About Windows.old folder
When you perform a refresh, upgrade or a custom install of Windows on the same partition as the previous Windows installation without doing a clean install, then Windows Setup will save a copy of the previous versions in the Windows.old folder automatically. This is part of the safety mechanism in case the process goes wrong.
This folder may take up a sizeable amount of space as it contains systems files, programs, user account’s settings and folders and so on. If there is an error during the operation, or if you are not satisfied with the current version, you can use it to restore system to the old version of Windows.
By default, Windows.old folder won’t be deleted automatically until 10 days later. In fact, many users can't wait that long because their computer is working correctly and they want to safely delete Windows.old folder in Windows 10 to reclaim gigabytes of space.
How to delete the space-hogging Windows.old folder?
Although Windows.old won’t be deleted in Windows 10 immediately, users can remove this folder manually. Here are three efficient methods for your reference.
Fix 1. Delete Windows.old with Disk Cleanup
Step 1. Press Windows logo key + R to open Run dialog. Type cleanmgr and then click OK to open Disk Cleanup.
Step 2. If you have more than one drive or partition on your computer, then select C: drive and click OK.
Step 3. Click Clean up system files and repeat step 2 above.
Step 4. Check the Previous Windows installation(s) box and then click OK.
Step 5. Click Delete Files to confirm.
Step 6. Click the Yes button to confirm the warning.
Step 7. When Disk Cleanup finishes, the Windows.old folder will be deleted.
All contents in the Windows.old folder will be erased after performing Disk Cleanup. If you have the files you need in this folder, you’d better backup files to an external hard drive in advance.
If you can't delete Windows.old via this method, try next solution.
Fix 2. Erase Windows.old via Command Prompt
Step 1. Press Windows logo key + X. Then select Command Prompt (Admin) from the list.
Step 2. Type the commands below into the Command Prompt one at a time and press Enter after each command.
takeown /F "C:\Windows.old" /A /R /D Y
icacls "C:\Windows.old" /grant *S-1-5-32-544:F /T /C /Q
RD /S /Q "C:\Windows.old"
Step 3. When finished, you can close the window if you like.
Care must be taken to use this solution as serious problems will occur if you make a mistake in the process. If you can’t remove Windows.old by using this solution, turn to the next way.
Fix 3. Remove Windows.old with Storage sense settings
Step 1. Type Settings in the Search box (in the lower left corner of your computer) and then open it.
Step 2 Click System and Storage subsequently.
Step 3. Click Change how we free up space automatically.
Step 4. Choose the Delete previous version of Windows option. Then click Clean now.
Now, you can use these methods to deal with the problem that Windows.old won’t be deleted. However, after you delete this folder, it also means that you can't go back to the previous version when system crash and other computer issues occur. At this moment, you’d better backup system just in case.
Best way to backup your crucial data
AOMEI Backupper Standard gives you many advanced options when creating a system image and it runs smoothly on Windows 10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP. To save time, the related system partitions will be selected by default in the process of system backup. Besides, it also works well as schedule backup software.
To save disk space, this backup utility provides the function of compression to the image file. With incremental and differential backup, you are allowed to backup changes only. What’s more, it enables you to backup to external/internal hard drives, cloud drives, NAS devices, and network, etc.
Above all, it is completely free to use and download without any restrictions. Now, let’s learn how to backup your system.
Step 1. Install and run this backup utility.
Step 2. Click System Backup under Backup tab.
Step 3. Change the Task Name as you please. The related system partitions are selected by default in Step 1. Then select a destination path (here is D:\) in Step 2.
Step 4. Confirm your operations and then click Start Backup.
AOMEI Backupper Professional has a feature of backup encryption that can be used to prevent unauthorized access. To use this feature, you can go Backup Options ﹥ General ﹥ Enable encryption for backups in Step 4.
Schedule means the program will backup your system automatically. If you check it in Step 4, you can set up an automatic backup based on Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Event triggers, USB plug in or Real-time Sync. The last three modes require you to upgrade to the advanced edition.
If you choose Scheme (in paid version) in Step 4, your older backups will be deleted automatically.
Go Home ﹥ the System Backup task ﹥ Restore to restore system later.
Are you still troubled by this problem that Windows.old won’t be deleted? If so, try practical methods mentioned in this tutorial. After doing this, don’t forget to backup your system as creating system backups with AOMEI Backupper Standard is very easy and simple. If you are a Windows Server user, AOMEI Backupper Server is highly recommended.