Remove Windows 7 SP1 Backups To Free Up Disk Space

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 23, 2011
Updated • Jun 23, 2014
Tutorials, Windows 7

The first service pack for the Windows 7 operating system has been released yesterday (see Windows 7 Service Pack Update Downloads Live) and it seems as if most Windows 7 users did not have troubles installing the update. Service packs are installed with an option to uninstall them again, which is helpful if incompatibilities or stability issues occur after the system has been updated.

Then again, users who have installed the service pack without complications do not necessarily need those backup files that allow them to uninstall the service pack anymore. These users can free up disk space on the Windows partition by deleting the backup files.

I recommend to test the operating system with service pack at least for a few days before you make the decision to delete the backups. Impatient users may create an image of their system partition instead that they can use to restore the system if the need arises to uninstall the service pack after the backup data has been removed from the system.

How much disk space are we talking about? I just made the test on a Windows 7 Professional 64-bit system. The free space increased from 18.9 Gigabytes before the cleanup to 22.2 Gigabytes after. That's more than 3 Gigabytes of space. It is likely that 32-bit users will be able to free up less space than that due to the nature of their operating system. Still, they will free up Gigabytes as well.

free up disk space windows 7 sp1 space after service pack cleanup

Removing Windows 7 Service Pack 1 Backup Files

The easiest way to remove the backup files of the Windows 7 Service Pack 1 installation is the following. Open an elevated command prompt. You do that with a click on the start orb, the selection of All Programs > Accessories, a right-click on Command Prompt and the selection of Run as Administrator.

Use the following command to free up disk space after the service pack installation:

dism /online /cleanup-image /spsuperseded

removing backup files

The process takes a few minutes to complete, it ends with the sentences "Service Pack Cleanup operation completed. The operation completed successfully".

Please remember that you cannot uninstall the service pack after you have cleaned up the disk space. Please let me know how much disk space you freed up with the command.

Want additional information on dism? Take a look at the Driver Servicing Command-Line Options over at Technet.

Update: Instead of running the command line tool, it is also possible to use the Disk Cleanup tool to perform the operation.

  1. Tap on the Windows key and type disk cleanup in the search box.
  2. Select the result of the same name and when the program window opens the drive letter Windows is installed on.
  3. When Disk Cleanup opens, click on "clean up system files".
  4. Select the Windows drive again and wait for the scan to complete.
  5. Make sure "Windows Update Cleanup" is checked.
  6. Click ok afterwards and wait for the operation to complete.

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  1. Kizi 7 said on April 14, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    This is a great article. It gave me a lot of useful information. thank you very much.

  2. Alan said on July 27, 2013 at 7:10 am

    Thanks so much Martin.

    I couldn’t find the SP1 installation when I ran Disk Cleanup so thanks for sharing this useful command for freeing some GB’s on our SSD’s.

  3. Marco said on May 5, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    This is a ridiculous article. Now we know that you know DOS commands and I’m sure it’s a huge ego boost to have so many comments praising your “fix” even if it is an INFERIOR fix and scares most users away because they would rather have an enema than touch DOS!

    The whole point of Windows is point and click. Get it??? All you have to do is right click on your drive letter in Windows Explorer, select “Properties,” then click the “Disk Cleanup” button.

    This is much better than your DOS hack because not only will you be given the option of selecting “Service Pack Backup Files,” but also other cleanup options, such as “Temporary Internet Files,” “Temporary Files,” and “Recycle Bin,” and if you select all 4 of these you will free up a whole lot more space than using your Dos hack!

  4. yepi said on March 28, 2013 at 11:57 pm

    This article is very cool and contains many useful information and valuable.
    i have 3 GB free.

  5. kizi1 said on March 26, 2013 at 11:50 am

    4 GB. Win 7 64bit

  6. Anon said on March 18, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    This is fantastic. Thank you! A gig is still SIGNIFICANT. I remember paying $3,000 for a 1 GB SCSI drive in 1993. Now, MS just treats a gig as if it were free.

  7. Mister said on February 28, 2013 at 10:27 am

    i reclaimed a good 1.46GB worth of space :)

  8. Ahmad said on January 13, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    Windows 7, self build PC.

    3.1 GB freed


  9. kizi said on January 3, 2013 at 5:42 am

    Windows 7 Professional x64 SP1.
    3.56GB of disk space freed up.
    Thank you so much for the great post.

  10. Mike said on November 27, 2012 at 1:50 am

    Windows 7 64 bit Lenovo W500 laptop

    Before running: 25.9GB used
    After running: 24.3GB used

    1.6GB freed space

  11. Jordan314 said on November 23, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    Thanks for this! Now I can install windows 8 :)

  12. Nejc said on September 25, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    I ran this, took about 5-10 minutes to complete, and it save me about 4.5gb of space. Not to mention my hard disk now has a s-load less files to keep now. Thanks!

  13. Rob H. said on September 2, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    10.0 GB free before
    13.2 GB free after
    i used this trick on Windows Server 2008 R2 x64 and worked like a charm

  14. Sina said on August 5, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    Thank you, this made my day so far!

  15. Betyar said on July 23, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    execute this command under win7 64 bit – gives more than 3 GB freespace
    (3,12 GB)
    Yesterday cleaned the machine, so the 3 GB seems real.

  16. whatever said on July 11, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    4 GB on win 7 64

  17. kizi said on March 23, 2012 at 5:55 am

    the same for win 7

  18. Dave Br said on February 13, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    Removing Windows 7 Service Pack 1 Backup Files. I use a SSD 64 Gb disc to run Windows 7 64 bit, I only install programs on the disc and all ‘special’ folders (My Documents and other data) are on a normal SATA 2 hard drive. The SSD drive was just over half full (Capacity 59.9 Gb formatted) and running the above routine removed a staggering (to me!) 2.7Gb of files. So saved me a lot of space.

    Users who want to save space should note that you can put your Paging file (pagefile.sys) on a different drive (ie, not the boot drive). There are instructions on doing this on the net, just google it. This saves you space equal to the amount of Ram installed. Mine was 4Gb.

    Also, with an SSD you don’t really need hibernation as bootup is so fast that hibernation literally becomes redundant. So disabling hibernation is not a problem. Again, the saved space being equal to the amount of Ram installed.

    Many thanks for the ‘Removing Windows 7 Service Pack 1 Backup Files’ routine, it certainly works fine for me. Moving the pagefile and disabling hibernation saved a further 8 Gb of disk space.

  19. The Skiman said on February 11, 2012 at 12:28 am

    Freed up 3 GB of space! 64 bit system

  20. Kizi said on January 20, 2012 at 1:33 am

    tskler arkadaslar guzel bır calısma olmus

    To answer your request: Windows 7 Ultimate, 32-bit, ~4 GB of disc space cleaned up after running this command. (previously 138 GB free space, moved to 142 GB Free).

  21. Domenico said on January 12, 2012 at 12:35 pm


    76.1 GB Used
    35.5 GB Free

    69.5 GB Used
    42.1 GB Free

    Thanks Man

  22. Nam Nguyen said on January 7, 2012 at 10:09 am

    Windows 7 Professional x64 SP1.
    3.56GB of disk space freed up.
    Thank you so much for the great post.

  23. Huy said on December 23, 2011 at 8:35 am

    free 2.2 gb. Thank a lot

  24. Mikko said on September 17, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    Mika; Running SSD too as a C:? =)
    Also name sounds Finnish. :D

  25. Mika said on September 17, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    Free space was 3,36Gb, after this help 6,59Gb. Thanks!

  26. Mikko said on September 17, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    Thanks! I´m running 64bit-version on 30GB SSD, and this freed up from 2GB to 5,60GB. So this was quite helpful. =)

    Hibernation and page file are off, and few days ago had 4gigs free, and today noticed that was running again low on disk space.

  27. owq said on September 15, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    Awesome. Saved me 2.1GB on x64

  28. Mikejbst said on September 7, 2011 at 8:21 am

    went from 897 meg to 4.21 gig – (on vitual machine) really needed the space, thanks.

  29. kizi said on September 4, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    so dificult. my C: have 13GB up to 30GB i don’t how to clear them

  30. night said on August 29, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    Win7 x64, saved 2.8 GB of precious SSD space. Thanks for the tip! =)

  31. TXLeeVee said on August 4, 2011 at 7:37 am

    Went from 28.3 free space to 32.8

  32. Anonymous said on August 3, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    Thanks , that was helpful and appreciated .

  33. Andrew said on July 29, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Free space before: 100Mb (!)
    Free space after: 4.00Gb

    Win 7 x64, 4Gb RAM /128Gb SSD
    Adobe Design & Office Pro suites, web development, software development
    Regular cleanups performed

    Brilliant – many thanks!

  34. Roger said on July 29, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    Free space before: 3.1gb, After: 11.3gb (!)

    Win 7 x64 with 80gb SSD
    No media, just developer stuff and some sql dbs.

  35. Matt said on June 1, 2011 at 3:27 am

    Just ran this on two PCs, both running Win 7 x64. First PC gained 3GB, second gained 2.5GB free space. The first PC was running a new install of Win 7 with very few other programs on it, and the second was my own PC with lots of programs on it.

  36. Aqil said on May 11, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    went from 1.40gb to 4.62gb running windows 7 64bit (Home Prem)
    damn i needed this clean up, thanks for the heads up

    1. jerome said on May 20, 2011 at 9:49 am

      This is done now by simply clean your harddisk ( Drive’s properties / Disk Cleanup / Service pack Backup Files) .

      That is still cool to script it using command line…

  37. Jesse said on April 17, 2011 at 2:39 am

    2.7 Gb for me :) thank you!

  38. tocsa said on April 1, 2011 at 2:34 am

    Win 7 x64
    free before: 11.649.228.800 (I desperately needed space)
    free after: 15.115.411.456
    difference: 3.466.182.656
    more than 3GB

    Many people advise not to remove these files, but my question is: how likely is that someone would roll-back an SP1? If my system was in that big doodoo, I would certainly perform a clean install.
    Note: I don’t have movies or albums on my computer, I’m a developer, and developer environments and stuff eat up my whole disk space.

  39. charles said on March 27, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    2.8GB on Windows 7 64-bit
    Nice, Thanks

  40. Mike said on March 7, 2011 at 8:08 am

    cleaned the windows OLD File reclaimed 74.6 GB Also… Thanks MG..

  41. Al said on March 7, 2011 at 4:56 am

    Before running:
    12.3GB free

    After: 13.6GB free

    Win7 Pro 32bit

  42. Manmohan Rajyana said on March 3, 2011 at 9:02 am

    I am also told that many “backup files created during the SP-1 installation” thus the Service Pack-1 cannot be uninstalled after cleaning up operation has completed and backup files are deleted to free up disc space”.

    Microsoft created many updates as backup files for smooth installation of SP-1 through its Update center

    And they were redundant after that installation operation has completed

    Mr. MAERSK sir on February 25, 2011, you said “because the update was compressed”

    May clarify

  43. TryiOS said on March 3, 2011 at 1:40 am

    30.7GB free before the clean-up
    32.7GB free after the clean-up
    Saving of 2GB.


  44. luxyfer said on March 1, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    2,5GB on Windows 7 64bit
    that’s nice, thanks Martin!

  45. emy said on March 1, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    Thanks for the tip, I have got 10gb back. I checked before the partition , it was 147gb and after running the command it shows 157gb. It huge space.

  46. peerer said on February 27, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    win 7 hp x86
    1.22 gb back

  47. Inolvidable said on February 27, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    With Win7 Professional x64 got 2.5 GB back

  48. Titus said on February 25, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    Windows7 Professional x64 ———> got 2,34GB back

  49. Srikanth said on February 25, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    Win7 Ultimate 64-bit
    Got my 2.32GB back.. Very happy..
    Thanks a lot

  50. ed said on February 25, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    Win7 Pro x32: 1.589.051.392 bytes freed.

  51. Peter said on February 23, 2011 at 11:52 pm

    please close the Removing Windows 7 Service Pack 1 Backup Files… ;)

  52. mizkitty64 said on February 23, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    The SP1 setup files are listed under “disk cleanup” in windows explorer. All you have to do is “check” the box. No CMD line needed.

    Cleared up 650MB on my x64 box…but my SP1 D/L from Windows Update was only ~80MB (fully patched machine before SP1).

    I suspect anyone reclaiming several gigs probably hasn’t done much housecleaning lately.

    1. Michael Andrew Baldelli said on February 24, 2011 at 9:54 pm

      @mizkitty64 As a matter of record, I monitor my free space routinely and make sure all temporary files have been removed on a routine basis. For the record, during weekly cleanup I typically reclaim ~54 – 90 MB of temporary cache (Opera, IE, Chrome, FF). I also run this system without using the System Restore Options on (no GB lost since I stopped using it more than a year ago).

      According to to the download from Windows Update, it was 74 MB for the SP1 install. Once it was completed, it took 4 GB for backup. Running this command on this page returned the 4 GB it had taken for the backup.

    2. Derek said on February 24, 2011 at 1:12 pm

      Thanks for the tip Martin. Saved ~1.5Gb Win7 x86.

      mizkitty64: There was indeed an option to remove service pack backup files in Disk Cleanup (whether or not it was there before installing sp1 i’m not sure) but no space could be gained by ticking this option – it stated 0kb.

    3. Martin said on February 23, 2011 at 10:01 pm

      They were not listed in my case.

  53. John said on February 23, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    Win7 64bit virtual machine. I used the DVD ISO version
    Reclaimed 1.77 GB

  54. SpiderMonkey said on February 23, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    Win 7 x86 VM – saved 1.6 GB

  55. Anonymous said on February 23, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    1.5 GB. Win 7 32bit

  56. danijel00 said on February 23, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    1.3gb on 32bit/windows update/home premium version… but the installed SP took up some space (i have a 40gb ssd, so every byte counts)

  57. Jagoop said on February 23, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    Win 7 x64 on desktop: saved/cleaned: 2.767.159.296 bytes

  58. Curious said on February 23, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    Mike had less free space after the dism cleanup (341 gb before vs. 340 gb after). Is that the point of the cleanup?

    1. Martin said on February 23, 2011 at 7:49 pm

      Likely an error on his side and not an error in the cleanup.

      1. Mike said on February 23, 2011 at 8:06 pm

        Yep, that was me being tired!

  59. DanTe said on February 23, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    I noticed after install, Windows Media Player goes through a setup process all over again. Did it change?

    Also, my ZoneAlarm firewall stated that .Net optimization service is new and request permission. This changed too?

  60. Jagoop said on February 23, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    Win 7 x64 on laptop: saved/cleaned bytes

  61. Michael Andrew Baldelli said on February 23, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    You weren’t kidding about waiting a couple of minutes before seeing the “The operation completed successfully.” Took about 5 – 7 minutes for the cleanup to complete.

    To answer your request: Windows 7 Ultimate, 32-bit, ~4 GB of disc space cleaned up after running this command. (previously 138 GB free space, moved to 142 GB Free).

    Cheers for the command.

  62. Khai said on February 23, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    64bit user, freed about 1.5 gb
    tho I didn’t use the windows update version, I downloaded the full 1.9gb ISO (I prefer to have the full SR on hand for reinstalls etc)

  63. Mushaf said on February 23, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    I did it yesterday just after updating to SP1 and I freed up 540 MB of disk space using the disk cleanup utility (Win7 32 bit).

    1. Manmohan Rajyana said on February 24, 2011 at 2:47 pm

      Mr. Mushaf,

      I too happen to free up approx same MB of disk space by using CCleaner and WinOptimizer before making my fresh Back-up which I did after deleting earlier backups from my portable hard disk.
      My Windows 7 Service Pack 1 was uploaded by Microsoft through update center and they downloaded and installed approx 25 updates; and last one was of 157 KB followed by 61.2 MB despite that I could free up approx 540 MB when I cleaned up my system

      I didn’t understand as to how that happened ? ?

      You people are geeks; may like to enlighten me

      1. MAERSK said on February 25, 2011 at 2:02 am

        The reason is because the update was compressed.

        Also got back 1.8GB from 32-bit SP1

  64. David said on February 23, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    ~1.3 GB disk space recovered on 32-bit Win7 Ultimate.

    1. Martin said on February 23, 2011 at 4:44 pm

      Thanks, so it is fair to assume that 32-bit users can free up 1.3 Gigabytes, and 64-bit users 3 Gigabytes. I assume you have installed the service pack via Windows Update?

      1. David said on February 23, 2011 at 6:55 pm

        Yes, installed via Windows Update.

  65. Manmohan Rajyana said on February 23, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    My Action Center has already downloaded and installed Windows 7 SP1 which is working fine as it does not include new features but instead is a collection of security patches and non-security fixes with an updated Remote Desktop client.
    Windows 7 SP1 can be uninstalled by selecting the “Service Pack for Microsoft Windows (KB 976932)” item using the operating system’s control panel and uninstall tool.
    Where remains any apprehensions ? Well I have removed earlier backup & made fresh Backup

    Back-ups I make on a portable Hard Disk as suggested by Geeks
    Freeing up disk space with to-days hard disk capacities, has no complications

  66. Mike said on February 23, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    After SP1 install
    Free space = 341,576,028,160 bytes

    After dism cleanup
    Free space = 340,173,201,408 bytes

    So, roughly 1.3Gb.

    1. Martin said on February 23, 2011 at 4:34 pm

      Mike was that a 32-bit installation?

      1. Schmitt said on April 28, 2011 at 8:39 pm

        64 bit Win 7 Professional with Virtual XP. Gained 3.75 G
        Thanks a lot !!
        P.S. Is there a way to cleanup other Win 7 associartd updates such as those for MS Office ?

      2. Mike said on February 23, 2011 at 6:14 pm

        64 bit.

  67. Thomas said on February 23, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    Cool. It seems it is not that easy like in previous versions to simply delete the blue $NTUninstall*** folders.

    Will try it soon.

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