Windows 7 to Use Less Space Than Vista  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , ,

We’ve seen much evidence already from Microsoft that they will plan to have Windows 7 become a significant player in the netbook market. In doing this, theEngineering Windows 7 team recently announced that (with no guarantees), Windows 7 will manage its “disk footprint” better and use less space than Windows Vista.
One of the biggest issues people had was with the huge and mysterious WinSXS directory. First, let’s take a look at what it is and why it’s On my 60GB partition with 5GB of free space, the folder alone takes up 5.73GB of space! First let’s take a look at what it is and why it’s there because this folder is here to stay in Windows 7.
The WinSXS directory is actually a “hard link” to the files elsewhere on the system. So for a file in C:\Windows\System32, there would be another file in the WinSXS directory pointing to it. Think of it as a giant address book for the computer. The point of this is for tools that deliver patches and service patches to quickly determine details about the system (such as what’s installed and what’s not), to make servicing efficient. In addition, hard links can actually optimize disk footprint (physical space consumed) for duplicate files on the system, and application developers can use these links to opimtize disk consupmtion of their applications as well. On another note, since this is a reliably service, it is not recommended at all to delete this folder despite the tweaks or tools you may find online that tell you to do so.
Now that we know what WinSXS is, let’s take a look at the installation footprint of Windows Vista to get a better picture of how 2GB worth of code ends up being a 15GB installation.
Just by skimming through this, you could probably quickly recognize a few features that you don’t need. Microsoft recognized this as well, and will be making the following improvements on reducing disk space:
Only the most popular device drivers will be included with the OS. The rest will be available through downloading off Windows Update - Windows Vista SP1 installs almost 1GB of drivers to support plug and play devices. However, these drivers will eventually be out-of-date, ultimately requiring users to download their new drivers off Windows Update.
Optional features at OS installation: Not all features will be installed by default during Windows 7 Installation. However, the e7 blog clearly says optional features will be have the same way they did in Vista.
As you might notice today in Windows, when you choose to add a feature that was not installed Windows does not require a source (a DVD or network location). This is because the feature is stashed away as part of a complete Windows install—this is itself a feature. We will always keep features available and will always service them even when components are not installed—that way if you add a component later you do not risk adding a piece of code that might have been exploited earlier. This is another important way we keep Windows up to date and secure, even for optional features.
My understanding of this is that these features will still be available to you even if you did not want to install them during installation. However, you would still end up saving space since the features are not extracted for installation.
Configurable System Restore: In Vista, System Restore was programmed to consume 15% of your hard disk space at maximum. In Windows 7, you can configure it to create the minimal useful number of snapshots instead.
Deletion of Old Updates: In the past, Windows would archive old drivers that were superceded by new ones through updates or Service Packs. In Windows 7, these drivers would still be archived, but would then be deleted some time after the update is successfully installed. (full Story)

This entry was posted on Dec 7, 2008 at 8:25 AM and is filed under , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

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