What is Windows.old Folder? Should You Delete It?

February 24, 2016

Should you delete or keep the Windows.old folder after upgrading to Windows 10/8/7? Learn how to manage Windows.old folder properly.

What is the Windows.old folder?

If you upgrade your computer to a new version of Windows, Windows doesn’t just remove everything of your previous installation of Windows. Instead, Windows keeps them in a folder named Windows.old on the root directory of your system drive (C: drive). If something is not right or you just cannot get used to the new operating system (OS), you can use the Windows.old folder to downgrade Windows 10 to old Windows system. While using the new system, you might find out that there are some of your personal files that are not copied to the corresponding folder. With this folder, you can move your files from C:\Windows.old to the equivalent location. This is a great move of Microsoft because it gives you an extra layer of protection while reinstalling Windows. However, this folder consume a lot of disk space of your C: drive since it contains the entire installation of old system. As the folder has essential system files, Windows won’t allow you to delete the folder in File Explorer. If you really want to free up disk space by getting rid of the Windows.old, there is a way to delete it without causing any troubles.

How to remove Windows.old folder safely?

If you are so content with the current upgrade that you will never want to go back to the previous version of Windows, you can delete the Windows.old folder to free up disk space on the C: drive. To reclaim the storage space now by deleting the folder, follow the steps below:

Step 1: Type “disk cleanup” in the Windows search box, then select Disk Cleanup in the search results.

Step 2: In the pop out window, select C: to clean up and click “OK”.

Select Drive C

Step3: Wait till the Disk Cleanup for (C :) are open. Then Click the "Clean up system files" option.

Clean System Files

Step 4: Check the "Previous Windows installation(s)" option and click “OK” it start the disk cleanup. You can also select other files to delete by checking the relative boxes.

Delete Windows Old

If you are now running Windows 10, you don’t have to worry about it consuming disk space for too long as Windows 10 will automatically delete Windows.old folder in 30 days after the upgrade.

How to keep Windows.old folder?

As you know, Windows will automatically delete the Windows.old in Windows 10 after the upgrade for a month. For those people who are using Windows 10, you can copy or backup the Windows.old folder to another location if you want to keep it much longer. To back up the folder, you can use a free Windows backup software, AOMEI Backupper Standard.

To back up a folder with AOMEI Backupper:

1. Download, install and open the free Windows backup software.

2. Click “Backup” tab, and choose “File Backup”.

File Backup

3. Click “Step 1” and then “Add Folder” to include the Windows.old folder in the backup. You can also select other folders and files as well.

Add Folder

4. Click "Step 2” to choose a backup target location to save the image backup file.

Select Location

5. Click “Start Backup” to start the backup process.

Without even disturbing you from using the computer, the program will complete the Windows.old folder backup in the background. Additionally, you can also use AOMEI Backupper to synchronize folders to other location. Besides, this freeware has many other useful features, such as System Clone, Dissimilar hardware restore, PXE Boot tool.