How to see the actual size of the WinSxS folder in Windows 8.1

The WinSxS folder, which is located inside the C:\Windows folder, represents the Component Store in modern Windows versions like Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8. In that folder, Windows stores its system files which are then hard linked to C:\Windows\system32. It is hard to say how much disk space is exactly used by the WinSxS folder, because it contains many hardlinks, so File Explorer just shows the wrong folder size. Let's see how we can view the correct size of the WinSxS folder.
First of all, you should know that the files in WinSxS are required for proper functioning of Windows and you should not delete them using third party tools. Only use official supported methods like Disk Cleanup to clean the Component Store or use DISM to uninstall apps you don't need. The Component Store is modified when updates are installed, or when Windows features like .NET Framework 3.5 or IE are enabled or disabled. The Windows Component Store can get really big after it is serviced and can take a lot of disk space.

In Windows 8.1, it is possible to get the actual size of the WinSxS folder using the built-in DISM command. Here you go:

  1. Open an elevated command prompt. See all ways to open the elevated command prompt in Windows 8.
  2. Type the following command:
    Dism.exe /Online /Cleanup-Image /AnalyzeComponentStore
  3. Wait for few minutes until DISM completes the analysis of the WinSxS folder. You will get something like this:

From the picture above, you can see that DISM shows the folder size which is displayed in Explorer along with the actual folder's size. You can get some free disk space back and clean up the WinSxS folder by following the instructions in this article: How to get free disk space back after installing Windows 8.1 Spring Update 1 (Feature Pack).

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