You might have noticed a folder on your PC called “Windows.old” and it is consuming a huge amount of storage space. You may or may not be aware of this folder but this folder is created when you upgrade to a new version of Windows from an older one and choose to keep your previous files and settings. All of the previous files and settings are in Windows.old folder.
Whenever you upgrade to a new version of Windows, i.e. from Windows 8 to Windows 10 then you will see this folder created in the C drive of your PC. You can delete this folder any time you want to in case you’re running out of storage and want to free up some space but deleting this folder is different from deleting a normal folder.
This isn’t a new feature but had been available in previous versions of Windows. However, before Windows 10 this folder was available only when you purchased a new version of the Windows and then updated your PC.
This feature was introduced with Windows Vista and after Windows Vista, every Windows has this feature. This Windows.old folder has all the files, folders, and data of your previous Windows.
If you don’t like the new version of the Windows or are just not getting familiar with it and want to switch back to the previous version then you can do so if you have the Windows.old folder available on your PC. Along with switching back to the older version, you can also move files and folders from Windows.old folder to your new Windows if you need them. This folder is just sitting there in case you want to downgrade back to the previous version of the Windows, so you have an option available.
Keep in mind that this folder won’t be sitting on your hard drive for a long time. Windows automatically deletes the Windows.old folder after a month or so to free up storage space.
Why Windows.old folder is useful?
Windows.old folder is useful for a couple of reasons:
- First, it lets you downgrade to the previous version of Windows. For instance, if you upgraded from Windows 7 to Windows 10 but didn’t like Windows 10 then you will have the option to downgrade to the previous version of Windows and continue from where you left. But remember, this downgrade option is available for a month only, and after that Windows deletes this folder automatically to free up space. So, you have a month to either get familiar with the new version of the Windows or downgrade to the previous version.
- Secondly, if you upgraded to a new version of Windows and want to recover any file or folder from the previous Windows installation then you can easily do it. Just open the Windows.old folder, locate the file/folder and move it to your new Windows installation.
- Also, it doesn’t stay on your hard drive permanently and gets removed automatically within a month after you upgrade. So, you have ample time to consider using the current version or downgrade to the previous version and also not worry about this folder consuming the space permanently.
How to delete Windows.old folder?
This folder can consume a huge amount of space in the case of some users where the previous installation and data was very much. In some instances, it can consume up to 20-25 GB of storage space on your hard drive depending on the previous Windows installation.
This file will be deleted automatically after a month but if you want to clear the storage space for now then you can simply delete it right now and free up the storage space.
As mentioned earlier, deleting this folder is not the same as deleting an ordinary folder. When you will try to delete this folder just like a normal folder than you will receive an error.
Here is how you can delete Windows.old folder:
- Click on Start and in the search box type “Disk Cleanup” and open the Disk Cleanup utility.
- Now, click on the Clean up system files button.
- Here you will see a checkbox for Previous Windows installation(s) under Files to delete. You can see the storage space Windows.old folder was consuming.
- Mark the Previous Windows installation(s) checkbox and ………
- You can also use this utility to delete any other unnecessary file.
- Once all of this is done, you will notice that the Windows.old folder has disappeared from your hard drive.
- There is no harm in deleting the Windows.old folder and it won’t cause any issues.