How to delete 'Windows.old' - the folder keeping your old version of Windows - to free up more than 20 GB of space on your PC

huawei mbxp windows 10Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider

  • If you've recently upgraded your version of Windows, you might want to delete your "Windows.old" folder, the folder containing your old version of Windows.
  • Your Windows.old folder can consume more than 20 GB of storage space on your PC.
  • While you can't delete this folder in the usual way (by pressing the Delete key), you can delete it using the Disk Cleanup program built into Windows.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

You might have noticed a folder on your computer called "Windows.old."

If you did, you probably also noticed two other things: It is using a lot of hard drive space (potentially as much as two dozen gigabytes) and you can't delete it using your keyboard's Delete key.

Since it has "old" in its filename, it seems unnecessary - is there a way to get rid of it?

Yes, you can.

If you've recently upgraded to a new version of Windows, the Windows.old folder contains your previous installation of Windows, which can be used to roll back to the previous configuration if you want to.

If you don't plan to go back - and few people do - you can remove it and reclaim the space.

Also, keep in mind that if you do nothing, Windows will automatically discard that folder 30 days after the upgrade. But if you want to delete it right now, here is how.

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How to delete the Windows.old folder on your computer

1. In the Start menu search box, type "cleanup" and then click "Disk Cleanup" in the results.

old 1Type &quotcleanup" to find the Disk Cleanup utility.Dave Johnson/Business Insider

2. If you see the Drive Selection dialog box, make sure that the C: drive is selected, and click "OK."

3. Click "Clean up system files."

old 2In the Disk Cleanup window, click &quotClean up system files" to start the cleanup process.Dave Johnson/Business Insider

4. You may need to choose drive C: a second time and click "OK." Then you'll need to wait while the program scans your drive.

5. Select the checkbox for "Previous Windows installations" from the list of files to delete.

old 3Select &quotPrevious Windows installation" to delete the Windows.old folder.Dave Johnson/Business Insider

6. Click "OK."

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