6 Ways to Safely Remove Windows XP Update Backup Files to Free Up Hard Disk Space

4. Windows Update Cleanup Utility

Windows Update Cleanup Utility

Update Cleanup is a shareware tool that costs $5.95 but allows you to use the tool for 60 days without limitations. It is able to safely remove the backup files that were created when installing a Windows hotfix or service pack update. Removing the old backup files with Update Cleanup will free up hard disk space. This utility will also remove the associated Registry entries for these items that visibly show up as unnecessary program entries in the Add/Remove Programs panel.

Windows Update Cleanup Utility is a slightly more advanced tool to delete old backup files created from windows updates if compared with the free Windows XP Update Remover or CCleaner. One of the advantages is it shows and can remove the Internet Explorer updates from the Windows ie7 or ie8 folders.

You can easily delete all hotfixes by selecting all the entries and clicking delete. It also shows the disk space used by the backed up files and allows you to delete the files to recycle bin instead of permanently deleting them from your computer.

Download Update Cleanup

5. Remove Hotfix Backups

Remove Hotfix Backups

This utility is developed by DougKnox.com, a well known website containing Windows XP tips, tweaks and fixes. It is an old tool though dating back to 2004 so it’s effectiveness is not quite as high as the other tools on this page but is still useful. Simply run the tiny portable tool and it will list the hotfixes with available backups, then press “Remove Backup Files and Add/Remove Entries”. This has the effect of deleting both the folder and its corresponding uninstall entry. Do note this tool will only delete XP hotfix backups and not those from Internet Explorer, Outlook Express, Media player and etc. The discontinued paid upgrade did allow you to select individual backups for removal.

Download Remove Hotfix Backups

6. The Manual Way

If you’re a bit more adventurous or comfortable performing advanced options, you can manually delete the hidden $NtUninstallKBXXXXXX$ folders from the Windows folder. This will work but it is not as complete as using the Update Cleanup tool because of the Internet Explorer updates that program can delete as well. But deleting the folders manually does a similar job to Update Remover and CCleaner.

To clean the files and folders simply go into C:\Windows and delete the $NtUninstallKBxxxxxxx$ folders you want to remove (below in green). DO NOT touch the $hf_mig$ folder inside the Windows folder (below in pink) as this is important and should not be removed under any circumstances. Before you delete the folders though it’s recommended to make a note of the KBxxxxxxx numbers as for full removal, you need to remove the matching entry from the Add/Remove list.

WindowS NTUninstallKB folders

Once you have made a note of the KB numbers and deleted the folders, go to Control Panel -> Add/Remove Programs. Click on the Show updates box and then find each update in the uninstall list, choose to Remove the update.

add or remove programs show updates

This will produce an error popup which will say an error has occurred while removing the update, would you like to delete the entry from the Add/Remove list. Simply select Yes and the hotfix uninstaller has now been removed.

Windows Vista and 7 users: Because of the different ways that XP and Vista/7 store their Windows updates, these tools do not work on Vista and 7. CCleaner obviously works as a cleaning tool on those operating systems but the Hotfix Uninstaller checkbox will not be available.

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