By AOMEI / Last Updated October 12, 2020

About Windows.old folder

After upgrading from an old version of Windows to another, you have a Windows.old folder automatically created on your computer. It is a folder that contains all of the operating system files and personal data files of your previous version of Windows. If you do not like the new Windows version, you can restore from Windows.old folder.

What can you do with Windows.old folder?

Windows.old folder is quite useful for retrieving your old systems. Besides, if you’re looking for a specific file which wasn’t properly copied to your new Windows installation or mistakenly deleted, you can also go to the Windows.old folder and find it.

Next, I will show you how to downgrade the previous system and how to restore a specific from Windows.old folder.

Downgrade to the previous version

It’s easy to downgrade from new version to older version with Windows.old. For example, you have upgraded to Windows 10, go head to Settings > Update & Security > Recovery, you’ll see a “Get Started” button under “Go back to Windows 7” or “Go back to Windows 8.1”.

Click this button and Windows will restore your old Windows operating system, using the Windows.old folder as the source. At last, follow the wizard and finish the work.

Restore from Windows.old

Restore an individual file

If you need to recover individual files from your old Windows installation, you can recover them from the Windows.old folder. You can access the Windows.old folder at C:\Windows.old, and browsing your file system. Your personal files will be located under C:\Windows.old\Users\your_name.

Open the folders that contain the files you want to retrieve.

Copy and paste the files that you want.

Be attention, Windows.old folder will be deleted automatically by Windows to free up space after 30 days. If you want to break the 30 days limits, you can backup Windows.old folder to another location.

Also, the Windows.old folder can take up a large chunk of space on your computer. After you backup Windows.old folder, or users who have system backup or those don't expect a system rollback can simply delete the folder to free disk space after a successful Windows 10 upgrade.

Can you restore programs from Windows.old?

Some people may have the query: after restoring from Windows.old, why the programs are missing. How to restore programs from Windows.old? Actually, this is the limitation of Windows.old folder, it is for Data retrieval, not Program retrieval. You can't restore programs or settings using Windows.old. All you can really do is recover your data. The programs have to be reinstalled.

Here is a pertinent advice from the people who already upgrade Windows: take it easy when you want to upgrade to a new Windows version. You’d better create an image backup before upgrading so that you can retrieve your previous versions whenever you want.

If you need to restore programs, you have to make an image of programs.

Restore system and programs with system image backup

If you did not back up your Windows.old folder, what can do you do if you want to restore systems and programs after 30 days? If you have created a system image backup of older version with Windows built-in tool, thing will be much easier.

Go to Backup and Restore and find your backup and click Restore my file. This operation will bring you back to the older version.

Restore system and programs with a third party tool

AOMEI Backupper Pro is a professional backup and restore software. You can backup system, disk, partition, files and folder with this software. And you can restore system, disk, partition,files and folders with the image backup created by AOMEI Backupper whenever you want.

If you want to restore individual files in an image file, the function of selective file restore can play a very important role. And with AOMEI Backupper, you can restore system and programs easily.

To restore system and programs, you must create a system image backup with AOMEI Backupper. Suppose you already have one. Let’s see how to restore with AOMEI Backupper.

Download AOMEI Backupper and open it. It has a 30-day free trial.

Step 1. Click Restore and Select Task to find the backup task you want to restore.

Select Task

Step 2. Select the system backup task and click Next.

Select Backup Image

Step 3. Select to restore the entire backup or a part and click Next.

Restore Entire Backup

Step 4. Preview the Operation Summary. Check the Universal Restore box and click on Start Restore.

Universal Restore

With the system image backup created by AOMEI Backupper, you can break the 30 days limitation of restoring from Windows.old and restore to the previous version whenever you want.

If you want to go backup to the older version, and you did not backup system in advance, nor back up your Windows.old folder, you still have one choice: do a clean install, although it is complex and time-consuming, anyhow, there is no other choice.

At last, a piece of advice for those who intend to upgrade Windows: Before upgrading, creating a backup is always a wise decision.

Tips: If you want to protect unlimited computers within your company, you can pick AOMEI Backupper Technician. With the inbuilt AOMEI Image Deploy tool, you are also allowed to deploy/restore system image file on server-side computer to multiple client-side computers over network.