How To Delete Windows.Old Folder on Windows 10 & Windows 11

When you upgrade your computer to a newer version of Windows 11/10 or install a preview build, the system automatically saves a copy of the previous version in the “Windows.old” folder that contains all the files and folders from your previous OS. It is part of the safety mechanism; if the upgrade process goes wrong, the system can use Windows.old folder to undo the changes. 

Although this is a handy feature, this system folder can hog a ton of space and may contribute to your computer’s lackluster performance. If this is the case or your computer is working perfectly after the upgrade, we suggest you delete it to reclaim gigabytes of space. Here’s how to delete Windows.old folder on Windows 10 and Windows 11

Note: Windows will automatically delete the Windows.old folder 30 days after you upgrade. 

How to delete Windows.old folder on Windows 10 / 11

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the different ways to get rid of Windows.old folder to free up some space on your hard drive to store more important files and documents. 

  • How to delete Windows.old folder manually on Windows 11
  • How to delete Windows.old folder using Temporary files settings
  • How to delete Windows.old folder using Storage sense settings
  • How to delete Windows.old folder using Disk Cleanup

Before you delete the Windows.old folder, check out our detailed guide on how to recover files from Windows.old folder.

How to delete Windows.old folder manually on Windows 11

If you have recently upgraded to Windows 11, you can use the steps below to delete Windows.old manually on Windows 11.

  1. Open File Explorer on your computer.
  2. On the left panel, click on This PC.
  3. Under the “Devices and drives” section, double-click the drive with the Windows 10 installation (usually the C: drive) to open the primary drive.
  4. Select and delete the Windows.old folder from the list by pressing the Delete key on your keyboard. 
  5. Now, click the Continue button to provide administrative access to delete the folder.
How to delete Windows.old folder manually on Windows 11

How to delete Windows.old folder using Temporary files settings

The easiest method to flush Windows.old folder from your computer is using the Temporary files settings with these steps:

  1. Open Settings on your PC/Laptop.
  2. Click on System and then click on Storage.
  3. Click the Free up space now option under the “Storage sense” section.
    How to delete Windows.old folder using Temporary files settings
  4. Check the Previous Windows installation(s) option under the “Remove temporary files” section.
    How to delete Windows.old folder
  5. (Optional) Clear the default selected options if you only want to remove the Windows.old folder to free up space.
  6. Click the Remove files button.

After completing the above steps, the Windows.old folder with the previous installation of Windows 10 will be removed, freeing up 15GB to 20GB of storage space on your primary hard drive.

How to delete Windows.old folder using Storage sense settings

Alternatively, using the Storage sense, you can delete Windows.old folder on Windows computer with these steps:

  1. Open Settings on your PC/Laptop.
  2. Click on System and then click on Storage.
  3. Under the “Storage sense” section, click the Change how we free up space automatically option.
    How to delete Windows.old folder using Storage sense settings
  4. Under the “Free up space now” section, check the Delete previous version of Windows option.
    How to delete Windows.old folder using Storage sense settings on Windows 11
  5. Click on the Clean now button.

Once you’ve completed the steps mentioned above, the Windows.old folder with the previous installation of Windows will no longer be available on your computer.

How to delete Windows.old folder using Disk Cleanup

You can also delete Windows.old folder using the legacy Disk Cleanup tool with these steps:

  1. Go to the Windows search bar. This is the magnifying glass icon on the left side of your taskbar, next to the Windows logo.
  2. Type Cleanup.
  3. Launch the Disk Cleanup app. 
  4. Now, click on the Cleanup system files button.
  5. Check the Previous Windows installation(s) option from the list.
  6. (Optional) If you only want to delete the Windows.old folder to free up some space on your drive, clear the default selected options.
  7. Click the OK button.
  8. Now, click on the Delete Files button to confirm the deletion.
  9. Next, click on the Yes button to confirm the warning.

Once you’ve completed the above steps, the Windows.old folder will be removed from your Windows computer.

Important Note: Starting with the October 2018 Update, Windows 10 is deprecating Disk Cleanup in favor of Storage sense, but it adds an option to delete all the contents from the Downloads folder. If you’re using this option and have important files in the Downloads folder, make sure to clear this option.

Conclusion

While it’s safe to delete Windows.old folder on a Windows computer, if you remove its files and contents, you will no longer be able to use the recovery options to roll back to the previous version of Windows 10/11. If you delete the folder and then you want to roll back, you’ll need to perform a clean installation with the desired version.

FAQs: Frequently Asked Question About Windows.old Folder

How do I restore the system from Windows.old folder?

To restore the system from Windows.old folder, Go to Settings > Update & Security > Recovery > Click the Get Started button to recover the Windows old folder.

For the first 28 days after installing a new Windows version, you can recover the system from Windows.old folder. After this time period has elapsed, you will no longer be able to restore the system from the Windows old folder.

How to restore files from Windows.old folder?

To restore files from Windows old folder, go to This PC > Main Local Disk Drive (in some cases, recovery drive) > Open windows.old folder > Copy files to restore > paste files on your latest windows.

If you installed Windows 10 using the upgrade process, or you went through a custom installation without deleting the main partition, then the setup will save a copy of your previous installation in Windows.old folder, which you can use to recover your missing files.

Is it safe to delete Windows old folder?

While it’s safe to delete the Windows.old folder unless you have no plans to revert to an earlier version of Windows. If you remove its contents, you will no longer be able to use the recovery options to roll back to the previous version of Windows. If you delete the .old folder, and then you want to rollback, you’ll need to perform a clean installation with the desired version.

How do I force delete Windows.old folder?

In order to force delete Windows.old folder on Windows via a Command Prompt at boot, follow the steps below:

1. Click on “Troubleshoot
2. Select “Advanced options
3. Click on “Command Prompt
4. Enter diskpart. In your Command Prompt window, type diskpart and press Enter.
5. Rum the list volume command.
6. Run the delete Windows.old command.

Can’t find Windows.old folder in Windows 10?

If you don’t see the Windows.old folder on Windows 10 computer, you may have upgraded using the clean installation process which erases everything on your computer. Or it’s been more than 10 days since you upgraded to Windows 10, in which case the system deletes these files automatically.