In our research, both Microsoft and Reddit tech support do say you can delete these files, while botcrawl.com has a more conservative recommendation.
In our opinion, we’d go with what Microsoft support has to say, which is that VC_Red files are temporary files that are incorrectly generated by the installer into the root directory of one of your drives, instead of into the temp directory.
What Is VC_RED?
According to botcrawl.com this is a harmless, essential file that is associated with the VC_RED program on your Microsoft Windows PC.
It and its associated files are installation files for the Visual C++ Redistributable. If you install any software it depends on Microsoft Visual C++.
We were recently asked a question by one of our readers: What is VC_RED file in Windows? I did not download it and it randomly appeared on my external drive with other files? Is it a virus? Please help.
Should You Delete VC_RED?
According to botcrawl.com, if you were to delete VC_RED, some applications could potentially become unusable.
On the flip side, however, they say it’s OK to delete these files if they’ve placed themselves on external drives because, in that case, they’re merely installation files.
Why Are There So Many “Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributables” Installed on My PC?
A Windows 7 Forum Solution
Over in a Windows 7 Forum, a Windows users observed that on his C hard drive and on his external USB drives a folder had appeared called “VC_Redist” in the root directory.
I noticed today that on one of my external USB drives, and the C: drive on my laptop, there is a folder named “VC_Redist” in the root.
In his C drive, there were 17 files:
And on his external thumb drive there were these 14 files:
Users recommended reading this support thread regarding whether it was safe or not to delete. Apparently, users recommend deleting these files. They say that VC_RED files are related to Visual C+ Redistributable packages for your Visual Studio installation.
What Does Microsoft Say?
Microsoft weighed in, producing a rapid publishing article that said these files appear after Installing the Visual C++ 2008 Redistributable Package.
They say that these are temporary files that have been erroneously generated by the installer into your root directory instead of your temp directory.
Microsoft says that these files are not necessary and can be safely deleted from your computer. The functioning of your computer’s runtime library will not be affected by this.
What Does Reddit Say?
Over in the techsupport subreddit a user wondered whether it was safe to delete VC_RED.cab. He was looking to free up some hard drive space and apparently the files were large.
It takes up so much space and I really need to clean up my computer.
The top commenter responded, saying that it’s probably safe to delete them because cab files are installers. Just to be safe, he said, you could always make an image backup of your personal computer’s hard drive before a risky deletion.
According to SensorsTech, the VC_RED file is a legitimate and safe file- it and its associated files are typically scattered throughout your main directory of personal computer disk drives.
Generally, they’re installation files for the Visual C++ Redistributable Package(VC_RED a shorthand- it’s also listed as vc_redistx86 or x64) and most commonly they’re leftovers after a completed installation.
Whenever they’re found on your hard drive without their own folder, it’s safe to delete them, they say. It can easily be re-installed should you need it.
The general advice is to remove the installation files that are randomly scattered, but don’t touch them if they are located within a specific folder with a similar name.
How to Download and Install Visual C++ Redistributable Packages for Visual Studio 2015
The video above demonstrates how you can download and install the Microsoft, Visual C 2015 redistributable package.
Step Summary: Use your browser, search for C Redistributable package for Visual Studio, and the first link which will be from Microsoft.
Just select your language here and click download- you’ll see 64 and 32-bit operating system options.
You’ll download the appropriate files. So just save these files, one by one- once these files are downloaded, you’ll just need to go to the location where these executable files are downloaded.
You can see the 64 executable file and x86 executable file, so in order to run or install these executable files on a 64-bit operating system, you need to run both the file one by one.
Otherwise, if you have 32-bit operating system, you just need the x86 executable file.
So run executable, agree to the license terms and condition, and click install. So in this way you can download and install Cisual C Plus Distributable for your operating system. Watch the full video for a complete guide.
Ryan is a computer enthusiast who has a knack for fixing difficult and technical software problems. Whether you’re having issues with Windows, Safari, Chrome or even an HP printer, Ryan helps out by figuring out easy solutions to common error codes.