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Hyder Abbass

Windows 12 2k

If you have installed Windows 10 recently, you have probably noticed that there is a folder called Windows.old on your primary partition. What is it exactly? Why is it taking a huge amount of space on my Hard disk? Can I delete Windows.old folder? If yes, how do I delete it?

Those are the questions I have been getting lately via emails from my faithful readers 🙂 . Let’s find out what this mysterious file called ‘Windows.old’ is all about.

What is Windows.folder?

If you have just upgraded to Windows 10 or did a custom install on the same partition as your previous Windows version, your Windows will automatically create a Windows.old folder. In case you already had a Windows.old before upgrading, then your current Windows version will be backed up and renamed to C:\Windows.old.000 in addition to the Windows.old folder.

The Windows.old folder is simply a copy of the previous Windows installed on your machine. As such it contains your drivers, program files, user settings and pretty much everything else that usually goes within the Windows folder.

Windows 10 keep this folder just in case something went wrong during the upgrade process, or if it happens that you noticed that your hardware is running slow after the upgrade and needs to rollback to its previous version.

Is it safe to delete Windows.old folder?

It depends. In case you have just upgraded and still playing around to make sure your hardware and software are running smoothly as before, it’s wiser to keep it – better safe than sorry.

However, you should not wait too long to decide – a month after your installation, Windows 10 will automatically delete it for you without any notification.

If you think you won’t need to downgrade to Windows 10 anytime soon and go back to your previous Windows version, then feel free to delete the Windows.old folder.

I have personally deleted mine after the upgrade since I was in serious shortage of free disk space. The Windows.old folder can easily consume 15 GB or more space. If you are in the same boat, then feel free to remove it.

How to delete Windows.old folder?

Deleting this folder is really easy! In most of the cases, you will just need to right-click and select delete. However, it can get a little trickier sometimes – you might run into permission-related errors. If this is the case, you should delete the Windows.old folder using the built-in Disk Cleanup utility.

  • From your desktop, click on Windows Search (yes, the magnifying glass icon) and type Disk Cleanup.

  • delete windows.old folder windows 10

  • Once you open it, you will be asked to select a drive. Normally, it should be the C:\ drive. Then click Ok
  • The Disk cleanup utility will now search for ‘debris’ on your computer. Once the search is completed, You should see Previous Windows installation(s) in the list of files that can be deleted.

  • If you are not able to see it, you might need to click on Clean up System files first.

    Disk cleanup windows.old folder

  • Once you have selected it, click ok. You will be prompted to confirm the deletion. Click on Delete Files. This should do the trick now!

Drop me a comment below if you have any issues or questions regarding the Windows.old folder. I’ll be happy to help!


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Adam's photo


Sunday, January 10th, 2016

My Windows.old folder was as big as 20 GB! Good riddance!
Peter.Smitch's photo


Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

I have just upgrade from Windows 8 to Windows 10 and I got the windows.old folder. I hope it's safe to delete too on the new OS!
Lisa's photo


Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

Hey, I also have this weird windows.old folder on my computer although I'm not using Windows 8. It seems that previous windows version also had that 'windows.old' folder.
Saad's photo


Monday, June 2nd, 2014

You can delete it via command line. I don't know the exact command but you will definitely find it on Google.
Saad's photo


Monday, June 2nd, 2014

Yes, it is possible to rollback by using the windows.old folder. More details here:
ruirib's photo


Friday, May 30th, 2014

I have mistakenly re installed Windows 8 on my PC when I only wanted to do a Windows repair. Now, I have a Windows.old onm y drive C:. Is it possible to revert back to my previous Windows version or atleast recover my files? Any help will be much appreciated. Thank you.
faisalnazir's photo


Friday, May 30th, 2014

Hey thanks for this cool tip. I managed to free up almost 3 GB of space on my Hard disk.
Mary's photo


Friday, May 30th, 2014

I really messed up my current Windows version. I had like to recover my documents from my Windows.old folder? If yes, how? Thanks.
John's photo


Friday, May 30th, 2014

I'm unable to delete the Windows.old folder by using the disk clean up utility. Any idea why? I'm getting a permission denied error.
hayderabbass's photo


Thursday, May 29th, 2014

Glad it was helpful to you!
Loub's photo


Thursday, May 29th, 2014

Hi hayder. Thanks for this tip. My antivirus found something suspicious within the windows.old folder. I was not sure what to do exactly before reading your article.
hayderabbass's photo


Thursday, May 29th, 2014

Hi hayder. Thanks for this tip. My antivirus found something suspicious within the windows.old folder. I was not sure what to do exactly before reading your article.