What Is Windows.old Folder And How To Remove It

We will be discussing the following points in this post:

  • What is the Windows.old Folder ?
  • What is Included in Windows.old?
  • How To Remove The Windows.old Folder?

What is the Windows.old Folder ?

You might have seen the Windows.old folder in your C drive, this is because you have probably performed an upgrade or custom installation of Windows 7 or Vista, in either case your old Windows folder is renamed to Windows.old. This is done so that you can copy files from the old installation, should you need them.

Windows Old

The typical reasons for the presence of this folder are:

  • You install Windows Vista/Windows 7 via upgrade on a machine which was running on older version of  Windows especially Microsoft Windows Vista/XP/2000.
  • You perform a custom installation of Windows Vista or Windows 7 instead of an upgrade installation.

What Is Included In Windows.old ?

The following sub folders are present in the Windows.old folder.


  • Windows
  • Documents and Settings
  • Program Files

How To Remove The Windows.old Folder ?

Once you are pretty sure that you no longer need any data from Windows.old then it would be a wise decision to remove it, to conserve disk space. Here is an easy way to remove it.

Right-click the C drive or any other drive where Windows is installed, select Properties, and hit the Disk Cleanup button to launch the Disk Clean Up utility.

In order to remove Windows.Old, check  the Previous Windows installation(s) option and hit OK.

Previous Windows Installations

It’s that simple. Removing the previous Windows installation can save you quite a large amount of hard disk space, as you can see in the screenshot above, the old windows installation was taking 9Gb.

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  • http://www.Jonnysblog.com/ JonnysBlog

    Real nice article… I bet there are tons of people with this situation of an old install taking up space.

  • http://www.Jonnysblog.com/ JonnysBlog

    Real nice article… I bet there are tons of people with this situation of an old install taking up space.

  • http://www.Jonnysblog.com/ JonnysBlog

    Real nice article… I bet there are tons of people with this situation of an old install taking up space.

  • mark

    Bit of a fairytale as the “Previous Windows Installation(s)” option does not exist in that location on my machines.

    • Sdh6054

      Mine wasn’t there either, until I clicked the “Clean up system files” button.

      • Richard Kuefler

        Mine is still not showing up

  • sml156

    If you upgrade from windows XP to Windows 7 I don't think one is craeted

  • Jim E

    Great article and it gave me back 70 gig. Thanks heaps.

  • Weird

    I was admired with the existence of this folder in my machine.
    And still dont understande why it was there.

    I did a complete new install of Windows 7. I even formated the machine before installing it.

  • Guitarian

    I have been trying to recover some of my BootCamp drive space since I upgraded from XP to Windows 7. After screwing around with various non-working “fixes” I found this page. I got back 27gb on a 75gb drive. Thanks So Much!

  • Anonymous

    So that’s where all my disk space was going… I knew something wasn’t right.

  • Renan Mazzarolo

    Instalei o windows 8 por cima do 7 e não consigo deletar a pasta Windows.old, alguém também está com este mesmo problema? Alguém pode me ajudar?
    Obrigado.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tautvis.Daunys Tautvydas Kazkoks

    wow tnx a lot u just saved me 263 gb ! out of 465

  • proctech

    Great article. JJust cleared up 108GB for me!!

  • sachin

    thanks i saved my 23 gb

  • groovechild

    It’s amazing what information you can find on the net if you take the time to look. This post gave me back 108 Gigs from 230 Gigs. A BIG THANK YOU

  • Jackson

    omg mine was 300GB!!!

  • Bill

    Thanks saved 70gb

  • KoalaZub

    The simplest and most direct article I have read in quite some time. I’m not a very big fan of Microsoft’s overuse with backwards compatibility.