Reclaim space by removing Windows 7 Service Pack 1 Backup Files

Once you have confirmed that Windows 7 Service Pack 1 is working correctly, after using it for a few weeks without any problems, you may as well uninstall the backup files it left behind. Most people can reclaim 500MB to 1GB of free disk space by doing this. If you’re running on a small hard drive (e.g. a brand new SSD!) this may well be really useful.

Here is the easiest way to remove the backup files left over by the Windows 7 Service Pack 1 installation:

  1. Open an elevated privileges Command Prompt by right-clicking on “Command Prompt” in the Start Menu and selecting “Run as Administrator” from the context menu.
  2. Run the following command in the new Command Prompt window to remove the SP1 backup files:
dism /online /cleanup-image /spsupersededCode language: DOS .bat (dos)

After a few minutes, if the process is successful you will see the following message:

Service Pack Cleanup operation completed.
The operation completed successfully.

NOTE: After removing these backup files, you will no longer be able to uninstall Service Pack 1, so please make absolutely sure everything is working correctly before removing the backup files.

If you would prefer to use a GUI to remove the Service Pack backup files, this is now possible using the built-in “Disk Cleanup Tool”:

  1. Open the Start Menu and type “cleanup”, then click on the “Disk Cleanup” program when it appears.
  2. Select the C: drive from the list.
  3. Click on the “Clean up system files” button at the bottom of the dialog.
  4. Select the C: drive again (if prompted).
  5. Scroll down the list and ensure the “Service Pack Backup Files” checkbox is selected.
  6. Click “OK”.
  7. Accept the warning message.
  8. The files will now be deleted.

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