What is Windows.old Folder and How Can You Delete It?


Have you upgraded from Windows 7 or 8 to Windows 10? Didn’t do a clean install? Then it might have left you with a huge sized folder which occupied a lot of space on your disk.

Recently I upgraded my old PC from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10. After an update, it left behind Windows.old folder of size 16GB. We all know how much important it is to optimize space in our disks and 16GB is not what we can turn our eyes off from. So, let’s understand what is Windows.old folder and what is its purpose.

What is Windows.old Folder?

Upgrading Windows is a very simple task, just download the updates and leave it for installation in system’s hand. But, it has few drawbacks, it saves everything of the previous operating system. So, in case you might not like your new operating system then you can roll back it anytime.

Also, there is a possibility of occurring an error during the update. So, it is always good to have a backup of your old operating system. So, in a case of any wrong turn, you can recover your old OS back.

While updating, Windows saves your files from the old operating system and also the OS itself in a folder. It is basically named as Windows.old. It basically contains- installation files, user files, program files and other data. You can even recover your files from the old operating system from this folder.

You can see an option named “go back to windows 7 or 8” under Recovery depending upon your previous version of Windows.

Note: Keep in mind this option only be available for a month. After that Windows 10 automatically deletes Windows.old folder and free up space.

Before proceeding further, I would recommend you to only delete this folder if you seriously need to claim your space back. Keeping this folder isn’t going to harm you anyway, it is always beneficial.

How to Delete Windows.old Folder?

There are a lot of ways to delete your Windows.old folder. Here I have explained few of them, they are very simple and easy to perform.

Method 1: Using Disk Cleanup Tool

  • Go to start menu and search for- disk cleanup.
  • Click on Disk Cleanup utility, it will start.
  • Select the drive in which your OS is installed or in the drive which contains Windows.old folder and click Ok.
  • It usually takes some time to scan, after scanning it will show the list of files which you can delete to free up the disk space.
  • Find and check the box which says “Previous Windows Installation”.

How to delete Windows.old folder?

  • Now click on Ok.

It will delete the Windows.old folder successfully. But the might be a case where previous Windows installation option might not be visible or available to you. In that case, you can use this 2nd method.

Method 2: Using Command Prompt

  • Press Win key + X and select Command Prompt(Admin) or you can do it in any other way, just make sure to start a command prompt in administrator mode.
  • Now, in command prompt type:
    takeown /F C:\Windows.old\* /R /A

    and hit enter.

How to delete Windows.old folder using cmd

  • Next, type:
    cacls C:\Windows.old\*.* /T /grant administrators:F

    it will ask for confirmation type Y then hit enter. When you run this command, all rights for the files and folder will be assigned to the administrator.

How to delete Windows.old folder using cmd

  • Now, finally type:
    rmdir /S /Q C:\windows.old\

    and hit enter, this command will now delete the Windows.old folder successfully.

How to delete Windows.old folder using cmd

If you find the above methods difficult then you can use the method below.

Method 3: Using Third-Party Software

Basically Windows.old folder is protected folder. It requires a certain amount of rights to make changes in it so it cannot be deleted easily. But, there are lots of Softwares available in the market which can help you in deleting undeletable files.

Unlocker is one of many Softwares which can help you in deletion of such files. But, it will take a lot of time to delete such a huge folder. EaseUS Partition Master is also another good software which can help you in easy deletion of this folder. It is fast, easy to use and we would certainly recommend you using it.

If you know any other Softwares that you have used and would recommend to others, be sure to write them down in the comment section below. You can also write your doubts and questions in the comment section below.

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