How to Delete Windows.old folder in Windows 11

This post shows students and new users steps to delete the Windows.old folder after upgrading to Windows 11. If you’ve successfully upgraded to Windows 11, Windows will create a Windows.old folder on your system drive.

This Windows.old folder contains any old Windows installation files and other system data from your previous operating system. Windows uses this folder to make it easy to roll back the upgrade and return to the previous version you upgraded from. If you feel comfortable with Windows 11 and you think you’re not going to go back, then deleting the Windows.old folder should be safe to do.

One reason most people would want to delete this unused folder is because it’s quite large and deleting it will free up some storage space on your computer.

Windows 11 also built-in drive optimization task will eventually delete the Windows.old folder, however, you can manually delete it to see immediate benefits without waiting for Storage Sense to clean up the folder.

To manually delete the Windows.old folder, follow the steps below.

How to manually delete the Windows.old folder after upgrading Windows

As mentioned above, Windows automatically automatically creates a Windows.old folder after a successful upgrade to another version. If you have recently upgraded to Windows 11, you can use the steps below to manually delete that folder.

First, open File Explorer and browse to the Windows.old folder.

In File Explorer, browse to the Local Disk (C:). If you click in the This PC folder in the left navigation window, you’ll get there quickly.

In there, you should see the Windows.old folder along with standard folders in Windows 11.

Assuming you’re happy to delete the Windows.old folder, right-click the folder in File Explorer and press Delete to proceed.

Windows will prompt you with a message that you’ll need an administrator permission to delete the folder. If you’re logged in as administrator or member of the administrator group, simply click Continue.

The folder will be deleted from your computer.

How to use Disk Cleanup tool to delete the Windows.old folder

You can also immediately delete the Windows.old folder using the Disk Cleanup tool in Windows 11.

First, click the Start menu, then search for Disk Cleanup, under Best match, select Disk Cleanup app as shown below.

When the Disk Cleanup window opens, press the Clean up System Files button at the bottom.

Disk Cleanup tool might take a few minutes to scan your computer for unused files depending on the speed and size of your hard drive.

Once the tool finishes scanning your drive, it will show items you can safely delete from your drive to free up space. On the list you should see the Previous Windows installation(s) item which is the Windows.old content.

You can check all the items you want to remove. It safe to check all and click the OK button. You’ll get a prompt to confirm that you want to delete the files.

You may also get a second prompt to confirm that you want to delete Windows installations or temporary installations file. Click Yes to confirm and delete.

You can also configure Storage Sense to automate this process and clean up old and temporary files in Windows 11. The post below shows you how to use Storage Sense in Windows 11.

How to use Storage Sense in Windows 11

That should do it!


This post showed you how to delete Windows.old folder in Windows 11. If you find any error above or have something to add, please use the comment form below.