I have asked this on multiple forums, and the general answer is "Nothing can really be done about it"

First and foremost, i want to make it clear that i know what the WinSXS folder does and why it exists. So there is no need to explain that.

My issue is that the WinSXS folder seems to hold thousands of EXACT duplicates -- Not different versions -- But EXACT duplicates (same MD5 hashes and all).

On top of that, a large majority of the files within the WinSXS folder have a last access date of 2006.

At this very moment, my WinSXS folder is 13GB... My Vista partition is only 30GB because i opt to install all my software and games onto other partitions.

I am fast running out of space, and the WinSXS folder only seems to be getting bigger at this point.

Is there anything i can do to reduce its size, compact it, remove the duplicates, or just "clean" it out!?

Of course, i could simply format my Vista partition and resize it... But why should i? Vista is running 100% fine as it is. Resizing it just to make room for a folder that houses thousands of redundant files seems silly.

I'm running Vista x64 Ultimate.

Hi Ramzy,

Joseph, from our Enterprise Platforms Support team, has a good post about this on the ASKCore Blog. Quoting the relevant parts here:

All of the components in the operating system are found in the WinSxS folder – in fact we call this location the component store.  Each component has a unique name that includes the version, language, and processor architecture that it was built for.  The WinSxS folder is the only location that the component is found on the system, all other instances of the files that you see on the system are “projected” by hard linking from the component store.  Let me repeat that last point – there is only one instance (or full data copy) of each version of each file in the OS, and that instance is located in the WinSxS folder....

The only way to safely reduce the size of the WinSxS folder is to reduce the set of possible actions that the system can take – the easiest way to do that is to remove the packages that installed the components in the first place.  This can be done by uninstalling superseded versions of packages that are on your system.  Service Pack 1 contains a binary called VSP1CLN.EXE, a tool that will make the Service Pack package permanent (not removable) on your system,  and remove the RTM versions of all superseded components.  This can only be done because by making the Service Pack permanent we can guarantee that we won’t ever need the RTM versions.

William Keener | Blog
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Last updated May 3, 2020 Views 45,656 Applies to: