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Windows 10 | How to delete the Windows.old Folder

Posted in How-to Guides, and Windows


If you have Windows 10 installed you may be aware that the first big update for Microsoft’s latest operating system has just been made available.  What is essentially a service pack, Windows 10 Pro, version 1511, 10586 (pictured above) will require a sizable chunk of hard drive space in order to be installed and what’s worse is that once the installation is complete, a new folder called Windows.old will be lurking beneath the normal Windows directory in the C:\ drive.  The Windows.old folder uses about 15Gb of additional space and can’t be deleted by conventional means as Windows considers the contents to be system files.  There is really no need for this folder (it’s basically a copy of your old operating system files) so I’m going to show you how to get rid of it, or at the very least empty it.

Windows 10 retains a copy of your old system files after upgrading to version 1511, 10586.

Step 1Locate ‘Clear disk space by deleting unnecessary files’, typing “free up disk space” should allow the option to populate in ‘Search’.


Step 2The Disk Cleanup box will prompt you to select the drive you want to clean, by default it should be set to C:\ drive.


Step 3Select ‘Clean up system files’.


Step 4The Disk Cleanup box will pop-up once again, click ‘OK’, at the next screen and ensure that ‘Previous Windows Installation(s)’ is selected and click ‘OK’ again.

The only reason mine is showing as 216KB is due to having completed this deletion prior to this how-to guide, in actuality the folder is around 15.5Gb.

Step 5Click ‘Delete Files’ when prompted to do so and then click ‘Yes’ on the next screen to confirm your decision.



The contents of the Windows.old folder have now been deleted but oddly enough the empty directory remains visible and I couldn’t remove it.  However, the Windows.old folder will reportedly be removed automatically after a month. While that remains to be seen, there’s nothing stopping you from making the empty folder hidden in the meantime.



  1. Byron Adriaanse
    Byron Adriaanse

    Very good find brad! Especially for someone like me that’s always running low on disk space.

    Looking forward for more of your posts.

    November 20, 2015
    • Bradley

      Hi Byron,

      Thanks very much for the comment, I’m glad you found this post useful 🙂

      November 20, 2015

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