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Folders called $NtUninstall******$ can appear in your Windows directory. We'll look at what they are, and whether or not they can be safely deleted.
I have 75 files in my Windows Directory that look like $NtUninstallKB885836$. What are these files? Can they be safely deleted?
Well, first, those are folders - not files. Folders, also known as directories, contain files or other folders.
The clue is that KB part - that stands for KnowledgeBase, and the number that follows it is a Microsoft Knowledgebase article. The other clue is the word "Uninstall" in the folder name.
That will help us determine what they are. Whether or not you can delete them ... well, it turns out that's up to you, once you understand what they're for.
To use the example you've provided, Knowledgebase article number 885836 is a security bulletin: "MS04-041: A vulnerability in WordPad could allow code execution". The folder $NtUninstallKB885836$ is created when you download and install the patch for that vulnerability. That happens either via Automatic Updates, or by visiting the Windows Update web site and installing the patches yourself.
If you go to Control Panel, and look Add or Remove Programs, you'll find an entire section there labeled "Windows XP Software Updates". In that list you'll probably find an entry that references KB885836.
By now, you'll probably have gathered that the folder $NtUninstallKB885836$ contains the information necessary to uninstall that update. If you go looking in that folder, you'll probably find the previous versions of any files affected by the update, as well as an uninstall program and more than likely some additional support files.
Can you simply delete the folders?
Yes, if you are positive you'll never want to uninstall the associated patch.
A safer approach is the one I outlined in a earlier article Is it safe to delete this file? - back up the folders first. Burn them to CD, copy them to another machine, do something such that if you find out some time later that deleting them was a mistake you can get them back.
Then delete them. It's a fine way to free up some disk space - but probably not as much as you think. If they're a different color in Windows Explorer, ever wonder why? It's because Windows has compressed them for you. Since they are used so rarely, compressing the files makes a lot of sense. It does mean, though, that when you delete them you may not get back as much disk space as you thought.
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