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WacoJohn 9th March 2009 20:17

more about I386 folders
I know it has been discussed over and over. I almost feel apologetic for bringing it up, but my question is quite simple (I think).
RE: XP Home SP3.
There are EIGHT I386 folders on my system.
C:\Garmin\USB_Drivers\I386 108KB with a capital I386
C:\Program Files\Java\jre6\lib\i386 4KB
C:\Windows\Driver Cache\i386 28.4MB
C:\Windows\ServicePackFiles\i386 460MB
C:\Windows\ServicePackFiles\ServicePackCache\i386 829KB
C:\Windows\system32\spool\XPSEP\i386 4.66MB
C:\Windows\system32\spool\XPSEP\i386\i386 2.32MB
C:\i386 464MB

Next factoid .. I have 2 CDs:

and a CD I burned from MS website ... Service Pack 3

It's clear some of these folders are not needed ESPECIALLY if one has these CDs, so I would like to get rid of them. In the past, I arbitrarily moved C:\i386 to an external drive and soon discovered this caused a problem with SYSTEM FILE CHECKER. Being it could not find C:\i386 .. it asked for a CD which I have ... so conclusion .. don't need C:\i386 ... except when you provide the CD, SFC asks for it EVERY TIME it checks a file which is a TON of times. Also, it asks for the XP CD which is SP2. The SP3 CD doesn't work (as my memory serves me). That doesn't make sense right there.

So, yes, you can delete C:\i386 but be ready to insert XP OS SP2 CD and hit OK about 100 times. Better to move it to another drive and edit the Registry (which I ended up doing). Still ... spending disk space when you have the CD(s).

So, as has been asked here and all over the 'Net ... with owning the described CDs ... what can I effectively DELETE (and by effectively, I mean without causing problems like hitting enter about 100 times or any other 'traps' like that)?

I'm sorry to bring this up, but I have been hoping to get rid of some of this for years and have never found the 'smooth' way to do it. Oh, since I have Service Pack 2 AND 3 available on CD, not only delete some i386 folders but also the ServicePackFiles parent folder would be nice.

Thank you for any comments/advice/instruction.

surferdude2 9th March 2009 21:49

Think of it this way, since some of those folders were created AFTER the CD was issued, it's very likely that they hold different versions or additional files than the CD.

No doubt you could dump all of those and your system will go right on working. Then one day you have a problem and a file gets corrupt. You'll run SFC /SCANNOW and your CD will not have the proper version so the system will continue to ask you for the location of the blah/blah/I386 folder. There are other scenarios that will cause problems with certain software versions. Believe it or not, all software is not forward compatible with each new SP. That's putting it mildly.

I'd leave well enough alone unless you like to live dangerously. Disk space is normally not that much of an issue and when it is dumping I386 folders won't be the best answer.
The XP system is very intelligent about checking versions when it replaces files. If you don't have the proper one for your particular system, you'll be up the creek.

WacoJohn 9th March 2009 23:37

Thank you for your prompt reply. I guess I should let it die. No doubt your expertise exceeds mine. If I may make a comment without sounding argumentative ...

XP SP2 is installed from factory as evidenced by the label on the Dell CD. SP3 is installed due to a Windows Update (I also burned it on a CD). One thing I noticed .. C:\i386 (which I have PROPERLY moved to E:) are all compressed files .xx_ and seem to be essential to SFC, .. at least when I run SFC it does NOT ask me for the XP CD which is SP2. That tells me that sfc is looking for SP2 updated files. But SP3 is installed. Maybe I am missing something but doesn't seem to make sense.

Meanwhile, C:\Windows\ServicePackFiles\i386 are all uncompressed .. (full filename extensions). I have no idea what files they are ... SP2 or SP3.

"You'll run SFC /SCANNOW and your CD will not have the proper version so the system will continue to ask you for the location of the blah/blah/I386 folder."

I could be wrong, but sfc /scannow does not ask for a CD as long as it can find device\I386 (C: or whatever .. Registry dependent). If it cannot, it asks for Windows CD. If you don't have it, you are *******.

SFC /SCANNOW never lets you point to anything .. it gets its target from a registry setting or a Windows XP CD. At least that has been my experience.

Anyway, . it is so convoluted and confusing .. I take your sage advice and leave it all alone. Sad situation. Thank you again.

retiredlearner 10th March 2009 06:32

Hi jfbooth, I followed these instructions and have no problem running sfc /scannow
As well as having a cache of all the system files on your PC, I like to have the I386 folder from the XP CD installed on the computer as well. After doing this I then modify the registry to tell it the source path for these files... Why? Well not only does this prevent 99% of request for the the XP CD with Windows File Protection. But the I386 folder also contains many other files that are sometimes needed by the operating system and this stops those requests for the XP CD too!
NB - With today's large hard drives you are not going to notice this 475 MB folder on your computer, but older systems may not have the space for this...
Step 1
You will need to get your XP CD and locate the folder called:I386
This is a major folder and should be one of the first you see, now copy this onto your hard drive into the system root. For most of you that is going to be C:\ so you should end up with a folder that looks like: C:\I386
Step 2 Now you will need to tell your computer you now have the files on your PC. We do this is the registry (type regedit in the Run box on the start menu) by navigating to:
You will see various entries here on the right hand side. The one we want is called: SourcePath
It probably has an entry pointing to your CD-ROM drive, and that is why it is asking for the XP CD. All we need to do is change it to:
C:\ Simply double click the SourcePatch setting and a new box will pop up allowing you to make the change.
Now restart your computer and try scannow sfc again!
Incidentally I have 6 entries of i386 and comp runs OK. Neil.:cool:

WacoJohn 10th March 2009 06:49

Thank you, Neil. It is all academic at this point, but even with your info, it leaves some logical questions. There is ALREADY a C:\i386.

Copy i386 folder from an XP SP2 CD to C:\? But the system is now SP3. That's THREE.

Doesn't make a lot of sense to me .. but whatever. THEN, if I am going to point sfc /scannow via registry to something .. it's going to be E:\i386 (formerly C:\i386) which is a 250GB external HDD. At this point, I don't understand how sfc /scannow will accept SP2 files when SP3 is installed. Anyway, .. I'm tired of it by now. Thank you so much for your input.

retiredlearner 11th March 2009 00:06

Here's the contact source I got the info from:
Marc Liron
Microsoft MVP
Might be worth looking at his site as the info I had saved was last updated 2004. Cheers Neil.

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