Restore Files or Windows from Windows.old Folder in Windows 10

You will learn to restore files or Windows from Windows.old in Windows 10 as well as delete this folder for more space. Learn more below.


by Delia Updated on October 18, 2022

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What is Windows.old folder in Windows 10?

After upgrading from an old version of Windows to Windows 10 or refreshing or performing custom install , you will 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. And it will be deleted after 10 days or 30 days automatically to free up disk space for you.

Windows Old

If you do not like the new Windows version, you can restore Windows from Windows.old folder including the operating system, settings, personal files and programs.

Also, you can choose to only restore files from Windows.old folder in Windows 10 that wasn't properly copied to your new Windows installation or mistakenly deleted.

In addition, if you think the new version of Windows is fine or there is no important files, you can delete this folder. After all, the Windows.old folder can take up a large chunk of space (around 20GB) on your computer. 

Restore files from Windows.old in Windows 10

To recover individual files from your old Windows installation, you can use the following steps:

Step 1. Open file explorer in Windows 10. 

Step 2. Access the Windows.old folder at C:\Windows.old, and browsing your personal files located at C:\Windows.old\Users\your_name.

Step 3. Select the files or folders you want to move, right-click it and select "Copy".

Step 4. Then, go to the location where you want to store the files or folders, right-click the blank space and select "Paste".

Step 5. Repeat this step untill all the data are transferred. 

You may find that some important files are missing or have not been saved in the Windows.old folder while browing files in the Windows 10 file explorer, the reason may be that file transfers do not work correctly. 

This is a rare case, but if you don't want lose any important, it's suggested to backup files to prevent data loss during the transfer process.

And this folder will not remain on your computer for a long time, so you still need to backup Windows.old folder to a different location before the deadline. 

Restore Windows from Windows.old in Windows 10 

To downgrade Windows 10, you can follow the steps below:

Step 1. Go to "Settings" > "Update & Security" > "Recovery".

Step 2. Then, you’ll see several options, inluding Reset this PC, Go back to Windows 8.1(this depends on the previous version of your Windws), and other options. Scroll down to "Go back to Windows 8.1" section and click "Get started"

Restore from Windows.old

Step 3. Follow the wizard and finish the rest of steps to restore your old Windows operating system using the Windows.old folder.

Delete Windows.old folder to free up disk space

To delete Windows.old folder, you can try the following steps.

Step 1. Go to "File Explore" and right-click the system partition(usually C: drive). Then, select "Properties".

Step 2. Under the General tab, select "Disk Cleanup" option. 

Step 3. Click "Clean up system files".

Step 4. Then, you will see "Previous Windows Installation(s)", tick it and click "OK" to apply.

Useful tips: backup files right now to prevent data loss 

As mentioned earlier, there is a possibility that the Window.old folder will not include some important files of your previous Windows installation. And you will never know when you need to restore files from backup due to file corruption, virus attack, etc.

So, it's suggested to backup files from now on, preferably to set schedule automatic backups. It allows you to only backup changed files per day automatically or use a longer backup interval, which greatly reduce data loss.

To make it, you need a free backup software like AOMEI Backupper Standard. It allows you to backup system, disk, partition, files & folders and perform corresponding restoration operation, even selective file restore

This software works well with Windows 11/10/8/7/XP/Vista. So no matter which OS you're running, whether you're upgrading from 7 to 10 or 10 to 11, it's a good idea to make backup with it.

For instance, if you want to secure some important data, you can use File Backup; If you want to avoid system errors, you can use System Backup - thus even if you are not satisfied with a newly upgraded system, you can revert to the previous version easily.

Here's a detailed guide based on File Backup feature:

Step 1. Download and launch AOMEI Backupper Standard, you will see its deep-blue interface. Then, click "File Backup" under the Backup tab.

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File Backup

Note: To protect your system, you need to create a complete system image in Windows 10 with "System Backup" or backup entire disk with "Disk Backup".

Step 2. Click "Add File" or "Add Folder" according to your needs. Choose the file or folder you want to backup on the current computer.

Add File or Add Folder

Step 3. Select a different location to store the files or folder. You can backup files to external hard drive, NAS network location, or other locations as long as it can be detected by Windows.

Select Destination

Step 4. Click "Schedule"and set backup settings. The default options are daily incremental backup, but you can change it to weekly/monthly or use differential backup. 

Please note that the scheduled differential backup, even triggers and USB plug in are only available on the charged version, AOMEI Backupper Professional, for example.

Start Backup

Step 5. Click "Start Backup" to perform the scheduled file backup task. Wait until the process completes, and you will have an exact copy of files you want to backup. Then, you can use it to restore files from backup as needed.

💛 Other features you may need:

👉 You can also restore files using Explore Image feature under the Tools tab. It allows you to restore specified files even from a system/disk image. 

Explore Image

👉 It's suggested to create a bootable disc with CD/DVD or USB drive, which allows you to boot computer when it's unbootable.

👉 If you have an AOMEI account, you are able to backup files to AOMEI Cloud. It offers you 1TB free storage for 15 days after you sign up for an AOMEI account.


FAQs: Restore from Windows.old folder 

1. Can I restore programs from Windows.old?

The answer is No, you cannot restore programs or settings from this folder. It is for data retrieval, not program retrieval. Thus, you need to reinstall programs you will use in the near future.  

2. Is Windows old automatically deleted?

Yes, this operation will be executed 30 days after you upgrade, refresh or custom install. Thus, if you are not sure there is any important, please backup the entire folder or specific folders in advance.

3. Can I restore Windows 7 from Windows 10?

Of course, with the help of Windows.old folder, you can restore Windows 7 from Windows 10 using "Go back to Windows 7" feature in the Recovery settings. The premise is that your previous operating system is Windows 7 instead of Windows 8 or 8.1.

The way forward

For restore from Windows.old, you can restore specific files or entire Windows. Also, you can choose to delete it as long as you make sure all the important data are transferred to new Windows successfully.

In addition, please remember to make an exact copy of files on your current computer with a free backup software like AOMEI Backupper Standard. Only in this way, you don't have to worry about data loss owing to any error. Also, it's suggested to create a system image in Windows 10 or other system. 

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.

Delia · Editor
Delia owns extensive experience in writing technology-related blog posts, and has been a part of AOMEI since 2020 to provide expertise in data security and disaster recovery. She works with Windows operating systems, SQL databases, and virtualization platforms such as VMware and Hyper-V, specializing in troubleshooting and advising on data protection and migration.