Probably, almost everyone who monitors the free space on the system disk noticed an unusual directory windows old “000”, which usually weighs about 10 – 15 GB. Which is quite a lot if the amount of memory is limited, which is typical when using SSD drives when you have to monitor every free gigabyte.
And then the question appears, windows old – what is this folder, is it really needed or can it be deleted? This would free up a lot of space that can be used for very priority tasks. So, let’s look at this issue in more detail.
What the windows old EA folder contains & what it needs
All Windows files are contained in a folder called Windows and are contained on the C: disk. When you upgrade or reinstall the operating system without formatting the disk, Windows renames the existing Windows folder in Windows old leaving it in C: and creates a new Windows folder where it inserts files and folders of the new operating system.
The Windows old folder, therefore, contains everything you had in the Windows folder. Including files and folders of the old operating system, and including programs installed by you and personal data added by you over time (generally in archive folders of music files, images, videos, etc.).
Windows creates the Windows old folder for security, as a backup of the previous installation. The Windows old folder can be used to restore the previous operating system if something goes wrong during the installation of the new operating system, and to recover any personal data or programs that you kept in the old C: \ Windows folder (I’ll explain how in the recommendations below).
Why delete the Windows old folder
You will ask yourself: if the Windows old folder is a backup, why delete it?
Simple: this folder occupies many GB of disk space, generally from 15 to 20 GB, but also more up to 100 GB depending on the operating system and what the user kept. They are not a few!
When you are sure that your new operating system works well, and that you have moved what you possibly need from Windows old to the new Windows folder, you no longer need this folder, and you can proceed with its elimination to free up a lot of space on the disk.
Is it possible to delete the windows old folder?
So, what are the windows old? Usually, this folder appears after updating or clean installation of the OS and contains the old files and settings of the previous operating system. By default, it is located on a disk with an installed system and is not a critical directory and may be needed only if you decide to roll back the OS to a previous state. In all other cases, you can safely get rid of it.
Before Deleting the Windows old Folder
Remove the Windows old folder only after verifying that the new operating system is working properly. Usually, 1-2 months of use is enough to understand if there are problems in the new system or not.
once you delete the Windows old folder following the procedure that I explain below, its contents will no longer be recoverable. So before deleting it, save the files and folders you need.
Restoring personal data is also one of the first things to do when doing a system upgrade. You can use the Windows old folder to recover personal data in two ways:
- automatically with the Microsoft utility: here you will find the Microsoft utility (Microsoft Fix it 50582) for restoring personal data after a customized installation of Windows Vista or Windows 7. Here instead you find the utility to automatically retrieve personal files from the Windows old folder and copy them back to the original path in Windows 8;
- manually: simply check that the personal data and programs you need are present in the new Windows folder. Above all, check the user folders in C: \ Windows old \ Documents and settings and in C: \ Windows old \ Users and compare them with the corresponding new folders. If you are missing personal files or folders, simply move the folders you intend to save from Windows old to the same location in the new Windows folder. It is recommended that you move folders rather than individual files. Here however you will find more detailed instructions for manually recovering personal files from Windows .old in Windows Vista and 7, and instructions for manual recovery of personal files from Windows old in Windows 8.
if you are not sure that you have saved everything you need but want to free up space on your computer, you can simply copy the Windows old folder to an external hard disk (in this way you can always access its contents) and then proceed with its removal from the computer.
How to delete the windows old folder in Windows 10 and 8
There are several options for properly deleting the windows old folder using standard tools built into Windows 10 and 8. Let’s look at each of them. The first way is for users who have on board updates from 1803 – 1809 or newer.
Press the “WIN + X” combination and open the “Parameters” section.
Enter the System menu.
Scroll to the “Device memory” section and click on the blue “Free up space” text. Wait until the search for unnecessary objects is completed.
Activate the “Previous settings” option and click on the “Delete files” button at the top of the window.
Wait for the end of the procedure, and check the result.
If nothing has changed, then perhaps the user under whom you are in the system does not have enough rights. Then you should log in as an administrator and try again.
The second way is a cleaning agent
This method is the most universal, use it if the previous one did not suit you or did not bring a result. Detailed instructions:
Log in with administrator privileges.
Open “Computer” and right-click on the system partition, then select the “Properties” item.
Click on the “Disk Cleanup” button.
We activate the option “Previous settings” and click “OK”. In older versions of Windows 10, the previous settings item can be seen after clicking on the “Clear System” button.
We are waiting for the end of the procedure.
After that, the windows old folder will be completely deleted, or its volume will be reduced to zero.
The third way is the command line
Run the command line or PowerShell with administrator rights and type rd / s /qc:\windows.old in the console, and then press “Enter”.
Sometimes administrator rights are not enough, and users receive a notification that they were denied access to the requested section. You can solve the problem by changing the owner of the directory and setting the necessary rights. In the article on Trusted Installer, I talked about how to do this, follow all the steps from this example.
The fourth way – we use the task scheduler
Few people know, and especially who used such a utility as a task scheduler. But in some cases, it can come in handy. Let’s try to delete the windows old folder using the scheduler. Follow the steps:
Follow the Steps:
We click on the search icon, enter “Task Scheduler” in the line and open the necessary section
We find the task “Setup Cleanup Task” and send it to execution by right-clicking on the name and selecting “Run”.
It remains only to verify the result.
How to delete the windows old folder in Windows 7
In a similar way, the windows old folder is deleted in Windows 7. The first of the methods discussed may not work, especially if you have already tried to get rid of the directory or its contents using a regular explorer. But do not despair, below we will consider both standard and universal methods of removal, and one of them will certainly work. So, we do the following.
Follow these steps:
- We right-click on the system partition and then select the “Properties” item.
- Click on the “Disk Cleanup” button.
- We are waiting for the analysis to complete and in the window that appears, click on the “Clear System” button.
- A window appears with the new sections. We find the item “Previous settings”, activate it and click “OK”.
In rare cases, a cleaning procedure removes only part of the contents. To get rid of the remaining objects, run the special command that I mentioned above in the section of the third method.
There are more universal methods for deleting the windows old folder. They work in all cases, regardless of which OS is currently installed, Windows 10, 8, or 7.
Live CD boot disk. In short, this is a disk with an already installed OS, used for software diagnostics of a computer. By loading in this way, you can edit and delete any kind of objects, no matter where they are. The live CD is free and included in many builds of the OS, it is quite easy to find on the Internet, for example, you can use Kaspersky Rescue Disk.
Third-party applications. You can also use special programs, such as Unlocked, Advanced System Care, or Lock Hunter, to remove windows old. Their main task is to delete non-deleted directories, files or applications.
Applications are cleaners. Reg Organizer does a good job of such a task, and indeed with a complete cleaning of the OS. The utility will automatically analyze and remove system trash. I use it personally and recommend it to you.
Computer viruses. As you know, viruses can not only block the computer and transfer confidential files to third parties, but also completely block the operation of specific components or applications. In this connection, the ability to uninstall some directories usually disappears. Therefore, you should check this point separately.
If windows old is not removed by any of the above methods, then most likely the file structure is damaged or the integrity of important files is compromised. I recommend reading the article on eliminating such errors. Then try to uninstall again.