In this article, we will talk about how to delete Windows.old. If you tried to upgrade your Windows PC, you probably realized that there is a large portion of disk space that is eaten by a folder called Windows.old. Windows.old is generated automatically whenever you perform a Windows installation with a previous version of the operating system already installed on your computer. This Windows.old folder is created in the main Windows partition and stores the previous files and operating system data.
If you try to upgrade from Windows Vista to Windows 7 or Windows 7 to Windows 10 and you can’t, you can always return to Windows Vista or Windows 8 safely. The only problem is that every time the installation fails, another copy of the previous operating system is copied to the Windows.old folder.
So, if the update installation fails 2 or 3 times, the Windows.old folder can become very large, and very fast! Furthermore, the folder is not automatically deleted once you finish installing the operating system, but you have to get rid of it yourself.
Note : removing the Windows.old folder will make it impossible to restore the previously installed operating system. You will need to install a new version of Windows. Also, the Windows.old folder is created when you install these large Windows 10 updates.
What is Windows.old folder and can I delete it?
When installing a new version of Windows, such as Windows 10, the system automatically moves the previous installation to the Windows.old folder. With this folder, you can easily restore the previous version of Windows if the new one does not work properly.
Also, this folder works like a backup, so even if the installation process fails for some reason, the PC can use the Windows.old folder to restore the previous version of Windows.
You should also know that you can restore the previous version of Windows 10 days after installation, and at the end of that period, the Windows.old folder will be automatically deleted from your system.
As you can see, the Windows.old folder can be extremely useful as it allows you to restore the previous version of Windows, but many users want to delete this folder as it takes up a lot of space on its hard disk.
Keep in mind that by deleting this folder, you will not be able to go back to the previous version of Windows in case of significant problems.
Since this folder can hold 30 GB or more of your disk space, today we’ll show you how to remove it from your PC safely.
Can I delete my old Windows folder? You can easily remove it via Disk Cleanup. Keep in mind that deleting the folder will leave you without a restore point. Another way to remove it is to use the command prompt or a Linux Live CD.
For more information on how to do this, consult the guide below.
So how do you get rid of the file? Well, you have to use the Disk Cleanup utility! Here’s how. The first method will describe how to delete the Windows.old folder on Windows 7/8/10. If you are using an older version of the operating system, use the second method.
Solution 1 – Instructions to delete Windows.old
If you are on Windows 7/8/10 and want to delete Windows.old, the process is quite simple. First, open Disk Cleanup via the Start menu (click Start and type Disk Cleanup) and when the dialog box appears, choose the drive on which the.old file is present and click OK.
The system will perform a scan and another dialog will be displayed. Now click on the button Clean up system files below.
Now choose the drive containing the.old files again. The system will perform a second scan of the files that need to be cleaned and will take longer.
Finally, a dialog box will appear with another checkbox. Scroll down until you find an older version of Windows or previous installations of Windows, and you click on OK.
As you can see, it is normally a large amount of data that is taken up by previous Windows installations.
Instructions to delete Windows.old on Windows Vista
Click Start, then All Programs, Accessories, System Tools and then Disk Cleanup. Make sure you right-click on Disk Cleanup and choose Run as Administrator.
In the Disk Cleanup Options dialog box, be sure to check the File box for all users on this computer.
Then, in the Disk Cleanup – Drive Selection window, click on the hard disk where the Windows.old folder is located and click OK. The system will scan the drive for unnecessary files.
Click on the Disk Cleanup tab and look for a checkbox indicating previous installations of Windows. Check it and click OK. Then click Delete file when prompted.
That’s all! This should eliminate Windows.old forever! If you have trouble getting rid of this folder, post a comment below and I’ll try to help.
Solution 2 – Through the command prompt
Generally, the best way to delete the Windows.old folder is to use the Disk Cleanup tool. If you cannot delete it using Disk Cleanup, you can consider using the command prompt.
Keep in mind that Disk Cleanup is the simplest and safest solution and you should always use it first. To delete Windows.old with the command prompt, do the following:
- In the Windows search box, type cmd, right-click on the first result and select Run as administrator.
- When the command prompt appears, enter the following lines:
attrib -r -a -s -h C: Windows.old / S / D
RD / S / Q% SystemDrive% windows.old
- After executing the commands, close Command Prompt and check if the Windows.old folder has been removed.
Few users have reported that they need to use two extra commands before they can remove the Windows.old folder from their PC.
According to them, they had to use takeown /FC:Windows.old/A/R and icacls C: Windows.old / Grant Administrators: F / inheritance: e/T:e/T commands to become owners of the Windows.old folder and remove it.
You can also remove the Windows.old folder using the command prompt at startup. To do this, you need to start the command prompt by following these steps:
- Click the Start button.
- Click the power button, hold down the Shift key and choose the restart option.
- When the PC restarts, select Troubleshooting> Advanced options.
- A list of options will be available. Select Command Prompt.
- Now we need to determine what your drive letter is. If you use the command prompt during startup, the drive letter may change, so you need to use the diskpart tool to find it. You can do this by following these steps:
- Enter diskpart in Command Prompt and press Enter. We need to warn you that diskpart is a powerful tool, so use extreme caution when using it.
- Now enter the list volume.
- The list of all available partitions will now appear. Now you need to find the drive letter. The easiest way to do this is to compare the size of the available partitions. After finding the desired partition, check the Ltr column and save your letter. In most cases, it should be D, but it may be different on your PC.
- Enter exit to exit the diskpart tool.
- Now enter RD/S/Q “D: Windows.old” and press Enter to execute it. Keep in mind that you need to use the correct letter you got in step 3. In our case it was D, but be sure to check it again on your PC.
- After executing the above command, the Windows.old folder will be removed from your PC. Now you just need to close the command prompt and start Windows 10 normally.
- As already mentioned, the use of Disk Cleanup is the safest and easiest way to remove the Windows.old folder from the PC, so it is advisable to always use it with the Command Prompt.
If you decide to use the command prompt from Windows 10, you will need to change the attributes of the Windows.old folder.
This can sometimes cause some problems, so it may be better to use the command prompt during startup since it does not require changing the attributes of the Windows.old folder.
Solution 3: Use CCleaner
CCleaner is a useful tool designed to remove old and temporary files from your PC. Some users use it to remove the Windows.old folder, and if you use CCleaner you can remove the Windows.old folder by following these steps:
- Download and install CCleaner and click on the Cleaner title.
- Select only Old Windows Installation. You should find this option in the Advanced list.
- Now click on the Analyze button to start the scan.
- Now you should see how much space the Windows.old folder takes up. Click the Clean Now button and wait until CCleaner removes this folder from your PC.
Solution 4 – Delete Windows.old by changing security permissions
If you try to manually delete the Windows.old folder will probably see an error message that you say that you lack the necessary privileges to delete this folder. You can solve this problem by following these steps:
- Locate the Windows.old folder, right-click and choose Properties.
- Go to the Security tab and click on the Advanced button.
- Locate the Owner section and click Change.
- The Select User or Group window appears. In Enter the object name to select the field, enter Users and click Check Names. Click OK.
- The owner’s section will now be changed. Select Replace owner in subcontainers and objects and Replace all child permission entries with inheritable permission entries from this object.
- Click Apply and OK to save the changes.
- If you receive security alerts, select Yes.
After changing the permissions you will be able to delete the Windows.old folder without problems.
We must remember that changing the permissions of the Windows.old folder can sometimes cause problems with the installation of Windows 10, so it is advisable to consider using the Disk Cleanup Tool.
Solution 5 – Disable certain devices from Device Manager
According to users, they were unable to remove the Windows.old folder due to some driver files that were still in use on their PC. To find and remove those files you will need to do the following:
- Locate the driver files that cannot be deleted in the Windows.old directory. Usually, they are SurfaceAccessoryDevice.sys, SurfaceCapacitiveHomeButton.sys, SurfaceDisplayCalibration.sys and SurfacePenDriver.sys. Please note that these driver files may be different on your PC.
- After finding the problematic drivers, you need to disable the corresponding devices from Device Manager. To do this, press the Windows key + X and choose Device Manager from the list.
- When you open Device Manager, look for devices related to those drivers. After finding the problematic device, right-click and select Disable.
- After disabling all problematic devices, try deleting Windows.old again.
- After removing the Windows.old folder, re-enable the deactivated devices.
Apparently, this problem will appear on Surface devices, but if you experience this problem on your PC, feel free to try this solution.
Solution 6 – Delete Windows.old using the Linux Live CD
If you can’t delete the Windows.old folder from your PC, consider using a Linux Live CD. The Windows.old folder is protected by your system and to eliminate it you need to change certain privileges.
Obtaining the necessary privileges may not be easy for non-expert users and if you want to delete the Windows.old folder without changing the privileges, it is advisable to consider using a Linux Live CD.
- Just download any version of Linux and create a bootable media. Then, boot the PC from a bootable media. After starting Linux, locate and delete the Windows.old folder.
- After deleting the folder, remove the boot media and restart the PC.
As you can see, the Windows.old folder is extremely useful because it allows you to restore your PC after an update in case something goes wrong.
Using the Windows.old folder you can restore documents and some other files even with the new version of Windows installed.
If you are concerned about storage space, you can delete the Windows.old folder using the Disk Cleanup tool or by following any other solution in this article.
I hope you now understand what the Windows.old folder is and whether to delete it in Windows 10 or not. If you have further questions, leave them in the comments section below.