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Correct this folder can become very large since almost all msis cache their installers there. The question is what is safe to delete? Many MSIs uses this folder when doing uninstalls, repairs, patching, etc... If you inadvertently whack a files and need to do maintenance of a product you could be screwed. If this is a critical windows component, you can be really screwed.
To be safe:
- Backup this folder
- Grab a copy of msizap http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa370523.aspx
- Run it with the G option
Another area you can reduce space is to remove the uninstallers for patches and especially SPs. C:\WINDOWS\$folders. You will not be able to uninstall the patches, but how many times have you uninstalled SP2 or SP3. $NtServicePackUninstall$ is almost 300 mbs. Again back these up first to a share just in case, before whacking.
So you are referencing 100 mbs - I would remove the $NtServicePackUninstall$ and run msizap g and you should be well over 100 mbs. Another quick savings http://www.pagestart.com/hfmigpart1.html
Here are some good articles
Thanks for your input.
I already remove all of the $uninstall directories, including the service pack ones - That saves quite a bit of space. It's just that I have always managed to keep the image down to just over 1Gb, but this version went up by nearly 500Mb in total. Admittedly it's not huge, but seeing as I have to replicate it out to about 20 office worldwide once I have finished, every megabyte helps! The other consideration is that the image now contains the latest .NET Framework which is quite large in itself, but still doesn't explain all of the increase.
Depending on the version of .net they are a hog 200+. That's what's killing you. Run folder report or windirstat on the folder.