After updating or reinstalling, old Windows files can be placed in the Windows.old folder on the C: drive. This is great if you need to get old files back, but the folder itself can take up too much space on your hard drive. This folder cannot be deleted like the others, but Windows has a utility that allows you to do this quickly.
Step 1. Before deleting the folder
Windows.old , copy all the necessary files from it.
The Windows.old folder contains files and settings from a previous version of Windows. Be sure to copy any files you want to your current Users folder before deleting it.
- Open the This / My Computer window from the Start menu. Windows 8 users can simply press ⊞ Win + E.
- Double click on the drive where the operating system is installed. Typically, this is the C: drive.
- Double click on the Windows.old folder.
- Double-click the Users folder, and then open the folder of the user whose files you want to extract.
- Copy and paste the required files into the current Users folder (Documents, Pictures, Videos, etc.). Files can also be moved to the desktop.
Step 2. Run the Disk Cleanup utility
This utility will help you automatically delete the Windows.old folder. It can be launched in several ways.
- Press ⊞ Win + R, type cleanmgr and press ↵ Enter.
- Open Control Panel, select "System and Security" and then "Administrative Tools". Select the Disk Cleanup utility from the list that appears.
Step 3. Specify the drive containing the folder
Windows.old. Typically, this is the C: drive.
Step 4. Wait while the utility scans the disk
This may take a few minutes.
Step 5. Click the button
Clean up system files. You may be asked for an administrator password.
Step 6. If necessary, select the drive again
The utility will scan the disk again.
Step 7. Check the "Previous Windows installations" option
If you want, check the other types of files that you want to delete.
Step 8. Click
OK to delete the folder Windows.old. Click Delete Files to confirm deletion.
Step 1. I can't delete the folder
Windows.old when I move it to the Trash.
The Windows.old folder is protected from deletion, so if you try to move it to the Trash or delete it via the context menu with the right mouse button, an error message will appear on the screen. Instead, follow the above steps and delete that folder completely.
Step 2. Disk Cleanup did not delete the folder
Windows.old. This can happen when there are multiple such folders, such as the Windows.old.000 folder.
- Run Command Prompt as administrator. To do this, open the "Start" menu, right-click on the Command Prompt and select "Run as administrator". Windows 8 users can right-click on the Start button and select Command Prompt (Admin).
- Type RD / S / Q% SystemDrive% \ windows.old and press ↵ Enter. The Windows.old folder will be immediately deleted.
- Repeat the procedure for all other Windows.old folders. For example, to delete the Windows.old.000 folder, type RD / S / Q% SystemDrive% \ windows.old.000 and press ↵ Enter.
- Close Command Prompt.