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How to removed windows.old?

Discussion in 'Windows 10 Help' started by xero, Nov 12, 2017.

  1. xero

    xero Established Techie7 Member

    I have just updated both my computers to the fall update of Windows 10. This has left each with a folder called Windows.old. These folders are quite large and hard to delete, I tried Eraser on one machine and it took 12 hours to delete most of Windows.old.
    What is a quick and efficient way to delete these folders without being asked for permission by SYSTEM and others?
  2. nukecad

    nukecad Established Techie7 Member

    After a version update of Windows the folder Windows.old contains the system files for the previously installed version of Windows.
    It is used if you want to roll back a version if the newly installed version has problems.
    Deleting it means that this option to roll back is no longer available.
    It can however free up space if you are short.

    As it's full of system files a lot of these are protected from normal deletion.

    Windows built in 'Disk Clean-up' utility is the safest and easiest way to remove Windows.old.

    • Start Menu > applications > Windows Admistrative Tools > Disk Clean-up.
      (Tip- Open the start menu and start typing 'Disk Clean-up' - not in any box, just start typing with the start menu open).
      (This gives a very fast search for any programme/app you are looking for, or any file/folder for that matter).
    • Launch Disk Clean-up and Click OK to scan the drive, wait for the scan to finish.
    • In the dialogue box that comes up Click on 'Clean up system files,' then OK, OK, to scan the drive again for system files to clean.
    • In the new dialogue make sure that 'Previous Windows installation(s)' is ticked and then click OK.

    It can take a while to clear, but we are talking 20-30 mins, not hours.

    Warning- Some third party cleaners can delete Windows.old sucessfully if your Windows version is below Windows 10.
    Since Windows 10 some of these third party cleaners have problems, don't delete it sucessfully, and have even 'broken' Windows completely when trying to delete Windows.old.
    The advice is - With Windows 10 only ever use Disk Clean-up to delete Windows.old.
  3. xero

    xero Established Techie7 Member

    Hi nukecad,

    Thanks, that worked very nicely.:)
  4. Digerati

    Digerati Super Moderator Techie7 Moderator

    For future reference, windows.old folders are automatically deleted after 30 days.
  5. xero

    xero Established Techie7 Member

    Thanks Digerati, that is nice to know. I will bear it in mind for the future.:)
  6. Digerati

    Digerati Super Moderator Techie7 Moderator

    Its there if things go badly and you have to roll back. 30 days is plenty to make sure all is good. Unless free disk space is very limited, I recommend just leaving it.