Reclaiming disk space after Vista SP1 installation

After thinking about it, I came to the conclusion that this deserves a post of it’s own.

The installation process of SP1 for Vista backs up all the files that it replaces
to allow you to uninstall it.  If you are in dire need of free disk space you can use
an integrated tool called Vsp1clean.exe (aka SP1 File Removal Tool).

This tool will remove all the files that the installation backed up providing you with
the additional disk space at the price of not being able to uninstall the service pack.

So we will start with a copy of Windows Vista that has SP1(RTM) applied to it:

The uninstall option

To uninstall the service pack, all you have to do is to choose the package form Control Panel>
Programs and Features.


After the installation of the SP my drive C: has 6.84GB free:

Freeing up some disk space

We have made up our mind-we will never go back,never uninstall the SP and we want the disk space back!
To do this we can use a tool installed by the SP: %windir%\system32\vsp1cln.exe .

The following arguments can be used:

  • /o: <path to an offline Windows>
  • /Verbose – Didn’t see a difference
  • /quiet – Skips the are you sure question…

This is what it looked like on my system:

After the cleanup, the free space grew to 7.6GB (approximately 800MB vacated…not bad):


Uninstall option is gone:



Considering hard drive sizes I see no real and immediate benefit in deleting the backed up files at the
price of losing the ability to uninstall the service pack (note that I wrote immediate). Once the dust
around your specific installation settles down (everything is working as planned) I see no reason
for you to keep on saving the files that allow rollback.

Another point to keep in mind here is that by keeping these files you give yourself a comfort zone of
a few hundred MBs in case you ever run out of disk space…

As Alun Jones pointed out in a comment to the post,users having a pre-release version of the SP installed
should be careful here,if they remove the files they will not be able to uninstall the pre-release version
(which has to be done to enable installation of the released version).

4 thoughts on “Reclaiming disk space after Vista SP1 installation

  1. Can I suggest that anyone who has installed the Release Candidates of SP1 not do this?

    When SP1 is made available for use, it will require that you uninstall the SP1 RC before installing the SP1 release.

    In addition, the SP1 RC is considered an ‘evaluation’, and will expire.

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