G!

    Here is what it yields every time:

    C:\Program Files\Windows Installer Clean Up>msizap.exe G!
    MsiZapInfo: Performing operations for user S-1-5-21-1645522239-842925246-7253455
    43-1020
    Removing orphaned cached files.
    No product/patch data was found.

    C:\Program Files\Windows Installer Clean Up>


    I even tried creating another user account as Administrator and logging on as that user.  It still does not work.

    Any help would be gratefully appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Tony

    Sunday, February 14, 2010 7:53 PM

  • Hello.

    I have a Wndows XP Pro, SP3 Dell computer.

    I see a lot of people have had success with this program.  I can't seem to get it to do anything.

    I tried running this as Administrator:

    MSIZAP G!

    Here is what it yields every time:

    C:\Program Files\Windows Installer Clean Up>msizap.exe G!
    MsiZapInfo: Performing operations for user S-1-5-21-1645522239-842925246-7253455
    43-1020
    Removing orphaned cached files.
    No product/patch data was found.

    C:\Program Files\Windows Installer Clean Up>


    I even tried creating another user account as Administrator and logging on as that user.  It still does not work.

    Any help would be gratefully appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Tony

    Same here on Vista Business SP2 32bit.
    Thursday, March 11, 2010 8:14 AM
  • Ok...One of my client's Domain Controller is having the same exact problem with the Installler folder filling up. MsiZap.exe G! seems to be a temporary solution. It definitely cleans up space but within a few weeks I have to run it again because the Installer folder continues to fill up. Does anyone have a permanent solution for this. I am running WSUS to push my updates out.
    Wednesday, April 14, 2010 3:26 AM
  • I'm resurrecting this thread because I have a problem with MsiZap : It finds no product data, and when I look into HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Installer\UserData, the SID that has a lot of Products installed is not a user, but a group with the same name as me! And apparently MsiZap doesn't search it.

    Thursday, December 16, 2010 9:26 AM
  • Hello Gusac.

    Thanks for your help with this.

    I tried your suggestion and the Windows/Installer folder is still over 12 GB.

    Thanks,
    Tony


    Stop The World, I want To Get Off!
    Monday, February 14, 2011 8:10 PM
  • I have Windows 7 and the Windows/Installer folder size issue. I have read on several forums (including this one) and most of them point to the 'Windows Installer Cleanup Utility', but I could not find it on the page that Support people have been throwing at like END-Solution...can anybody else have issues finding this ghostly utility on this page "http://support.microsoft.com/kb/290301" ???

    My second question is, is the 'Windows Installer Cleanup Utility" been tested and claimed safe for Windows 7 as well or people here are just taking it for granted as they have used it for Windows-xp and Vista!

     

    Sometimes, I am amazed how Microsoft Support gets dumb, blind and becomes object of frustration !

    Monday, February 21, 2011 1:38 PM
  • The MsiZap documentation has a "M" option that removes "Managed patch registration info".

    What is this info and what are the known consequences of removing it?


    Edit: I eventually noticed that unlike the MSIs, the $PatchCache$ subfolder can be NT-compressed a healthy amount. Of a total of 10.5 GiB, the subfolder's size went from 5.7 GiB to 3.1 GiB, a 45% gain.

    I don't know what the effect on performance will be.

    Wednesday, March 30, 2011 9:36 AM
  • The download you talk about is no longer available.

     

    qoute:

    The Windows Installer Cleanup utility (MSICUU2.exe) that was previously referred to in this article resolved some installation problems but sometimes caused issues with other programs or components that are installed on the computer. Because of this, the tool has been removed from the Microsoft Download Center. 

     

    So this post is no longer a solution to the problem!

    Friday, April 22, 2011 8:54 AM
  • Microsoft has removed it from Downloads. You can still get it from Major Geeks though:

    http://majorgeeks.com/download.php?det=4459

    Friday, September 02, 2011 3:54 PM
  • Hi namoohoy,

    I would suggest the duplicate files deleter its the tool I use to remove the duplicate and unnecessary contents of that folder. I had tried this program it has a free trial you can try it also. It will help you solve the problem you are encountering.

    Sunday, November 04, 2012 1:22 PM
  • I did two things to help with this. First, I compressed the folder. I did this a while back and no issues so far. Secondly, I removed the older files and directories. This freed up about 6 GB. No issues yet, but I just did it.
    • Proposed as answer by AMDarden1 Monday, February 18, 2013 10:04 PM
    Monday, February 18, 2013 10:03 PM
  • You are exactly right, this fixes only part of the problem, you might get your disk space back but over time the installers gather back up.

    I see this a lot with broken .net installations, broken as in the security fixes won't install because the main .net install is somehow non-standard or corrupted.

    msizap G is the first step to free up the disk space, but if you stop there over time (by default each night at 3AM) the updates will attempt to re-apply and make another copy, then the next day and the next, after a few months the disk is full again.

    So after you free the disk space you need to ensure your windowsupdates say "No updates remaining" or else you will continue to have this problem crop up. (another solution if you are completely stumped is to hide the update giving you problems, so it won't continue trying to install)

    One consolation is Microsoft allows opening tickets for update issues at no charge, it is of course slow email correspondence but if you're doing this for your personal PC it beats calling an IT guy out because update issues especially .net can be tedious to solve.

    Thursday, October 10, 2013 7:52 PM