Have you discovered a mysterious (and very heavy) folder called Windows.old on your PC? Although it is impossible to send it to the Recycle Bin in the traditional way, it is possible to erase it. Of course, it is advisable to take some precautions. Here we explain how to do it correctly.
Whether you just switched to Windows 10 or if you already had it and you have installed an important update, you may have noticed that your hard drive is slower than usual. Typically, the person in charge is the Windows update process itself, which saves a copy of all the files from the previous installation and stores them in a special folder called Windows. old, located at the root of the C drive.
What is Windows.old?
When you migrate from a previous version of Windows (such as Windows 7 or 8.1) to Windows 10, a folder that basically contains all your old operating system is automatically created. It can be useful in case you have problems with the update or simply do not like the new version of Windows. Otherwise, this folder will be uselessly occupying precious space on your hard drive (usually weighing between 10 and 25 GB).
If you want to recover it, you have two options: wait for 30 days to pass, the period after which Windows will automatically delete it, or get rid of it right now by following these steps.
How to delete Windows.old?
- Go to File Explorer> This computer and right-click on disk C. In the context menu that opens, click on Properties.
- Within the General tab, click Free space.
- In the new window, enter Clean system files.
- Mark Previous Windows Installations in the list and confirm by clicking OK.
- The Windows.old folder should have disappeared, freeing up a lot of space on your computer.
If, on the other hand, what you want is to return to the previous version of Windows, the first thing you should do is make sure you have enough space to continue with this operation.
- In File Explorer> This computer, right-click on disk C and select Properties.
- Repeat this operation with the Windows.old folder and verify that it is smaller than the available space on your C drive that we saw in the previous step.
If the folder appears empty, first verify that you have configured Windows to show hidden files and folders.
If it still appears empty even though all the files should be visible, it is probably because some program has deleted the contents of this directory without your authorization. In this case, you can try to recover the data.