Windows.old Folder is exactly what it claims to be and is automatically created by the operating system for an important reason.
What is Windows.old Folder?
As the name suggestes, the purpose of Windows.old folder is to store files related to previous versions of Windows operating system on the computer.
When you install updates or upgrade the computer from an older version of Windows to new, previous Windows installation files are moved to Windows.old folder.
Windows.old folder is also created when you perform a clean installation of Windows 10 or Windows 11, without formatting the drive containing a previous installation of Windows OS.
This precautionary feature in Windows operating system is designed to allow users to switch back to the previous version of Windows, if the latest version is not working properly.
Is it Safe to Delete Windows.old Folder?
Since, Windows.old folder contains files from previous version of operating system, it can be deleted if your computer is running without any problems, after a Windows update.
In-fact, Windows OS provides the option to set your computer to automatically delete previous Windows installation files from Windows.old folder, 30 days after installing a Windows update.
Hence, it makes total sense to clear Windows.old folder and prevent previous Windows Installation files from taking up storage space on your computer.
Note: If you remove previous Windows installation files, you won’t be able to downgrade to previous version of Windows (which hopefully won’t be required).
1. Delete Windows.old Files Using Disk Cleanup
You can manually delete previous Windows installation files located in Windows.old folder by using the Disk Cleanup utility as available on your computer.
1. Click on Start button > type Disk Cleanup in the Search bar > right-click on Disk Cleanup App and click on Run as Administrator.
2. When prompted, enter your Admin Password and wait for Windows to calculate the amount of storage space that can be saved on your computer.
3. On the next screen, select Previous Windows Installations and click on OK.
4. Patiently wait for the selected files to be deleted from your computer.
2. Delete Windows.old files using Command Prompt
If you like using the the Command Prompt, you can follow the steps below to delete previous Windows installation files located on your computer in Windows.old folder.
1. Type CMD in the Search bar > right-click on Command Prompt in the search results and select Run as Administrator option.
2. On the Command Prompt window, type RD /S /Q %SystemDrive%\windows.old and press the Enter key on the Keyboard of your computer.
3. Wait for this command to be completed and you get to the next prompt.
Note: It usually takes a few minutes to complete this command. Do not close the Command prompt window until you get to the next prompt.
3. Automatically Delete Windows.old Files Using Storage Sense
If the “Storage Sense” feature is enabled on the computer, the Previous Windows Installations will be automatically removed from the computer after 10 days.
1. Open Settings > click on the System tab.
2. On System Settings screen, click on Storage in the left-pane. In the right-pane. click on Configure Storage Sense or run it now.
3. On the next screen, scroll down the list and select Delete previous versions of Windows option and click on Clean now button.
Wait for Storage Sense to remove all the files related to the previous Windows installation from your computer.