How to delete the Windows.old folder in Windows 10 (2 ways)

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 do this with the help of a tool that's already built-into Microsoft Windows 10.

The two methods on this page are the best and safest ways to delete the Windows.old folder.

But first.

What is the Windows.old folder?

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

Microsoft Windows will create this folder during an upgrade of Microsoft Windows to a newer version, like, for example, an upgrade from Windows 8 to Windows 10, or an upgrade from Windows 10 to a new version.

The purpose of the Windows.old folder is to allow you to go back to a previous version of Microsoft Windows.

This folder can take up a lot of disk space.

It is safe to delete this folder.

Windows will automatically delete this folder after 30 days.

However, if you want to free up disk space now and you are happy with the currently installed version of Windows 10, you can delete the Windows.old folder yourself using a utility already built into Windows 10.

Keep in mind that if you delete this folder, you cannot go back to the previous version of Microsoft Windows, unless you download and install Windows 10 again.

Deleting the Windows.old folder cannot be undone.

So if you are not sure about the current version of Windows 10, I would not delete the folder until you are absolutely sure about the current version of Windows 10.

You cannot just delete this folder as you do with regular folders and files, but you must use a tool called Disk Cleanup.

This tool is built into Microsoft Windows by default.

With the Windows Disk Cleanup tool, you can safely delete all kinds of files from your PC.

In the steps below, I will show you step by step how to use this tool to delete the Windows.old folder.

And now.

How to delete the Windows.old folder in Windows 10 (method 1)

Note: Deleting the Windows.old folder cannot be undone.

1. Click on the start menu button.

2. Click on Settings.

Open settings in Windows 10

Or right-click on the start menu button and then click on Settings.

Open settings in Windows 10

3. Click on System.

4. Click on Storage in the left menu.

Open Storage settings in Windows 10

5. Click on Temporary files.

Windows will now search for temporary files that can be deleted.

6. Check the checkbox next to Previous Windows installation(s).

7. You can also check other files you want to delete.

8. Click on the Remove files button.

Windows will now delete the Windows.old folder and all other selected files.

This process may take a while. And sometimes it seems like nothing is happening. But you must let the program complete the process.

How to delete the Windows.old folder in Windows 10 (method 2)

Note: Deleting the Windows.old folder cannot be undone.

1. Type disk cleanup in the the Windows search bar and then click on Disk Cleanup.

Open Disk Cleanup in Windows 10

Or click on the start menu button > Windows Administrative Tools > Disk Cleanup.

Open Disk Cleanup in Windows 10

Or you open File Exlorer > This PC > right-click on Local Disk (C:) > Properties > Disk Cleanup.

Open Disk Cleanup in Windows 10

2. If a “Disk Cleanup: Drive Selection” window appears, you select the Windows drive (usually it's the (C:) drive), and then click on the OK button. This window appears when you have more than one partition or hard drive.

Disk Cleaup Drive selection

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

A “Disk Cleanup” window will appear.

3. Click on the Clean up system files button.

Disk Cleanup Clean up system files button

4. If a “Disk Cleanup: Drive Selection” window appears again, you select the Windows drive, and then click on the OK button.

Disk Cleaup Drive selection

Disk Cleanup will calculate again how much disk space you will be able to free on your drive.

A “Disk Cleanup” window will appear.

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

6. You can also check other files you want to delete.

Delete Windows.old folder in Windows 10 using Disk Cleanup

7. Click on the OK button.

A small confirmation window will appear.

8. Click on the Delete Files button.

Windows will now delete the Windows.old folder and all other selected files.

This process may take a while. And sometimes it seems like nothing is happening. But you must let the program complete the process.


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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