Computers

How to delete the Windows.old folder on Windows 10

If you recently upgraded to a new version of Windows 10, you can use this guide to flush the Windows.old folder that's just wasting space on your device.

When you update your computer to some other version of Windows 10, or you also put in a preview set, the setup procedure saves a copy of the last version in the “Windows.old” folder. This is a portion of this security mechanism in the event the update procedure goes wrong. In case the setup fails for any reason, the machine may utilize the Windows.old folder to reverse the changes. Moreover, in the event the update completes successfully, the backup copy of the last version will be retained to offer the choice to rollback in case the new installment is causing difficulties. Even though this is a useful feature, if your computer is functioning properly after the update, you may safely delete the Windows.old folder to automatically recover gigabytes of space.

Upgraded from an old version of Windows? You have a Windows.old folder on your computer, and it’s using up a huge amount of space. You can delete it, but it’s different from deleting a normal folder.

The Windows.old folder isn’t something new with Windows 10. But, prior to Windows 10, you’d only see it if you purchased a new version of Windows, and then used it to upgrade a PC that came with an older version.

 

What Is the Windows.old Folder?

This folder is created when you upgrade from one version of Windows to another, starting with Windows Vista. The Windows.old folder contains all the files and data from your previous Windows installation. You can use it to restore your system to the old version of Windows if you don’t like the new version. If you’re looking for a specific file that wasn’t properly copied to your new Windows installation, you also could dig into the Windows.old folder and find it.

Essentially, the Windows.old folder just contains the old Windows system. From the Windows system files to your installed programs and each user account’s settings and files, it’s all here. The new version of Windows just keeps it around in case you’d like to go back to that older version of Windows or in case you need to dig in and find a file.

But, don’t wait too long—Windows will automatically delete the Windows.old folder to free up space after a month.

 

How to delete the Windows.old folder using Storage sense settings

The easiest method to delete the Windows.old folder from your device is to use the Storage sense with these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on System.
  3. Click on Storage.
  4. Under the “Storage sense” section, click the Change how we free up space automatically option.

  5. Under the “Free up space now” section, check the Delete previous version of Windows option.

  6. Click the Clean now button.

Once you’ve completed the steps, the folder with the previous installation of Windows 10 will no longer be available on your device.

How to delete the Windows.old folder using Temporary files settings

Alternatively, using the Settings app, you can delete the Windows.old folder using the Temporary files settings with these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on System.
  3. Click on Storage.
  4. Under the “Storage sense” section, click the Free up space now option.

  5. Check the Previous Windows installation(s) option.

  6. (Optional) Clear the default selected options if you only want to remove the Windows.old folder to free up space.
  7. Click the Remove files button.

After completing the steps, the folder with the previous installation of Windows 10 will be removed freeing up 14GB to 20GB of storage space on your primary hard drive.

How to delete the Windows.old folder using Disk Cleanup

You can also delete the Windows.old folder using the legacy Disk Cleanup tool with these steps:

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Click on This PC from the left pane.
  3. Under the “Devices and drives” section, right-click the drive with the Windows 10 installation (usually the C drive) and select the Properties option.

  4. In the “General” tab, click the Disk Cleanup button.

  5. Click the Cleanup system files button.

  6. Check the Previous Windows installation(s) option.

  7. (Optional) Clear the default selected options if you only want to remove the Windows.old folder to free up space.

    Important: Starting with the October 2018 Update, Windows 10 is deprecating Disk Cleanup in favor of Storage sense, but it adds an option to delete all the contents from the Downloads folder. If you’re using this option, and you have important files in the Downloads folder, make sure to clear this option.

  8. Click the OK button.
  9. Click the Delete Files button to confirm the deletion.
  10. Click the Yes button to confirm the warning.

Once you’ve completed the steps, the Windows.old folder will be removed from your device.

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