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 Post subject: The orphaned DLL masses
PostPosted: Thu Nov 28, 2013 4:49 am 
Sharptooth
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Trying to get a little winter cleaning done on my PC and noticed I have like 24GBs worth of DLL files (Used WinDirStat). Now I'm sure most of these are orphans that no longer have a parent program installed anymore, but I'm trying to find the best/easiest way to clean them up.
I've found a program called (can't remember the exact name) Archdll or DLLArchive that shows all of the dll files located in the system32 folder and allows you to back them up but nothing useful as far as "this one is an orphan" or "hasn't been used since...". I really don't want to go through deleting one at a time and restart after each deletion to see if I screwed anything up.
Yes I have looked in google but the only thing that comes up when searching for dll cleaners is registry cleaners which don't do anything with dll files directly.

Thanks in advanced.


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 Post subject: Re: The orphaned DLL masses
PostPosted: Thu Nov 28, 2013 1:02 pm 
Smithfield
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Can you confirm that they're in System32 and not WinSXS? If they're in the WinSXS folder you don't want to touch them lest you want trouble down the road.

Then again I don't think you should touch the ones in System32 either, regardless of its status.


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 Post subject: Re: The orphaned DLL masses
PostPosted: Fri Nov 29, 2013 7:18 am 
Team Member
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How big is your disk drive? 24gb is probably not worth the risk. Probably better to get rid of unused programs.


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 Post subject: Re: The orphaned DLL masses
PostPosted: Fri Nov 29, 2013 8:29 am 
Sharptooth
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I will double check the locations.
In my infinite wisdom when I originally installed Windows 7 on my pc I created a 100GB partition for windows.
I know you need to have a level of caution and precision removing .dll files, that is why I'm wondering if anyone knows of a reliable way or program to identify .dll files that are no longer in use.


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 Post subject: Re: The orphaned DLL masses
PostPosted: Fri Nov 29, 2013 9:08 am 
Smithfield
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The trouble is all these DLLs are to prevent DLL hell, and I don't know how Windows comes up with them. Which is why you should leave them alone for the most part.


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 Post subject: Re: The orphaned DLL masses
PostPosted: Sat Nov 30, 2013 1:20 pm 
Sharptooth
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I appreciate the words of caution but I'm well aware of the issues that can arise from deleting a dll file that still get used. But I'm looking for a way/program to find out which ones are no longer in use.


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 Post subject: Re: The orphaned DLL masses
PostPosted: Sat Nov 30, 2013 2:06 pm 
Smithfield
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I don't know if there's a table or something that's stored somewhere in Windows, but it's effectively impossible without having something run all of your programs and check if they use it. The files are used at runtime, hence the name dynamic link.


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 Post subject: Re: The orphaned DLL masses
PostPosted: Sat Nov 30, 2013 4:12 pm 
Thunderbird
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Well, if you are running Win7,let us know your results.

However, I see a clean install in your future.


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 Post subject: Re: The orphaned DLL masses
PostPosted: Sun Dec 01, 2013 6:57 pm 
Sharptooth
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Thank you FascistNation, I'd forgotten the windows cleanup had gotten better. Freed up a little space about 9GB. I'm hoping between the end of Christmas and my wife delivering I can get sometime and another HD and get a fresh install going.
Kind of strange though that no one has created a utility yet that could search the windows registry and compare it against the files in system32 to see which ones are no longer found in the registry or at least scan the dll files to show the last time they were used. I know it wouldn't be a perfect way of doing it but it would definitely (note that it is spelled correctly) point you in the right direction.
Thanks everyone.


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 Post subject: Re: The orphaned DLL masses
PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 9:30 am 
Thunderbird
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linkmaster6 wrote:
....Kind of strange though that no one has created a utility yet that could search the windows registry and compare it against the files in system32 to see which ones are no longer found in the registry or at least scan the dll files to show the last time they were used. ...

I was surprised/disturbed that you found so many apparent orphaned dll's. I too am surprised nobody has created a orphan dll remover by comparing to the registry and removing that which have no link. I definitely would not want one based upon the last time a dll was run, however. Although I could be under the mistaken impression that all dll's must have at least one registry entry.


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 Post subject: Re: The orphaned DLL masses
PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 11:33 am 
Smithfield
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The problem is there's no such thing as a "last accessed" or "last used" field for registered DLLs (you can check for registered DLLs by going to Regedit\HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\). None of them have any field pertaining to whether or not they were used, only that they exist for use. Other mechanisms may or may not be in play as well (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dll_hell#Solutions ). But for the most part, the details that you want do not exist, and it probably won't exist because that may break compatibility.

To be honest at this point, Microsoft should just create a new NT kernel that only uses the modern methods of libraries and whatever and include a "XP Mode" for Windows 7, XP, and 98 (because why not?) for those programs that can't run on the new kernel.

But for now the only way to clean anything up is a new install of Windows. Which is why you should always make a system image after you've installed the base programs and configured settings to make this as painless as possible.


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