How to Delete the Windows.old Folder in Windows 10

  • MORE

When you upgrade from Windows 7 or 8.1 to Windows 10, the software retains a copy of your old operating system just in case you want to revert. However, if you decide that you're happy running Windows 10 and don't want to roll back, you're left with at least 15GB of wasted space on your hard drive, all of it stored in a folder called Windows.old. If you simply try to delete the Windows.old directory in File Explorer, the system won't let you remove most of the files because it considers them system files. 

windows.old

Deleting the Windows.old folder involves three basic actions:

  1. Search for and open the "Free up space..." utility.
  2. Click Cleanup System Files.
  3. Check Previous Windows Installations.

Step-by-Step Instructions with Screenshots

1. Type "Free up disk space" into the Windows search box.

free up disk space

2. Click the shortcut for "Free up disk space . . ."

free up disk space

3. Click OK. Change the drive if your Windows disk is not already selected. 

Click Ok

MORE: How to Turn on 'Hey Cortana' in Windows 10

4. Click Clean up system files.

Clean up system files

5. Click OK again when the drive letter is displayed. The Disk Cleanup window will appear again.

Click OK

6. Check "Previews Windows installation(s)" in the Files to delete box and Click OK.

Delete Windows versions

7. Click Delete Files when asked to confirm.

Click Delete Files

8. Click Yes when prompted to confirm your decision.

Click Yes

The software will take anywhere from 30 seconds to several minutes to delete the files.

How to Delete the Windows.old Folder in Windows 10

Author Bio
Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of Laptopmag.com since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master’s degree in English from NYU.
Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director on