Updates are typically installed into the C:\Windows\Installer directory and hold the .msi and .msp files used to install (or uninstall) windows updates.
A company called "Homedev" have developed a product called "Patch Cleaner" that is clever enough to search this windows installer directory and detect which patches can safely be removed. Over time windows updates tend to replace, outdate or supersede each other - rendering them useless and taking up precious hard disk space on your hard disk!
How does it work? Well, as explained by Homedev, their application queries the operating system for a list of all the currently installed patches and updates. It then compares this list returned by the operating system against all the files in the C:\Windows\Installer directory. Anything that's found in the folder but not in the list provided by the operating system is flagged as able to be removed by the application.
The application also has the ability to relocate the files to another location first (such as another drive, like an external USB hdd) which reduces the risk involved in removing some of these files. If it turns out the files are required they can simply be copied back to the C:\Windows\Installer directory.
The latest version of the application can be downloaded and installed from the below website;
- Once you have downloaded the file, double click it to run/execute
- Click Next to begin the installation process
- Select I Agree on the license agreement then select Next
- It is recommended to leave the default installation path and set to Everyone to be able to access the application. Click Next
- Click Next to begin the installation
- Click Close to exit the wizard once installation has completed
- You can now run PatchCleaner from the shortcut placed on the desktop or from within the Start Menu
- Upon startup, the application will automatically scan for files that can be removed
- Once the scan is finished, you will be presented with a window like the one below. The screen details how many files are orphaned and can be removed (in this example, there are 32 files, totalling 2.17GB in size). You can click either the Delete button to permanently delete the files, or the Move button the move all these files to another location (as mentioned previously)
- After deleting or moving the files, the application will run another scan and present a window again like the one above.