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Can I safely remove update files and folders that are taking up disk space?

I’m running XP Home and all of its updates in Control Panel ‘Add/remove
programs’ is listing a kazillion MSN XP updates, which I assume is accounting
for, who knows, how much space. Can I safely remove all these voluminous
programs and increase my overall storage capability or will it totally wipe me
out?

In this excerpt from
Answercast #15
, I look at the space being taken up by update files and the
importance of keeping all programs up-to-date.

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Removing updates

Well, it’s not necessarily going to “wipe you out,” but it’s not something
you’re going to want to do either. The updates are there for a reason.

The updates are there to protect you from various flaws found in the older
versions that were being updated: most notably, security flaws. If you were to
remove many of those updates, what you would find is that your machine has now
become vulnerable to malware that is common out on the internet.

It is, in fact, that malware that may in turn wipe you out.

Free up disk space

There are other approaches to dealing the disk space issue. I typically
don’t recommend removing updates unless you are really tight on space.

The thing I would start you with is a utility called Treesize which is
referenced in an article I have called “Where is my disk space
going?
,” or a related article to that.

Using that utility, you can see what’s taking the most disk space on your
hard drive, then go for the low-hanging fruit. Find out what’s taking up large
amounts of space and see if those things are optional or are things that can
be cleaned up.

Certainly, using a utility like CCleaner is another approach that can often
clean up a lot of unused, unnecessary, temporary, and other files.

Removing uninstall folders

I do have an article about “Can these NT
uninstalled folders be removed?
” That is the correct approach to saving
or freeing the disk space that’s associated with these updates.

The short answer there is yes, they can be removed.

I recommend that you back them up first should you ever decide you might
need to restore them.

By removing them, what you’re doing is removing the possibility of ever
uninstalling a particular update. But typically, that’s exactly what you want.
Typically, you don’t need to go back and uninstall updates. If you
specifically want to deal with the disk space that’s being taken up by updates,
that’s the approach to take.

Space for update files

In my experience, while the space for these update files can be somewhat
cumulative over time (in other words, it can take up more and more space over
time), it tends not to be as big as some of the other things that are taking up
space on your hard drive.

That is why I recommend addressing that problem itself: what’s taking up the
space on your hard drive? Do that first rather than assume it’s the updates
that are causing the problem.

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