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  1.    29 Jul 2015 #1
    Join Date : Jul 2015
    Posts : 61
    Windows 10 Pro x64

    Where does Media Creation Tool store all of it's data?


    So recently Windows 10 came out and I manually downloaded the Media Creation tool and started upgrading my PC BUT I had to turn it off and all of the data that it downloaded has taken up my small amount of space in my SSD (I only have 16 GB left) can someone please tell me where does this tool store all of it's data so I could delete it.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  2.    29 Jul 2015 #2
    Join Date : Oct 2013
    Penns Forrest
    Posts : 3,506
    Win_8.1-Pro, Win_10.1607-Pro, Mint_17.3

    Quote Originally Posted by zablablukas View Post
    So recently Windows 10 came out and I manually downloaded the Media Creation tool and started upgrading my PC BUT I had to turn it off and all of the data that it downloaded has taken up my small amount of space in my SSD (I only have 16 GB left) can someone please tell me where does this tool store all of it's data so I could delete it.
    It sounds as though you selected the Upgrade This PC option. I'm not certain where the tool puts the data, but it's probably in a Temp folder (your's, Window's, Component Based Servicing's, Distribution downloads) or in a hidden $BT folder on C:\ - I really don't know ... it's a brand new tool. Some other member that has done this process will be of more help finding the data.

    Regardless of where the data is stored, you need it to do the upgrade. I downloaded the ISO which is about 3.2 GB. If you decide to try again, that option asks you where you want to save the ISO. That way, you can put it on another drive and run the upgrade from it.

    After downloading, the Media Creation tool presents burn to disc or flash drive. Go ahead and put the ISO to external media (disc or flash drive).

    DO NOT boot to the media you just created. Instead, open the location (disc or flash drive) in File Explorer and double click setup from within Win7 or Win8.

    The only way Win10 will activate is if you do the upgrade (install from within windows). I've tried almost everything I can think of to do it another way, but it looks as though MS sees Win10 and a key being entered and rejects all manually entered keys.

    I got two different errors, one said the key was blocked, the other said click the [ Go to Store ] button and see if there's a valid key or purchase a new license - but when I did that, there was NOT a valid key,

    Sooooo, MS has this fairly well figured out - you have to upgrade, the activation process if automatic, you do NOT have to enter a key. If it asks, press the skip link or do this later link. Windows will complete processing of the existing key (without you having to enter a key) . Once that is done, your device is 'known' to the activation servers. You can if, you choose, do a clean install after that

    This is what MS has always said, but I had to bang my head against the wall
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  3.    29 Jul 2015 #3
    Join Date : Dec 2013
    Portsmouth Hampshire
    Posts : 1,867
    Windows 10 x86 14383 Insider Pro and Core 10240

    It is created on the drive(usually c:\) where your current windows folder is, in a hidden folder called c:\$Windows.~WS, before the final Windows.iso was created in a folder of your choosing.

    You can unhide files in view, folder options, view, in file explorer.

    It does not get deleted after the Iso is made and contains about 6GB of files because it contains both sources\Installx86.esd and a nested sources\Windows\sources\Install.wim windows images.

    The Windows folder containing the install.wim seems to be identical with the contents of the final windows.iso.

    If $windows.~WS is like $windows.~BT, you cannot delete it by normal means, but try first anyway.

    If not, you can probably delete it by doing a disk cleanup. Right click the drive, select properties from the bottom of the list. In the general tab select disk cleanup, wait for it to calculate, then click clean up system files, wait again then while it finds all the update files - hopefully it will remove the folder then, and select OK to delete it.
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  4.    29 Jul 2015 #4
    Join Date : Oct 2013
    Penns Forrest
    Posts : 3,506
    Win_8.1-Pro, Win_10.1607-Pro, Mint_17.3

    Quote Originally Posted by Fafhrd View Post
    It is created on the drive(usually c:\) where your current windows folder is, in a hidden folder called c:\$Windows.~WS, before the final Windows.iso was created in a folder of your choosing.

    You can unhide files in view, folder options, view, in file explorer.

    It does not get deleted after the Iso is made and contains about 6GB of files because it contains both sources\Installx86.esd and a nested sources\Windows\sources\Install.wim windows images.

    The Windows folder containing the install.wim seems to be identical with the contents of the final windows.iso.

    If $windows.~WS is like $windows.~BT, you cannot delete it by normal means, but try first anyway.

    If not, you can probably delete it by doing a disk cleanup. Right click the drive, select properties from the bottom of the list. In the general tab select disk cleanup, wait for it to calculate, then click clean up system files, wait again then while it finds all the update files - hopefully it will remove the folder then, and select OK to delete it.
    Thanks,

    I missed those folders - view gets mysteriously changed.

    Press the Winky [ ] and type Disk Cle, the top result should be Disk Cleanup ... right click that and run as administrator.

    I tried it, but the 'special folders didn't show up in the list. the ~BT folder was deleted however. The ~WS foler is still there.
    No access issue when I just deleted the folder - in other words, you don';t have to muck around with security settings to delete it.

    Thanks again Fafhrd
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  5.    29 Jul 2015 #5
    Join Date : Dec 2013
    Portsmouth Hampshire
    Posts : 1,867
    Windows 10 x86 14383 Insider Pro and Core 10240

    Well that's good to know, Slartybart.
      My ComputersSystem Spec
  6.    30 Jul 2015 #6
    Join Date : Jul 2015
    Posts : 10
    Windows 10 Pro/64 Anniversary Edition

    The tool is not very smart. After creating a 64 bit ISO I decided to ask the tool to create a USB image of BOTH versions (32/64) just because. With the 64 image being about 4GB, I decided to put a 16GB USB drive in place to hold the new version. So it downloads all the data and creates a bootable USB drive of just 5.4GB. What a terrible waste of a 16GB drive, so I unsuccessfully copy the 16gb to an 8gb drive. (the 8 turns out not being bootable) At this point the WS~ folder is 10GB in size so I figure cool, this should be quick. Nope - try again. The tool chooses to purge the data and re-download every bit all over again.

    So folks, just to let ya know, an 8GB drive is ideal if you want to create a bootable usb drive and still have ample overhead for other essentials, such as latest graphics card drivers, motherboard drivers, a backup of your My Documents folder, Firefox and Thunderbird Profiles. Having not experienced a Win 10 fresh install yet, am not sure what layer of dot net framework comes stock. Previous Windows 7 install also included a copy of dot net 4.0 as some of the motherboard installers needed 2.5 or better.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  7.    30 Jul 2015 #7
    Join Date : Oct 2013
    Penns Forrest
    Posts : 3,506
    Win_8.1-Pro, Win_10.1607-Pro, Mint_17.3

    Quote Originally Posted by Krawk View Post
    The tool is not very smart. After creating a 64 bit ISO I decided to ask the tool to create a USB image of BOTH versions (32/64) just because. With the 64 image being about 4GB, I decided to put a 16GB USB drive in place to hold the new version. So it downloads all the data and creates a bootable USB drive of just 5.4GB. What a terrible waste of a 16GB drive, so I unsuccessfully copy the 16gb to an 8gb drive. (the 8 turns out not being bootable) At this point the WS~ folder is 10GB in size so I figure cool, this should be quick. Nope - try again. The tool chooses to purge the data and re-download every bit all over again.

    So folks, just to let ya know, an 8GB drive is ideal if you want to create a bootable usb drive and still have ample overhead for other essentials, such as latest graphics card drivers, motherboard drivers, a backup of your My Documents folder, Firefox and Thunderbird Profiles. Having not experienced a Win 10 fresh install yet, am not sure what layer of dot net framework comes stock. Previous Windows 7 install also included a copy of dot net 4.0 as some of the motherboard installers needed 2.5 or better.
    Thanks for the details.
    The downloaded ISO files for each bit depth is a little over 3 GB - I did not download the combined (32 / 64) ISO, but the size you reported makes sense.

    A few things about the steps you took after the USB drive was created.

    You probably could have just set the the active flag on the 8 GB drive and then it would boot.

    If you need both bit depths, either put the combined ISO on an 8 GB as you said. Or download both bit depths ISO, then put each one on a separate 4 GB flash drive. That wastes less space than the 8 GB drive.

    There's no need to include anything else on the drive, Windows 10 is very good about supplying drivers. Any that are not supplied, you can get from the OEM. Installing old drivers on a new system doesn't make sense and some old drivers will cause issues on Win10. You did say the latest drivers but they aren't always the latest ....a year from now those drivers are out-of-date, so let Windows put the latest tested driver and update it as time goes along.

    It's not a bad idea to have profiles or application configuration files on a flash drive and it's an excellent idea to have a backup of your personal data. I just wouldn't put that on install media (one is data backup, the other is software install)

    .NET 4.6 comes with Win10 - the older versions have been depreciated. If an installer requires an older version, then it is not Win10 ready. Only a few installer packages looked back to .NET 3.5 during the Preview, so that's not something you need either. If the installer is not up-to-date, then the driver probably isn't either - you'll need to contact the OEM for a viable install package.

    Neither of us looked in the WS~ folder so I can't know if it would have been an easy thing or not to just grab what was in there and manually put it to a flash drive - sorry 'bout that. I might do it again just to see though.

    The tool downloads and creates install media or upgrades your machine. I'm glad MS made it available - try finding ISOs for XP, Vista or Win7 (Win8 uses a similar tool). It's a very base tool - some tools aren't smart - a hammer will drive a nail or smash a thumb equally well
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  8.    31 Jul 2015 #8
    Join Date : Dec 2013
    Portsmouth Hampshire
    Posts : 1,867
    Windows 10 x86 14383 Insider Pro and Core 10240

    I think it is a rather clever tool, but it has many functions within.

    It produces a windows.iso tailored to your existing system and OS, and obtains among other things, the activation status of your system, Product code, your hardware and software details.

    I think if you try to produce an all in one (x64 and x86 versions) USB, You may well have problems with it.

    As far as tool for this use goes, it is like using a screwdriver as a circuit continuity tester for your home electrics. Bang! Yep, we have continuity, but we lost the screwdriver, and the operator!

    The ~WS folder contains some interesting stuff to give you an idea of how it works.
    First the structure (made using the tree command in Windows 8.1 cmd.exe):

    Code:
    tree /A c:\$windows.~WS > c:\Treecopy\trees\tree-of-$windows.~WS.txt
    
    
    notepad c:\Treecopy\trees\tree-of-$windows.~WS.txt
    Code:
    C:\$WINDOWS.~WS
    \---Sources
        +---Panther
        \---Windows
            +---boot
            |   +---en-gb
            |   +---fonts
            |   \---resources
            +---efi
            |   +---boot
            |   \---microsoft
            |       \---boot
            |           +---fonts
            |           \---resources
            +---sources
            |   +---dlmanifests
            |   |   +---bitsextensions-server
            |   |   +---en-gb
            |   |   +---microsoft-activedirectory-webservices-dl
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-bluetooth-config
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-com-complus-setup-dl
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-com-dtc-setup-dl
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-dhcpservermigplugin-dl
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-directoryservices-adam-dl
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-iasserver-migplugin
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-ie-clientnetworkprotocolimplementation-migration
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-iis-dl
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-international-core-dl
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-internet-naming-service-runtime
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-mediaplayer-drm-dl
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-msmq-messagingcoreservice
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-ndis
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-networkbridge
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-networkloadbalancing-core
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-offlinefiles-dl
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-performancecounterinfrastructure-dl
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-performancecounterinfrastructureconsumer-dl
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-rasconnectionmanager
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-rasserver-migplugin
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-shmig-dl
            |   |   |   \---en-gb
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-storagemigration
            |   |   |   \---en-gb
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-sxs
            |   |   |   \---en-gb
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-tapisetup
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-terminalservices-licenseserver
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-textservicesframework-migration-dl
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-unimodem-config
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-winsock-core-infrastructure-upgrade
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-wmi-core
            |   |   \---networking-mpssvc-svc
            |   +---en-gb
            |   +---etwproviders
            |   |   \---en-gb
            |   +---inf
            |   +---migration
            |   |   \---wtr
            |   +---replacementmanifests
            |   |   +---en-gb
            |   |   +---microsoft-activedirectory-webservices
            |   |   +---microsoft-client-license-platform-service-migration
            |   |   +---microsoft-ehome-reg-inf
            |   |   +---microsoft-hyper-v
            |   |   +---microsoft-international-core
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-appx-deployment-server
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-audio-mmecore-other
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-bth-user
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-deviceaccess
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-deviceassociationframework
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-directoryservices-adam-client
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-gameuxmig
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-iis-rm
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-mapscontrol-migration
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-ndis
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-network-setup
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-offlinefiles-core
            |   |   |   \---en-gb
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-pnpmigration
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-rasapi-mig
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-rasserver-migplugin
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-security-ngc-localaccountmigplugin
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-shmig
            |   |   |   \---en-gb
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-storagemigration
            |   |   |   \---en-gb
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-sxs
            |   |   |   \---en-gb
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-terminalservices-appserver-licensing
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-terminalservices-licenseserver
            |   |   +---microsoft-windows-textservicesframework-migration
            |   |   +---networkbridge
            |   |   +---printing-localprinting-replacement
            |   |   +---sebmigration
            |   |   +---sppmig
            |   |   +---usb
            |   |   +---windowssearchengine
            |   |   \---wslicensing
            |   +---sxs
            |   +---vista
            |   \---xp
            \---support
                \---logging
                    \---en-gb
    The first interesting folder is Panther

    Code:
    FOLDER	C:\$Windows.~WS\Sources\Panther\
    FILE	29/07/2015 14:27	2,839	diagerr.xml
    FILE	29/07/2015 14:27	19,815	diagwrn.xml
    FILE	29/07/2015 14:27	501,154	setupact.log
    FILE	29/07/2015 14:27	351	setuperr.log
    FILE	29/07/2015 14:27	26,644	windlp.state.xml
    FILE	29/07/2015 14:27	26,644	windlp.state-old.xml
    This is a snapshot of my Windows 8.1 installation revealing some interesting things.
    The XML files may be opened in a web browser or notepad, or a custom xml editor, the log files in notepad or any text editor.

    I'll post back when I have explored further on copies of these files, not to risk their corruption - any digging around by other interested parties would be welcomed.
      My ComputersSystem Spec
  9.    31 Jul 2015 #9
    Join Date : Jul 2015
    Posts : 10
    Windows 10 Pro/64 Anniversary Edition

    Quote Originally Posted by Fafhrd View Post
    I think it is a rather clever tool, but it has many functions within.

    It produces a windows.iso tailored to your existing system and OS, and obtains among other things, the activation status of your system, Product code, your hardware and software details.
    That is pretty clever from the sounds of it, however Media Creation tool asks to "upgrade this PC now" or "Create Installation media for another computer." If what you're saying is completely accurate then I agree, I don't need the 32 version. See next paragraph as to why I would want both versions on the drive.

    Call me old school but even back in the Windows 2000 and the XP days I would always have an iso available with the latest service packs integrated already so that if you were to have to install a fresh OS at a client's house, all you would need is their product key as the data (OS & Service packs) was already in hand. The extras folder I would always have on hand was less elaborate, perhaps the latest version VIA and Intel motherboard drivers, ATI & Nvidia drivers and whatever apps I deemed necessary at the time, perhaps Trend Micro's virus scanner and such. Nowadays Trend's virus scanner, Malwarebytes, still Intel & nvidia mobo, amd & nvidia graphics. Perhaps Realtek audio as well. Of course there were multiple versions of XP and 2000 so I had to carry the two most popular and hope they did not have a different variant.


    Slartybart, you're probably right, I did not even think of the active bit. Still not thinking of a usb flash device as a drive, silly me!
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  10.    31 Jul 2015 #10
    Join Date : Apr 2014
    Space coast of Florida
    Posts : 5,368
    Windows 10 Pro X64 16299.19

    Quote Originally Posted by Krawk View Post
    The tool is not very smart. After creating a 64 bit ISO I decided to ask the tool to create a USB image of BOTH versions (32/64) just because. With the 64 image being about 4GB, I decided to put a 16GB USB drive in place to hold the new version. So it downloads all the data and creates a bootable USB drive of just 5.4GB. What a terrible waste of a 16GB drive, so I unsuccessfully copy the 16gb to an 8gb drive. (the 8 turns out not being bootable) At this point the WS~ folder is 10GB in size so I figure cool, this should be quick. Nope - try again. The tool chooses to purge the data and re-download every bit all over again.

    So folks, just to let ya know, an 8GB drive is ideal if you want to create a bootable usb drive and still have ample overhead for other essentials, such as latest graphics card drivers, motherboard drivers, a backup of your My Documents folder, Firefox and Thunderbird Profiles. Having not experienced a Win 10 fresh install yet, am not sure what layer of dot net framework comes stock. Previous Windows 7 install also included a copy of dot net 4.0 as some of the motherboard installers needed 2.5 or better.
    I used a 4GB flash drive for Win 10 Pro X64 EN-US.

    Click image for larger version. 

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