Windows.old is a folder that is automatically created by your system every time an upgrade of the OS or a minor patch update is done. The folder will contain all the files and folders along with the software you have installed on your computer both on your account or on a guest account on your computer.
The aim of the Windows.old folder creation by your system is to ensure that if incase something goes wrong while the system is performing an update like an interruption in your internet connectivity, power failure or any other hardware reasons, it will help you to roll back to the stable state your system was in right before the update process was initiated.
While most of the time there won’t be any major issue while a system update is taking place and there won’t be frequent updates for normal users, people who have signed up for the Windows insiders program available from Windows 10 might get updates at least once a day. This means that Windows.old folder will be created on their computers every time a preview build is released by Microsoft.
The concept of Windows.old might sound safe and a reliable way to ensure that you are not stuck in an unstable build of Windows. But, if you are someone with a computer that has a very little hard drive space, then you might have faced the situation where you constantly keep getting disk full messages from Windows.
Fortunately, you could save tens of gigabytes of data by permanently removing the Windows.old folder from your computer. However, this is not as easy as selecting the folder and then using Shift+Delete to permanently delete it from your system.
Because, as you might have guessed a lot of files and folders present inside this Windows.old folder are system files and according to your computer they are necessary to run your system even though they are already available in the main Windows folder.
So, if you want to save some extra space without having to delete your favourite games or software, here is how you can do it by deleting the Windows.old folder from the C Drive of your system.
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How To Remove Windows.old Folder From The C Drive On Windows 10
Open the Windows File Explorer on your computer and then search for ‘disk cleanup’ using the search bar at the top right corner of the Window.
Once the search is complete, double click on the Disk cleanup shortcut icon at the top to launch the cleanup activity.
A window will now pop up asking you to select the drive to cleanup. Just select the drive from the drop down list where the Windows.old folder is located on your computer and then click on Ok to proceed.
The Disk cleanup utility will now begin to scan for all the folder and files on the drive you have selected that are capable of being removed from your system.
Based on the size of the selected drive, the scanning time might vary. So wait till the scan is completed to proceed to the next step.
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Once the scanning is complete, a new window will now pop up asking you to select what kind of files and folders you want to perform the cleanup on.
Scroll down until you find the Previous Windows Installation(s) option and then select it. If you want to save a little more space you can also proceed to select other options like Temporary files and Recycle bin.
Once you have selected all the options to be cleaned up just click on Ok to initiate the Disk cleanup process.
Again, based on the size of the Windows.old folder and the processing speed of your computer, the disk cleanup process might take some time to complete.
Once the process is completed, you can notice that a significant amount of storage on the C drive of your computer has been retrieved.
By default, your computer will automatically remove the Windows.old folder from the C drive after 1 month of no updates. However, if you don’t want to wait that longer or you just want to install a new software or a game but you are out of storage space then you can proceed to permanently remove the Windows.old folder from your computer by following the above steps.
If you worry that you might need the contents of the folder sometime in the future, feel free to copy the entire Windows.old and then save it to a separate drive on your PC or an external hard drive.