If you have tried to update your Windows PC and it has failed several times for various annoying reasons, you probably realized that a large chunk of disk space is being taken up by a folder called Windows.old.
Windows.old is automatically created when installing Windows with a previous version of the OS already installed. It creates this Windows.old folder at the root of the Windows partition and retains the files and data from the previous operating system.
If you try to upgrade from Windows Vista to Windows 7 or Windows 7 to Windows 10 and it doesn’t help, you can always safely return to Windows Vista or 7. The only problem is that every time the installation fails in Windows.old another copy of the previous OS is copied.
So, if the update installation fails 2 or 3 times, the Windows.old folder can get very large and very fast! Also, the folder isn’t automatically deleted after you start a new version of Windows, so you’ll have to get rid of it yourself.
Note. Deleting the Windows.old folder will result in you being unable to revert to the previously installed OS. You will have to stick with the newer version of Windows. In addition, the Windows.old folder is created when you install these major Windows 10 updates that are released twice a year.
Remove the Windows.old folder
So how do you get rid of the folder? Well, you need to use the Disk Cleanup utility! Here’s how to do it. The first method describes how to delete the Windows.old folder in Windows 7/8/10. If you are still running Windows Vista, follow the second set of instructions.
Instructions for Windows 7/8/10
Windows 7/8/10 Help
If you’re on Windows 7/8/10 and want to delete the Windows.old folder, the process is pretty simple. First, open Disk Cleanup from the Start menu (click Start and type Disk Cleanup), and when the dialog box appears, select the disk containing the .old files and click OK. This is usually just drive C. If this is the only drive on your computer, it won’t even ask you to select.
The system will scan and another selection dialog will appear. Now click on the Clean up system files button at the bottom.
Now select the drive again that has the .old files. The system will perform a second scan of the files that need to be cleaned, and this will take a little longer.
Finally, a dialog box appears with another set of checkboxes. Scroll down until you find one that says “Older Windows Versions” or “Previous Windows Installations” and click “OK.”
As you can see, previous installations of Windows usually took up quite a lot of data.
Windows Vista instructions
Windows Vista Help
Click Start, then All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, and then Disk Cleanup. Be sure to right-click Disk Cleanup and select Run as Administrator.
In the Disk Cleanup Options dialog box, select the Files from all users on this computer check box.
Then, in the Disk Cleanup – Select Disk dialog box, click the hard drive that contains the Windows.old folder and click OK. The system will then scan the disk for unnecessary files.
Click the Disk Cleanup tab and find the Previous Windows Installations check box. Check it out and click OK. Then click “Delete Files” when prompted.
This is it! This should save you space-consuming old folders forever! If you have any problems troubleshooting them, please leave a comment here and I will try to help. Enjoy!