Explained: Can I remove Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable?

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader John G. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I have about having six different versions of Microsoft's Visual C++ Redistributable Package installed on my system (both in 32-bit and 64-bit versions), as listed in my Windows Control Panel via the Programs and Features. Can I remove any of the Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable packages, or do I need all of them? "

My response:

The answer to this question is similar to the question I received about having multiple instances of .NET framework installed on the system.

In short: it's not advisable that you uninstall any of your C++ Redistributable Packages on your system, or you may break something. Just leave it alone. I'll explain why below.

Why do I need Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable Packages?

If you have any of the Visual C++ Redistributable packages installed on your system, it's because you have installed a program that requires its framework in order to run. If you uninstall any one of the Visual C++ Redistributable packages, then one or more of your programs that rely on that specific version of Visual C++ Redistributable will stop working.

It's also worth mentioning that you may have multiple versions of the same Visual C++ Redistributable package, both in 32 bit and 64 bit flavors. It all depends on which program you've installed and which architecture it's for (x86 for 32-bit and x64 for 64-bit), and what the installed program calls for. Microsoft does release security updates for all versions of the Visual C++ Redistributable packages, so it is best to just leave them alone. The packages themselves do not take a lot of disk space.

Related: Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable Hangs During Install

How to Remove Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable Packages

If you insist on freeing up disk space by removing the Visual C++ Redistributable packages installed on your system, you'll need to do some investigation work. You could start by looking at the install date of the Visual C++ Redistributable package (via Control Panel -> Programs and Features) and then compare that to any corresponding programs installed at the same time. At this point it would be safe bet that the two programs are related.

After that, you would have to go onto Google.com (or similar) and search for a program that has similar features as the one that you just uninstalled and hope that it does not also use Visual C++ Redistributable package, otherwise you'll be in the same boat as before.

That said, if you have multiple programs using one specific version of the Visual C++ Redistributable package, uninstalling that package may break any of the remaining programs which rely on the framework.

So, once again:

It's not advisable that you uninstall any of your C++ Redistributable Packages on your system, or you may break something. Just leave it alone.

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About the author: Dennis Faas is the owner and operator of Infopackets.com. With over 30 years of computing experience, Dennis' areas of expertise are a broad range and include PC hardware, Microsoft Windows, Linux, network administration, and virtualization. Dennis holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science (1999) and has authored 6 books on the topics of MS Windows and PC Security. If you like the advice you received on this page, please up-vote / Like this page and share it with friends. For technical support inquiries, Dennis can be reached via Live chat online this site using the Zopim Chat service (currently located at the bottom left of the screen); optionally, you can contact Dennis through the website contact form.

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Syscob Support's picture

While any given redistributable “packages themselves do not take a lot of disk space” you are in a fantasy realm if you believe Microsoft gives a damn about how much of your disk space is wasted. Case in point: WUDO…

Dennis Faas's picture

The framework is there to help programmers integrate their programs seamlessly into Windows - so I don't see how having multiple C++ redistributable packages is a "Microsoft issue".

Frameworks are created as each edition of Windows is released (approximately), and as technology changes. That said, the 2015 C++ Redistributable package for Visual Studio 2015 is only 15MB; others are in the same ballpark. The service pack for version 2010 is 795k. I really don't think that's asking much.

Some examples: if you had 3 or 4 packages on your system, it might take up 100 megabytes (if that); on a 300GB system, that accounts for 0.03% of space. Most systems today have 2,000GB or higher, so you might be looking at 0.005% of space accounted by the packages.