Safe to deleted files in C:\Windows\Installer???

Discussion in 'Windows XP Performance' started by Guest, Oct 13, 2004.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    there are a lot of file in the C:\Windows\Installer directory using up
    hundreds of megabytes of space. Whgy are these install files saved? Is it
    safe to delete them? Are they required to un-install software later?

    - jmd
    Guest, Oct 13, 2004
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  2. The only safe method to remove Installer files is
    to use the Windows Installer CleanUp Utility:

    Windows Installer CleanUp Utility;en-us;290301

    Carey Frisch
    Microsoft MVP
    Windows XP - Shell/User

    Be Smart! Protect Your PC!



    | there are a lot of file in the C:\Windows\Installer directory using up
    | hundreds of megabytes of space. Whgy are these install files saved? Is it
    | safe to delete them? Are they required to un-install software later?
    | - jmd
    Carey Frisch [MVP], Oct 13, 2004
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  3. Guest

    Timm Guest

    Looking at the Windows cleanup utility description, it seems to say it
    will completely uninstall selected programs and remove all related

    The real question is:

    a) What is the purpose of the Windows\Installer folder?
    b) What will happen if some or all of its contents is deleted?

    Timm, Apr 18, 2006
  4. Guest


    Dec 3, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Its perfectly okay to delete those stuff.
    you can even delete the whole folder if you wish.

    TechManNew, Dec 3, 2007
  5. Guest


    Jun 13, 2008
    Likes Received:
    knowing more than last guy

    sure.... delete any ability to uninstall anything you installed... If you dont care about the ability to uninstall then go ahead and delete that folder. but dont cry when your next upgrade to say... symantec anti-virus requires the previous instalation to be uninstalled and now you cant do it. You'll then have a few hours of work ahead of you to do a dirty uninstall/cleanup just so you can install your upgrade.

    TechManNew.... add a tight lip when you lack knowledge on a topic. One day your going to get someing in a serious bind...
    ronkljsdfkjhwkjfhkjsdf, Jun 13, 2008
  6. Guest


    Jul 2, 2008
    Likes Received:
    The answers you seek..


    Here is the solution for cleaning up a crowded Installer folder:

    In case the page goes away; essentially you download the Windows Installer Cleanup Tool from Microsoft which comes with a command line utility called msizap.exe. After installing the tool, run:

    C:\Program Files\Windows Installer Clean Up\msizap G!

    And it will automatically remove any .msp files that are not registered on your system. This process cleared over 6GB from a client's server system partition.


    SylentBobNJ, Jul 2, 2008
  7. Guest


    Jan 2, 2009
    Likes Received:
    I can speak from personal experience that deleting these files on Vista with Office 2007 will do much harm. for one, the Clean-up tool also unregisters things within the ACL, and after I used the tool, it essentially made every Shortcut invalid. It also made some of the programs stop working since things were unregistered. I almost never use System Restore, but I'm glad I left it on cause that was the only way to >>easily<< repair the damage.

    Until a more suitable solution presents itself, I'm leaving the Installer and MSOCache folders alone.
    Pr0x1, Jan 2, 2009
  8. Guest


    Feb 14, 2009
    Likes Received:
    THANKS. Your solution saved me from an impending disaster.

    ninja1hh, Feb 14, 2009
  9. Guest


    Sep 25, 2009
    Likes Received:
    dammit! Windows\Installer has 4.5GB files ?? you still think that I keep this files?? :mad:
    Nullstring, Sep 25, 2009
  10. Guest


    Feb 4, 2010
    Likes Received:
    Consider the Installer folder in the same light as C:\Program Files.

    It would be nice if windows/Microsoft would make it easy to designate where these folders are actually located. There are some registry hacks to relocate some of these folders, such as for the Program Files location, but even Microsoft doesn't follow its own rules.

    Point is, you often (usually) need the MSI file(s) used to install a product in order to patch, repair and uninstall the product. If this is missing, it is difficult to near impossible to properly maintain the product.
    Often the MSI is kept in the temp folder of the user doing the install. So if one cleans up the Temp folder as they should from time to time, and sometimes must to get a program to start working properly again (WinFax Pro anyone?), or if the user and his profile is deleted, you've just rendered the product unmaintainable. This 'feature' has rendered update issues for .net and Visual C++ 2005 redistributable.
    In the case of .net, you end up manually ripping it out, then reinstalling it from the beginning. Fun stuff.
    In the case of C++, one can download the original pre-SP1 version, extract the files, and point the SP1 installer to the extracted MSI. You actually have to do 2 extractions, one from the downloaded file, and again from the master MSI that contains the real MSI. Again, fun stuff but immensely easier than .net fix.

    So, MS now has a folder to keep many of these MSI's that you need in order to perform maintenance on your product, though many of their packages still miss the mark and store the original MSI in the temp folder, as do some third party products. MSOCache is another alternative, but still not the best naming approach, but at least it is out of the way of the root directory and out of the Temp folders. What I really get bugged about is those CSLID folders at root of drives.

    So, if you need to clean up the C: drive, and you feel the best approach is to shrink down the Installer folder, relocate its contents, but be sure to have it on hand, in the event you get the message (paraphrased) "Where in the world is this MSI? I can't do a single thing without it"
    Similarly but less of a problem is the $ folders at root of Windows directory. At least most of those are not likely necessary if the windows update that pertains to the particular folder has been long installed and working. Even then, best to have it on hand somewhere.

    What would really be nice is if applications were made to have a manifest so that users/utilities could clean up systems and remove files/registry entries that aren't accounted for in the manifests of accounted for applications.

    Now lets chat about the DLLs in system32....
    danman32, Feb 4, 2010
  11. Guest


    Mar 26, 2011
    Likes Received:
    Well, I just picked up a client's PC to clone a new larger hard drive into it as it is out of space and there is 59.1G out of 74.5G (Yes, you read it right) in the C:\Windows\Installer folder. Many are the same update (size, time stamp, properties, content) repeated over and over again with a different random name. It would appear that he ran short of disk space, so the update failed to run, and then downloaded the same update again which failed to run, and then downloaded.... well you get the picture. I can see they are a waste but I am loath to delete anything with it being a clients machine in case it breaks something, so I will clone in the larger hard drive in it and perhaps the updates and patches will be installed correctly, and monitor it. This has to be a shortcoming in the updater if it isn't checking that the update has already been downloaded.

    I just found this... "While the Windows Installer Cleanup utility resolved some installation problems, it sometimes damaged other components installed on the computer. Because of this, the tool has been removed from the Microsoft Download Center....."
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2011
    Balwag, Mar 26, 2011
  12. Guest


    Sep 1, 2011
    Likes Received:
    If Widows Installer Cleanup Utility conflicts with your Windows Program, uninstall it completely and to fix the corrupted file and MS Office 2007, follow these steps:
    Browse to where the Office 2007 installation files are stored, whether its on CD or in a folder on your drive. Right click the setup file and click Run as administrator and see if it installs then.
    Also try disabling your Antivirus and see if it resolves the problem. Another thing to try is disabling User Account Control temporarily.
    1. Go to User Accounts in Control Panel
    2. Change User Account Control Settings
    3. Pull the Slider down to lowest level possible
    4. Reboot the PC
    5. Now follow the instructions provided here:
    6. Download necessary tools to get your computer to the previous stage.
    lauramercier85, Sep 1, 2011
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