If you’ve recently reinstalled Windows, or upgraded to a newer version, for example from Windows 7 to Windows 10, you may have come across a folder labelled Windows.old. It’ll likely take up a pretty huge amount of space – and given its name, you may be wondering if it’s safe to delete it.
The simple answer is yes, it’s safe to delete it.
However, unlike most other folders, you can’t just click on it and select Delete – it’s protected by Windows itself, as it contains files on older versions of Windows that you had installed. That doesn’t mean that you can’t get rid of it though – you just have to use a tool to do so.
The tool in question is the Windows Disk Clean-up tool. To launch it, press the Windows key on your keyboard or click on the start button on your taskbar, then type Disk Clean-up and press enter.
You’ll be asked to select which of your drives you want to clean up – select the one named Windows.
Tip: You may not be prompted to select a drive if you only have one installed – if so, simply continue to the next step!
Wait a few seconds and a new window will pop up – one where you can select what you want to clean up here.
Scroll until you find an option labelled Previous Windows Installation(s) and make sure the box next to it is ticked. Other than that one, you can leave the other options as they are – the tool auto-selects the best things to remove so you don’t have to!
When you’re ready, click on Ok, and Disk Clean-up will get rid of the unnecessary files for you. It will simply close, so when it’s done, you can continue using your computer as normal.
Tip: The Windows.old folder will be deleted automatically after a month – so, if you don’t want to delete it yourself, Windows will eventually free up the space for you!