How to delete the Windows.old folder in Windows 10 (properly)

This tutorial will show you step by step how to delete the Windows.old folder in Windows 10 without using third-party software.

You can remove this folder properly and safely by using the Windows “Disk Cleanup” tool, which is already built-in Windows 10.

On this page, you will also find frequently asked questions and answers about the Windows.old folder.

But first:

Frequently asked questions and answers about the Windows.old folder

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What is the Windows.old folder?

The Windows.old folder is a folder that contains the previous version(s) of Windows installation(s).

Windows will create this folder after an upgrade to another version of Windows, like for example; upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10, or an upgrade from Windows 10 Fall Creators Update to Windows 10 April 2018 Update.

What is the purpose of the Windows.old folder?

The purpose of the Windows.old folder is to allow you to downgrade to a previous version of Windows, like for example; downgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 7, or downgrading from Windows 10 April 2018 Update to Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.

Is it safe to delete the Windows.old folder?

Yes, it is safe to delete the Windows.old folder. However, you should keep in mind that after deleting this folder, you will no longer be able to downgrade to a previous version of Windows.

Is it safe to delete “Previous Windows installation(s)”?

Yes, it is safe to delete “Previous Windows installation(s)”. However, you should keep in mind that after deleting previous Windows installation(s), you will no longer be able to downgrade to a previous version of Windows.

Can I delete the Windows.old folder in Windows 10?

Yes, you can delete the Windows.old folder in Windows 10, but you should use the Windows Disk Cleanup tool for that. And you should keep in mind that after deleting this folder, you will no longer be able to downgrade to a previous version of Windows 10, like for example; downgrade from Windows 10 April 2018 Update to Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.

Windows.old not in Disk Cleanup?

The Windows.old folder is not showing in Disk Cleanup because it's called “Previous Windows installation(s)” in Disk Cleanup. And if you cannot find “Previous Windows installation(s)” either, then you should click on the Clean up system files button in Disk Cleanup. It is also possible that the Windows.old folder is already deleted automatically because Windows automatically removes this folder one month after you upgraded.

Where is the Windows.old folder in Windows 10?

You can find the Windows.old folder located underneath the Windows folder on the (C:) drive (the drive where Windows 10 is installed).

How to delete the Windows.old folder in Windows 10

1. Open the Windows “Disk Cleanup” tool.

Three ways to open this tool:

2. If the Disk Cleanup: Drive Selection window appears, you select the Windows drive (usually it's the (c:) drive) and click on OK.

Windows will now calculate how much disk space you will be able to free on your drive.

3. Click on the Clean up system files button.

4. If the Disk Cleanup: Drive Selection window appears again, you select the Windows drive (usually it's the (c:) drive) and click on OK.

Windows will calculate how much disk space you will be able to free on your drive.

5. Check the box next to Previous Windows installation(s).

6. Click on OK.

7. Click on Delete Files.

Disk Cleanup will now safely delete the Windows.old folder in Windows 10.


References:

CNET: How to delete the Windows.old folder from Windows 10

HowToGeek: What is the Windows.old Folder and how do you delete it?

WindowsCentral: How to delete the Windows.old folder on Windows 10