If you have recently upgraded from Windows 10 to Windows 11, you will have a week to roll back. After the update, Windows will create a Windows.old folder on the system unit. This folder includes any old Windows installation files and other system data from your old operating system.
Unfortunately, the Windows.old folder can take up a significant amount of space on your PC’s system drive. If you have a laptop or PC with limited storage, you may want to delete the folder. Although Windows should delete this folder over time, deleting it yourself will help you regain gigabytes of space immediately.
If you want to delete the Windows.old folder in Windows 11, this is what you need to do.
Note: You can’t go back to Windows 10 if you delete the Windows.old folder. Make sure you are satisfied with the new operating system before proceeding. Otherwise, you will have to reinstall Windows 10 manually.
How to find and delete the Windows.old folder in Windows 11
To find the Windows.old folder, start File Explorer from the taskbar or the Start menu.
Most users should find the Windows.old folder on the drive C standard (for example, C: NWindows.old). If your Windows installation uses a different drive letter, be sure to check it there.
If you want to see how much space the folder is using, right-click the folder and select Properties in the context menu.
Window Windows.old properties It will give you an indication of the current size of the folder. This will vary, depending on the size of the previous installation, but expect this folder to use 15GB or more of storage space.
Manual removal of the Windows.old folder
Assuming you are happy with deleting the Windows.old folder, click To accept to close the window Properties. Right-click the folder in File Explorer and press Remove to proceed.
Windows protects the Windows.old folder, so it may ask for your permission to delete the folder. Click Continue and follow the additional instructions on the screen to do so.
If your user account lacks administrator privileges, you will need to log in (when prompted) to authorize the deletion.
Using Disk Cleanup
You can also use the tool Disk Cleanup to delete the Windows.old folder. To do this, open the Start menu and type disk cleaning. Select the highest result (the one that best matches) on top.
When the Disk Cleanup window opens, press thebutton. Clean up system files on the bottom.
The tool may take a few moments to scan your PC.
When done, find and select Previous Windows installation (s) in the section Files to delete. Disk Cleanup will show the total amount of space you will gain by removing this.
You can select other unnecessary files found by Disk Cleanup at this point to delete as well.
When you’re ready, click To accept and press Delete files when the verification message appears.
If this is your first time removing Windows.old, you will receive a second notification message asking if you are sure. Click on Yes to verify that you want to remove it.
Allow time for Windows to delete the Windows.old folder and any other items it selects. The amount of time it takes will vary depending on the size of the folder.
How to roll back Windows with Windows.old
Microsoft uses the Windows.old folder to facilitate the rollback of the installation. If you want to remove Windows.old from Windows 11, you can, but don’t forget that you will lose the ability to downgrade. Regardless, Windows will prevent you from downgrading a week after installing Windows 11 and should delete the folder for you at some point later.