If you have upgraded from Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 to Windows 8, you may find that you have a large Windows.old folder on your system. You can also get the Windows.old folder if you eventually upgrade your Windows 8 computer. Finally, if you do a custom installation of Windows 8 and don’t format a partition that already had a previous Windows installation on, you will have a Windows folder .old.
Fortunately, you can delete this Windows.old folder without any problem. On my system, which was a Windows 7 update, the Windows.old folder was almost 15GB. Since I have a 120GB SSD, that’s a significant amount of space. In this article, I will show you how to delete a folder from the system.
I previously wrote about how to delete the Windows.old folder in Windows 7 The procedure is slightly different and I also mention the second way to do it in this post.
The easiest way to delete the Windows.old folder is to use the Disk Cleanup tool in Windows 8. To do this, open the charms bar and click the search icon. Enter “Cleaning” and click “Settings”.
Then click Free up disk space by deleting unnecessary files. This will load Disk Cleanup in Windows 8. Click Clean up system files.
Another dialog box will appear where you can select previous Windows installations.
Click OK and then click Delete Files in the pop-up window. At this point, Disk Cleanup will begin removing previous Windows installations.
Command line with elevated privileges
High command prompt
Another way to delete a folder is to go to the command line. First, you need to open a command prompt as administrator. You can do this by going to the Start screen, right-clicking and selecting All Apps, then right-clicking Command Prompt and choosing Run as Administrator.
At the command prompt, you just need to enter the following command:
RD / S / Q% SystemDrive% windows.old
Note that you may have more than one previous installation, in which case you might see Windows.old.000. You can remove other installations using the same command and changing the name by adding .000.
Also make sure to go to the Windows.old folder and copy over any files you might need from a previous installation. Once you delete it, you won’t be able to recover any of your files, so make sure you don’t need anything before deleting it.
Bonus: if you can’t delete the Windows.old folder while in Windows, you can also try booting using system recovery options and opening Command Prompt there. It basically allows you to interact with Windows without actually starting Windows. Therefore, if the Windows.old folder is locked by some process, you can still delete it.
Read my previous post on how to boot into Windows 8 System Recovery Options Once there, click on Troubleshoot, Advanced Options and then Command Prompt. Then just enter the same command mentioned above to delete the Windows.old folder. I hope you don’t have any problems here. Enjoy!