+5 votes
in Setting by (78.1k points)
Delete Windows.old: instructions to delete the folder

1 Answer

+3 votes
by (518k points)
Best answer


Delete Windows.old: instructions to delete the folder

People who use Windows and regularly free their system of unnecessary data, will often find folders and files whose functionality and usefulness is unknown to them. Therefore, to save storage space , it is preferred to delete others and, while playing it safe in this way, it often overloads available memory..

A good example of this is the Windows.old folder , which is often found on the system partition (in addition to the current version of Windows folder). Here we explain what the Windows.old folder is and how to delete it.

  1. Windows.old - what is this system folder?
  2. How to remove Windows.old
  3. Remove Windows.old in Windows 10
  4. Is Windows.old useful as a long-term backup?

Windows.old - what is this system folder?

The Windows.old folder is a backup copy of an old version of Windows. It contains several files and settings from the previous Microsoft system installation that are required to restore this old version. By default, Windows.old is automatically deleted after a specified period of time (ten days). In practice, however, this does not always happen, so the folder, often several gigabytes in size, remains on the system partition along with the current Windows folder..

This often occurs when Windows is installed on a hard disk where the operating system is already installed in the same or a different version. In this case, although the Windows.old folder is typically generated, it is not always indexed for the automatic wipe process using Disk Cleanup. In some cases, it also remains on the system after the predefined retention period has elapsed due to a system update (for example, from Windows 8 to Windows 10) or version updates within an edition of Windows.


In many cases, the Windows.old folder not only stores data relevant to the system, but also data from third-party applications , which is the main reason why the folder is so large and the disk cleaner doesn't have it in bill..

How to remove Windows.old

If the change to a new or alternative version of Windows has already taken place and you have no problems with the new system, you will have no problem deleting the Windows.old folder that is still on the hard drive as? Remnant? of the new installation or update.


Before removing Windows.old, take a look at its contents. Check if there are any personal files that you may need there and they are only saved in that location.

As is often the case with system-relevant files in Windows, Windows.old cannot be removed by the usual means. To do this, you need the aforementioned Disk Cleanup cleaning tool , that is, the tool that actually performs the erasure automatically. If automatic cleaning doesn't work, use this manual method.

Step 1. Open the file explorer through the Windows start menu or the key combination [Windows] + [E] and click on the icon? This team ? Next, right-click on the Windows.old folder and select the menu option? Properties ?:

In most cases, Windows and the Windows.old backup folder are located on drive C:

Step 2. Go to the? General? and click the button? Free up space ? to start disk cleanup.

The menu? Properties? Not only does it allow you to delete the Windows.old folder, but in it you can see, among other things, how much free space is left on the selected hard drive.

Step 3 . Press? Clean system files ?:

To use Windows Disk Cleanup to delete system files, such as the Windows.old folder, you need administrator privileges.

Step 4 . Windows presents a list of all the system files that can be removed using Disk Cleanup. Check the box? Previous Windows installations ? and confirm the selection by clicking the button? Accept ? This deletes all data related to updates or previous versions of Windows, including the Windows.old folder. This may take a while.

Files included in the collective term? Previous Windows Installations? they often take up a lot of memory.

Remove Windows.old in Windows 10

In Windows 10, Microsoft has fundamentally revised many old system structures and combined various features and functions in the? Configuration ?. Although this is very handy for almost everything, it also means that Disk Cleanup cannot always display or find outdated Windows files. If that happens to you, you can try to delete the Windows.old folder through the same menu? Settings ?.

Step 1 . Go to Windows 10 settings by opening the Start menu and clicking the button of the same name (gear icon). You can also select the Windows icon (start menu) by clicking the right mouse button and pressing the menu option? Configuration ?:

The section? Settings? appears by default in the start menu.

Step 2 . Select the item? System ?:

You can also use the search feature in Windows 10 to search for specific settings.

Step 3 . From the menu on the left, go to the section? Storage ? and click on the link called? Configure storage sensor or do it now ?:

In Windows 10, you can use storage optimization to delete temporary files such as the Windows.old folder, manage storage, or start defragmentation (? Optimize drives?).

Step 4 . In? Optimize storage space? click? Clean now ? to remove Windows.old.

Cleaning up disk space may take a few minutes in Windows 10.

Is Windows.old useful as a long-term backup?

Optionally, Windows saves the Windows.old backup for up to ten days or a whole month to restore the previous system , after which it is automatically deleted. If the folder remains on the hard drive or if an additional backup has been made to external storage media, it could theoretically be used for system recovery at a later time ( after this period has elapsed) , i.e. , as a backup. In practice, this only works sometimes, because Windows automatically disables the normal recovery process based on Windows.old data. Also, the included system files and settings, which take up a disproportionate amount of space for a backup, are quickly out of date.

If you want to ensure long-term protection of the system after a system upgrade or upgrade, we recommend using the built-in Windows functionality? Restore Points ?. These disk images are much more reliable for restoring Windows, and they also take up much less space than the Windows.old folder.