How to Delete Windows.Old from Your Computer the Right Way

by System Tweaks

With Windows updates or upgrades, you can end up with an extra folder in the root of your drive called Windows.old. Here’s how to delete Windows.old from your computer.

What is Windows.old?

It is a backup of all your previous Windows drive into a single Windows.old folder. It contains all your previous files, even the system files laid out exactly as you would see a normal operating system drive in its original file/folder structure.

Deleting the Windows.old folder

1. Open Windows File Explorer

Open Windows File Explorer by holding down the Windows key on your keyboard and tap ‘E’ then release the Windows key. Read here on how to open File Explorer if you need.

2. Open Disk Cleanup

open windows drive properties
open disk cleanup

Right-click on the ‘Local Disk (C:)’ drive in the left panel in the File Explorer. Left-click on ‘Properties and in the properties window, left-click on the ‘Disk Cleanup’ button.

3. Click on the Clean up system files button

open clean up system files
system file cleanup

Left-click on the ‘Clean up system files’ button and wait for the cleaning to complete.

4. Select and remove Windows.old

select cleanup windows installation files

Click the checkbox to the left of ‘Windows Update Cleanup’ to check it. Left-click on the ‘OK’ button to proceed with the removal.

You will be prompted with a confirmation window to make sure that you really want to delete the files. Left-click on the ‘Delete Files’ button to proceed.

After that, you will be warned that you won’t be able to restore your machine back to a previous version if you proceed. Confirm to complete the process by left-clicking on the ‘Yes’ button.

What is the purpose of the Windows.old folder?

With certain Windows updates, a full build upgrade is provided. All your files and folders get backed up into the Windows.old folder.

The newly downloaded update files are installed. Your apps and files are restored as it was before the upgrade.

The main purpose is to offer a safety net by providing a complete backup, in the event the upgrade fails or you wish to roll back to your previous version.

You can restore individual files from it by using Windows File Explorer to browse to it and open the folder to view its contents. From there, you can copy any files you want from it.


Deleting the Windows.old will free up some space on your drive, so it’s an obvious choice when wanting to free up some storage space on your computer.

Perhaps you are running low on disk space, or you want to remove the non-essentials. Either way, it’s always wise to keep your operating system drive free of excess clutter.

Marlo Strydom

Marlo is a full-time professional computer programmer, electronics engineer and computer technician. Computers are his passion and he loves to help anyone wanting to know more about them.