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Windows XP - Cleaning Out Hidden Logs, Junk and Other "Stuff"


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I really couldn't think of a "good" title for this topic but it does pertain to only Windows XP but could work with another OS (?) but I am not going there.


Since the last official Windows XP updates have long been released and my system seems to be running just fine ... I have image backups and hardly do them anymore ... used to be every month or two but now every six months or more works for me. I now have plenty of time to "walk the dog" except for now I don't have a dog.


I still get some MS Office 2007 updates for my Office 2000 setup as I did this month (Feb) and just finished adding them and doing a new image backup last week ... of course when I add those new Office updates I also update other regular programs like Flash, Shockwave and so forth.


I decided last year that sometime very soon I wanted to search around for information on files and hidden files and anything that could be be removed from my XP setup. Last month I finally removed all the hidden MS update uninstall files ... c:\windows\$Uninstallxxxxxx$ ... I wanted to do that last year but I left them on till now.


So yesterday I decided to hunt around for additional information on files, logs, junk and whatever else can be "safely" removed. I don't need the space just want to clean these unnecessary items off the hard drive.


So I am open to ideas and suggestions ... I came across (so far) three nice articles about cleaning many items that I knew nothing about. Maybe this might be also of interest to others.


01 Delete Log Files From Windows Directory Using Command Prompt




There is a command line mentioned here:


"This command line will help you remove such unnecessary files which will help clear the log files from the Windows directory.


Simply open the command prompt and type cd\ and hit enter. Then type cd windows to select the Windows directory and hit enter again. This will select the appropriate directory and give you the access from the command prompt to delete log files. Now type del *.log /a /s /q /f  and press enter to delete the log files.


All log files will be deleted from the directory. In this command “a” signifies all, whereas “s” deletes files from all sub folders, “q” bars from any prompts to ask for a yes/ no question and “f” forcibly removes the files.


Being a system administrator, I have used this command line to free as much as 500mb of clutter from systems that had not be formatted for a long period of time. It is worth mentioning here that many cleaning tools had already been used on these systems on a periodic basis including the windows disk cleaner. However, these log files never seemed to be removed until this command was used."



02 [Tip] How to Get Extra Free Disk Space in Windows




There are many tips here ... I pulled just one out to post here ... there is a link to a WFP Patcher download


STEP 7: Disable Windows File Protection Service


You can also disable WFP (Windows File Protection) service in Windows XP using WFP Patcher. This service runs in background and checks for system files status. Whenever it finds that a system file has been changed/modified, it replaces the new file with the original file stored in "DLLcache" folder.


First disable this service and after disabling the service, open "C:\Windows\System32\DLLCache" folder (it'll be HIDDEN & System Folder, so copy paste the path in address bar and press Enter key). Now you can safely delete all files present in this folder. It'll give you approx. 1GB free disk space.



03 Tips to Shrink the Windows Directory to Create Space




There are a lot of tips here also ... is this completely safe to do??? I'm not too worried about "messing" things up to experiment since I have the recent image backup ... I'm open to a little "experimenting".




*NOTE*: Don't delete this folder, only the files inside.


This folder contains a lot of windows drivers, if you ever add new hardware, windows looks in this folder, then on your CD drive for the latest drivers. Any hardware you might get will probably come with the drivers on a disk, so this folder is just a wasting space on your hard drive with outdated drivers. If all of your hardware is working fine, and you don't plan on adding any new hardware for a while, deleting this won't effect your system at all. If you don't want to delete everything in it, you can go into the folder, press CRTL+F and search for mdm*.* and delete everything that comes up. These are all modem drivers, and it is very unlikely you will ever need them because you either have a modem installed already, or if you do add one, it will come with newer drivers.


I will be doing more searching around ... to be continued.


Just to add ... of course a person should have a good backup or something to fall back on ... I will be trying some of these things later today or tomorrow ... so I have no idea what might happen.


You could also use the free Rollback XP for "damage" control ... go all the way to bottom of page to get the "free" XP download under the Free XP column.


Rollback XP




RollBack XP™ is a FREE instant time machine for your XP workstation(s)... A Comprehensive Windows System Restore solution that empowers users and IT administrators to easily restore their PC's to any previous state within seconds!!!


Edited by monroe
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A .inf file in the c:\windows\inf\ folder is compressed to it's correspondent .pnf file when installed, but usually there is not very much to gain from removing the "original"  .inf files, and you have the nuisance (if you disable/uninstall a device for - say - troubleshooting an issue) that you will miss the driver and have to supply it from CD/DVD or however install media".

The "modem" files are of course OK to delete (but they amount to  bunch of used bytes).

Most probably the "right" approach is once the system has been in use for some time, so that all devices have been used/installed to delete ONLY the .inf files that DO NOT HAVE a corresponding .pnf, as those will be, just like the mdm*.inf "unused" INF files.

All in all a SAFER way would be to compress in a - say - .7z file ALL the .inf files (no matter if they HAVE OR DO NOT HAVE a corresponding .pnf), since .inf files are very compressible being basically "plain text" files this won't be much different from deleting them, and this way you can always extract the .inf from the .7z archive when needed.



Edited by jaclaz
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CCleaner does many of those things you're doing individually.


I assume you're aware that if you delete "$NtUninstallxxxxxx$" and/or "$hf_mig$ folders you lose the ability to add/remove? They'll still show up in the Control Panel "Add/Remove". The REG entries indicating they're installed (and can be "uninstalled") will still exist -

HKLM/Software/Microsoft/Updates/<all of the Updates including non-Windows>


A notation on "$hf_mig$



When slipstreamed, they don't show *but* the appropriate info is retained to prevent Windows Update from "thinking" it needs installed.

HKLM/Software/Microsoft/Windows NT/CurrentVersion/Hotfix


Go get this and run it to see what's stored -


Two interesting Topics  (and a similar VBscript) -




AFAICR, if you attempt to "uninstall" an that have been removed, Add/Remove will say it can't find it, do you want to remove it from the List. :unsure:


I had a link to explain in detail the various types of Updates (and where they're stored) but it eludes me ATM. :(

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jaclaz ... I probably will not fool around at this time with deleting very small bytes or kb of data, unless it would be stuff that will never show up again ... I never new that some of these folders or items might actually be safe to delete. I am more after larger files for now.


For instance, in the C:\Windows\System32\DLLCache" folder I have about 550 MB sitting in there ... I might try cleaning that out ... from the one article:




*NOTE*: Don't delete this folder, only the files inside.


This folder uses a LOT of hard drive space, it holds a backup of every system file that windows uses. Deleting this will cause a SFC error when you replace a system file instead of windows putting back the original file. For people who want to mod their system, this is a good thing.


The other article mentions that it could free up almost 1 GB for some people.


submix8c ... I used Windows XP Update Remover which removes both the updates and the Control / Add Remove information. I tried CCleaner but I think it only removes the updates and I already had Windows XP Update Remover installed from last year.


Windows XP Update Remover




I will check out everything you posted ... I didn't know about WinUpdatesList v1.32 from NirSoft ... I have downloaded it. I have many of the NirSoft programs already installed ... it's amazing all the programs they offer.


I guess all this searching and getting rid of unnecessary "stuff" would mainly be for people like myself who have decided to mainly stay with the last official XP updates from April 2014. I am not adding any "unofficial" updates at this time. 


So if a person has nothing much changing on their XP setup ... then maybe it's time to clean some things out.


Edited by monroe
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  • 2 weeks later...

i use "ccleaner" to remove junk files, except that i manually delete the uninstallers for the windows updates rather than letting ccleaner remove them.. i will manually delete temp-files, too, if there are a lot of them, using "select all"->"delete"..just less for ccleaner to have to handle..


regarding the dllcache, i assume that it is needed..


i have been removing junk files for a long time..

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JodyT ... thanks for those additional links, I checked them out and they look interesting. I have never seen them before.


I will work with them over the next few days or week(s).


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