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How to Delete Windows.old Folder in Windows 11 [Step by Step]


Are you looking to increase some storage in your device by wiping out some unused files, especially the previous windows installation files?

If yes, then you are in the right place.

Previous Windows Installation files are files that were utilized during the installation or upgrade of new Windows but are no longer needed later on.

The Previous WIndows Installation Folder/Windows.old allocates around 15-25 GB of Disk Space depending on the device usage, previous windows version, and files stored.

size of windows.old folder in c-drive in windows 11
Estimated Size of windows.old folder

By the end of this article, you will be able to:

– When to delete windows.old folder and when not to.

– Remove previous windows.old folder ( or, Windows Installations).

– Pros and Cons of Deleting windows.old folder.


When the windows.old folder is deleted, the device can no longer be rolled back to the previous OS.

You should delete the windows.old folder only if you have been using Windows 11 for a while and updated the Windows version at least once.

If you delete the windows.old folder too soon, you may run into problems since the system can’t be rolled back to Windows 10 if there are compatibility concerns.

It is recommended to avoid deleting windows.old folder immediately after installation of Windows 11.

This helps to ensure that Windows is stable even after updates.


Step #1: Go to the ‘This PC’ app on your device.

You can enable ‘This PC’ app or use File Explorer alternatively.

"This PC" icon in Windows 11
“This PC” icon

Step #2: All the Drives will be visible on your screen. Select the Main Drive, usually Local C-Drive (C:), in most of the PCs unless you have manually changed the name.

open main local c-drive to locate windows.old folder
Open Main Drive

Step #3: Press the Delete key or Shift + Delete Key Combination to delete the folder and bypass recycle bin, remember that these files can be recovered using file restoration software.

delete windows.old in windows 11
Delete Windows.old folder

Step #1: Search for ‘Disk Cleanup’ in Start Menu and run it as an administrator.

disk cleanup app icon in windows 11
Disk Cleanup App Icon

Step #2: Check the “Windows Update Cleanup” option, “Windows Upgrade Log Files” option, and ‘Previous Windows Installation’ option and press ‘OK’ button.

select the windows update cleanup, windows upgrade log files, previous windows installation options
Selecting the files to be deleted

Step #1: Go to Windows Settings App.

windows setting app in windows 11
Windows Settings App

Step #2: Select the ‘System’ option from the left sidebar/navigation pane.

system option in left sidebar in windows settings
System Option

Step #3: Select the ‘Storage’ option.

select storage option in system settings in windows 11
Storage Option

Step #4: Toggle on the ‘Storage Sense’ option.

toggle on storage sense option in windows 11
Toggle on the Storage Sense option

Whenever Storage Sense will scan your device, the windows.old folder will be deleted automatically.

You can lose your personal data if storage sense is not configured properly. You can refer to an article for the proper configuration of storage sense.


Free up Storage

The windows.old folder consumes about 15-25 GB of storage depending on the previous windows versions, old stored files, configurations, etc. So, deleting the windows.old folder can save a lot of space from the device.

Possible Virus Removal

If your old Windows version possessed any virus, then there is a possibility that the virus is present in the windows.old folder as well. So, removing the windows.old folder will remove the virus as well.

Unable to Restore Files in Previous Windows

If you selected to delete all the files while upgrading to the new version of Windows, then the files will be stored in windows.old folder, and if you want to restore the files, you can do so. But, after deleting the windows.old folder it is not possible to restore the old files.

Unable to Roll Back to Previous Windows Version

The windows.old folder hold all the previous windows installation files and they play a major role to roll back Windows to its previous version. If the folder is deleted, it will not be possible to recover the previous version of windows.


How do I restore the system from windows.old folder?

To recover windows.old folder, go to Windows Settings > Update & Security > Recovery > Under “Go Back to Windows “Version”, select “Get Started” button.

This option will be available for 28 days only as stated by Microsoft in their article about retrieving files from windows.old folder. Once this time phase is passed, you can no longer recover the files from windows.old folder.

How to restore files from windows.old folder?

To restore files from windows.old folder, go to “This PC” > Main Local Disk Drive (in some cases, recovery drive) > open “windows.old folder” > copy files to restore > paste files on your latest windows.

Is it safe to delete windows.old folder in Windows 11?

Yes, it is safe to delete windows.old folder in Windows 11. The main purpose of windows.old folder is to restore the system to the previous version of the Operating System if the latest OS doesn’t work properly due to misconfiguration, system incompatibility, or any other errors.


Conclusion

So, after weighing the benefits and drawbacks, and when to delete windows.old folder and when not to, you may decide whether to delete windows.old or not.

We’ve addressed 3 methods to delete windows.old folder in Windows 11.

Overall we have covered the following points:

#1: When to delete windows.old Folder and when not to.

#2: 3 Methods to remove windows.old Folder in Windows 11.

#3: Pros and Cons of deleting previous windows installation.

#4: Common questions regarding deletion of windows.old Folder.

Let’s sum up the Methods that we used:

#1: Delete windows.old folder using “This PC”.

#2: Clean windows.old folder using Disk Cleanup.

#3: Remove windows.old Folder using Storage Sense.


Related Articles

Permanently Remove Files in Windows 11 – The Ctrl + Shift + Delete Key Combination doesn’t actually delete files permanently, the files can be restored using any restoration software. So we have explained the proper way to remove files/folders permanently from the device without any 3rd party software.

Update Drivers in Windows 11 – Interested to improve the device’s performance and security? Upgrade the drivers of your device safely by referring to our detailed article.

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