How to Delete windows.old

The Windows.old folder takes up valuable disk space after a Windows upgrade. This will release the folder. Old Windows files are saved as windows.old files and eat a lot of storage space. We will show you how to delete the file. After upgrading from Windows 7 or a major update, Windows 10 will automatically save the outdated version of Windows for a while as a backup. This will allow you to undo an update within 10 days of installation.

How to Delete windows.old

The old Windows files are stored in the windows.old directory. In itself, this is a good backup of Windows . However, it also brings with it a disadvantage: The old Windows files can take a lot of space . Therefore, you can manually delete the windows.old directory even before the automatic cleanup – at least if you are sure that you no longer need the files.

Delete windows.old

Note: For the regular user, this method works very well. But using a Windows Inside build does not work. With an inside build you get updates in advance from Windows, which may not be fully developed yet and therefore have not yet been distributed to the large amount. In such a case, a cleanup program, such as MoveOnBoot, can help.

Delete Windows.old directory

Step 1:

Use the shortcuts [Windows key] + [E] to open the Explorer. Select the section ” This PC “. Then right-click on the hard disk containing your Windows system files. Normally this is marked with a small Windows symbol .

Step 2:

Now select ” Properties ” in the menu.

Step 3:

In the “General” tab, click ” Clean up “.

Step 4:

Then select the ” Clean up system files ” button . You may need to enter your admin password now. As a rule, this corresponds to the normal password for your Windows user.

Step 5:

Now a list of system components to be cleaned up will be created. This may take a while.
Once the list is done, you should only check ” Previous Windows installation (s) “. Remove the other hooks. You may find that the old Windows files may take up some space.

Click ” OK ” to delete the obsolete files. Attention: Perform this step only if you are really sure that you no longer need the old Windows files.

quick start Guide

  1. Open Windows Explorer with the key combination [Windows] + [E] . Then click on the ” This PC ” section on the left .
  2. Select the hard disk on which your Windows system is installed. Click with the right mouse buttonon it.
  3. Then click on ” Properties “.
  4. Now a new window opens. Here you have to click on the ” Clean ” button in the already selected ” General ” tab .
  5. Then select ” Clean up system files “. You may also need to enter your admin ID. Normally this corresponds to your user data for the computer. This step may take some time.
  6. After a while, a list of the files to be cleaned up appears in the ” Disk Cleanup ” tab . Just check this box under ” Previous Windows Installation (s) ” to remove the windows.old files.
  7. Then click ” OK ” to start the cleanup.
    Attention: Do this only if you are sure that you no longer need your old Windows 10 files. Once the process is complete, the old versions of Windows 10 are deleted from your computer and the memory is freed up.

Windows.old: How to Delete the System Folder Correctly

When changing to a new version of Windows, the Windows installation routine automatically moves the previously used Windows version, including programs and settings, into the system folder named windows.old. This folder can contain many gigabytes of data and it is not possible to simply delete it in Explorer.

Even when upgrading from Windows 7 or Windows 8 to Windows 10, the folder windows.old is created. After some time has passed, you should consider whether the folder is really needed.

Some reasons for deleting windows.old:

  • You are absolutely satisfied with Windows 10 and do not plan to switch back
  • There are now 10 days (previously: 30 days) since switching to Windows 10 past and a direct return to the directly before used Windows version via the built-in Windows 10 rollback function is no longer possible.
  • In any case, you regularly schedule a complete backup of the system drive and can use it at any time to restore the system.
  • All personal documents and settings were taken over from the previous version of Windows correctly to Windows 10.

To remove the windows.old folder:

  • Start the Explorer (Windows key + E)
  • Right-click on the icon of the hard disk on which Windows is installed. In the context menu select “Properties”.
  • In the new window, click on “Clean” in the “General” tab.
  • Windows now determines if and which files can be deleted from the hard disk. This can take some time.
  • In the window “Data Cleanup” click on the button “Clean up system files” in the bottom left corner.
  • Windows will again determine if and which system files can be deleted from the hard disk. This too can take a while.
  • Important in the window “Data Cleanup” is the entry “Previous Windows Installation (s)”, which means the directory windows.old. Directly to the right, you can see how much hard disk space is freed during a cleanup.
  • Decide now whether and which other check marks should be set under “data cleansing”.
  • Note: Now consider again whether you want to delete Windows.old – the following step is at your own risk.

After clicking on “Ok” the desired cleaning of the hard disk is carried out.

Delete Windows.old for major Windows 10 updates

The windows.old folder is also used when you switch to a new, larger version within Windows 10. For example, when updating from Windows 10 April 2018 Update (released in spring 2018) to the most recent Windows 10 October 2018 update. Also in this scenario, you can return to the previous version within 10 days should any problems arise.

With Settings -> Update & Security and Recovery you can return to the former, working Windows 10 version. This only works as long as the Windows.old folder and its contents still exist. In other words, after a major Windows 10 update, you should not touch the Windows.old folder. It would be better to wait a few days to see if any errors still occur or if the system suddenly becomes unstable.

Alternatively, you can also initiate the restore as follows, if there are problems: Hold down the Shift key on the keyboard and then click on the Start button at the bottom left. Here you select the entry “Restart” (while still holding the shift key). After restarting, you will land in safe mode and can switch to the previous Windows 10 version via the advanced options.

By the way, in safe mode you can completely delete the Windows.old folder even after the 10 days have elapsed, if files have been left after the method described above.

Delete Windows.old – Explanation in advance

With factory-new PCs one comes with windows.old not in contact. The folder appears when you reinstall Windows – and forget to remove the old system.

If Windows does not work satisfactorily due to a malware or bug, reinstalling is the most effective antidote. If you start your PC for this purpose from an installation medium (DVD or stick), it is possible in the course of the new setup under Drive Options (extended)Format and / or delete the hard disk area with the compromised operating system. If you do not want to do this and simply select the partition with existing Windows, you create the folder windows.old.

It contains a backup copy of the system that will overwrite you during the reinstallation. If you forget to create a data backup, you may be happy about this automatic.

The windows.old folder is also created when you perform an upgrade installation: Microsoft distributes a major Windows 10 update twice a year, called a feature update (technically correct: feature upgrade). Since a complete upgrade installation takes place each time, the backup copy of the old Windows 10 will be backed up.

In this respect you lose – until deleting the folder – regularly many gigabytes of free memory. Folder backup restores the previous operating system. With Windows 10, this works through the Settings app; Regardless of the operating system, you can do this with considerable additional effort via Windows boot media and some command line commands.

windows.old is the result of even more upgrade constellations – for example, if you upgrade Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 via ISO.

Delete the Windows.old folder : Method 2

In the Windows.old folder, Windows saves the old operating system when you upgrade to Windows 10. You can find out how to delete this folder, for example to free up more memory, in this practical tip.

To delete your Windows.old folder, just follow the steps below:

  1. Attention: If you delete your Windows.old folder, you can no longer downgrade to your old Windows version.
  2. Open the settings with [Windows] + [I].
  3. Then click on “System”.
  4. Select “Memory” then “This PC (C :)” on the right.
  5. Under the item “Temporary files” you can now delete the Windows.old folder.
  6. To do this, click on “Delete previous version”.
  7. If you miss this point, see the next paragraph.

Windows.old will be automatically deleted after a certain amount of time

If the item “Delete previous version” is not on your screen, the Windows.old folder is probably already deleted automatically:

  • The Windows.old folder is automatically deleted after 28 days.


How to Delete windows.old
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