Some users have the windows.old folder and some don’t. Why? The folder in question is only present on computers which have been upgraded from a previous version of Windows, starting from Windows Vista. In a case you have installed a new operating system from scratch, you won’t have this folder.
What it contains and does it have a purpose?
First of all, a windows.old folder contains all the information and the data from your old Windows operating system (most likely Windows 8). You can find and restore all files, check the applications and system files. Basically, this is a complete operating system you used before the upgrade.
It must be mentioned that even the private files are stored in this folder, so act with caution.
The sole purpose of this folder is to allow to the users a complete OS restoration. For example, if you are not satisfied with a new Windows, all you have to do is a downgrade and you will get back to your old operating system. All the files, apps and etc. will be present. This feature has been implemented by Windows developers who wanted to help users get back to old, well-known operating system, due to major modifications.
How to delete windows.old folder?
Deleting the folder in question is quite possible and easy. But, if you try to delete it like a conventional file/folder, you will get an error message. Bypassing this message by modifying the folder permissions is possible, but there is an easier way. Keep in mind that this folder may be deleted by Windows itself, in which case you will notice more of a free space on the hard drive.
One of the biggest reasons why users want to delete this folder is space. It usually occupies around 12 GB of space, if your previous operating system hasn’t been loaded with files and software. If it was, you are expecting around 25GB of wasted space. So yes, deleting the folder actually has a few advantages. To delete it, you will have to follow these steps.
- Open Windows Disk Cleanup tool (click start and search Disk Cleanup)
- Now you can see Clean up system files button
- Check the Previous Windows installation option (here you can see how much space windows.old folder occupies)
- Optionally, you can enable other options, such as temporary files, Temporary Windows Installation files and etc.)
- Confirm the action
- Restart the computer
Windows Disk Cleanup tool is a simple software which allows you to clean the hard drive by removing unnecessary files. Due to the fact windows.old folder doesn’t have a purpose in a new operating system, the tool will remove it. On average, you will need 2-3 minutes to complete the task.
The final word
Windows.old folder is only used to help you downgrade your operating system and get the previous installation up and running once again. If you are certain that you don’t need this, you are free to delete the folder. If you still have any doubts about the new Windows, leave the folder a bit longer.