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How to delete windows.old in windows 7

    Question

  • I was running 32 bit Win7 and I decided to upgrade to 64 bit because I bought 4 G more ram.  Anyways, I've upgraded and there is a windows.old folder talking up like 23 gigs of my HD.  The disk cleanup tool isn't very helpful.  It does not have the same functions as the Vista version so I can't remove old copies of windows.

    Any solutions?

    Thanks a bunch
    Saturday, February 07, 2009 3:19 AM

Answers

  • I know what you're going through.  I had two aborted attempts at installing Windows 7 and it left two huge .old files on my drive.  The answer the others are giving is if you are deleting them from a Vista OS.  You, like I was, are trying to delete them from the Windows 7 OS.  Here is how to do that:

    Click on Start/All Programs/Accessories/System Tools/Disc Cleanup

    When the dialog box comes up, select the drive that has the .old files on it and click OK

    The system then scans for the files to be cleaned up and another dialog box opens with the selection.  Click on the button labeled Clean up system files at the bottom of that dialog box.

    Another dialog box will come up, select the drive again that has the .old files on it.  The system will perform another scan for the system files that need to be cleaned up.

    After scanning, another dialog box opens up and there you will find a list of check boxes.  Scroll through and check on the box labeled Older versions of Windows and click OK.

    That should take care of them.  The two aborted install attempts I had as .old files where taking up 16 gigs.  This got rid of them.
    Wednesday, May 13, 2009 8:46 PM
  • I'm sure this will work on Win7:

    How to use the Disk Cleanup feature to delete the Windows.old folder after you install Windows Vista. Scroll down to the take ownership and cacls commands, here

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/930527/en-us

    Saturday, February 07, 2009 3:28 PM

All replies

  • How to remove the Windows.old folder that is generated when you perform a custom installation of Windows:
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/933212
    Carey Frisch
    Saturday, February 07, 2009 4:30 AM
    Moderator
  • I've already tried that, and the Windows 7 disk cleanup program does not have the option to clean previous windows installations

    I was wondering if there was a different way
    • Proposed as answer by Tikus66 Wednesday, May 13, 2009 8:24 PM
    Saturday, February 07, 2009 3:09 PM
  • Why did not you just delete the folder Windows.old as any other folder?
    From any file manager: Windows explorer (Del), Total Commander (F8), etc.

    It is the most natural and simple solution. I was exactly in Your situation:
    Installed first (erroneously) 32 bit version instead of 64bit one, then installed
    64 bit version in the same partition.  And have deleted
    Windows.old from the Total commander with no problems at all. Even UAC
    was absolutely silent.

    By the way, Windows 7 was installed 3 days ago (as a second OS),
    but the new UAC did not interfere with none of my operations yet.
    Which is very good: there is a chance that I will not shut him down
    as I've done in Vista immediately after I've found the option
    (which took me a day or so :).
    Saturday, February 07, 2009 3:26 PM
  • I'm sure this will work on Win7:

    How to use the Disk Cleanup feature to delete the Windows.old folder after you install Windows Vista. Scroll down to the take ownership and cacls commands, here

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/930527/en-us

    Saturday, February 07, 2009 3:28 PM
  • DeFoLinY said:

    I've already tried that, and the Windows 7 disk cleanup program does not have the option to clean previous windows installations

    I was wondering if there was a different way



    Hi

    Probably .old folder is not on drive you have selected.

    I hope user account control is not disabled.

    You may need to click on cleanup system files button first before to see option to remove .old folder
    Saturday, February 07, 2009 3:32 PM
  •  

    BurrWalnut has the right info.  I have just cut and pasted from the link he provided.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    To delete the Windows.old folder from an earlier installation of Windows, follow these steps:
    1. Click Start, type disk cleanup in the Start Search text box, and then click Disk Cleanup.
    2. In the Disk Cleanup Options dialog box, click Files from all users on this computer.
    3. In the User Account Control dialog box, click Continue.
    4. Click to select the Previous Windows installation(s) check box, and then click OK.
    Advanced users can also use a command prompt to delete files and folders from an earlier installation of Windows Vista. To do this, follow these steps:
    1. Click Start, click All Programs, click Accessories, right-click Command Prompt, and then click Run as administrator.
    2. In the User Account Control dialog box, click Continue.
    3. At the command prompt, type takeown /F <DriveLetter>:\<FolderName>\* /R /A, and then press ENTER.

      Note When you run this command, you are granted ownership of the administrator group for the folder, of all the subdirectories in the folder, and of all the files in the folder.
    4. At the command prompt, type cacls <DriveLetter>:\<FolderName>\*.* /T /grant administrators:F, and then press ENTER.

      Note When you run this command, administrators are granted full rights to all files and to all folders.
    5. At the command prompt, type rmdir /S /Q <DriveLetter>:\<FolderName>\, and then press ENTER.

      Note When you run this command, all subfolders and all files in the specified folder are deleted. Additionally, the specified folder itself is deleted.
    • Proposed as answer by cchhuummllyy Friday, October 01, 2010 5:05 AM
    Monday, February 09, 2009 9:17 PM
  • I know what you're going through.  I had two aborted attempts at installing Windows 7 and it left two huge .old files on my drive.  The answer the others are giving is if you are deleting them from a Vista OS.  You, like I was, are trying to delete them from the Windows 7 OS.  Here is how to do that:

    Click on Start/All Programs/Accessories/System Tools/Disc Cleanup

    When the dialog box comes up, select the drive that has the .old files on it and click OK

    The system then scans for the files to be cleaned up and another dialog box opens with the selection.  Click on the button labeled Clean up system files at the bottom of that dialog box.

    Another dialog box will come up, select the drive again that has the .old files on it.  The system will perform another scan for the system files that need to be cleaned up.

    After scanning, another dialog box opens up and there you will find a list of check boxes.  Scroll through and check on the box labeled Older versions of Windows and click OK.

    That should take care of them.  The two aborted install attempts I had as .old files where taking up 16 gigs.  This got rid of them.
    Wednesday, May 13, 2009 8:46 PM
  • hey i had the same issue aborted 3 windows 7 installs. the disk cleanup worked for the one labelled windows.old only however there was windows.old.000 etc including one called windows but wouldnt detect/delete these. just sequencially renamed them to windows.old and the program files.old.000 to .old etc and it worked. hope this helps someone else who had the same issue!
    Saturday, July 18, 2009 1:59 AM
  • You can use Disk Cleanup . The Disk Cleanup exe file is located at C:\Windows\System32\cleanmgr.exe. Full article here http://techwoo.com/delete-windows-old-folder-by-disk-cleanup/
    • Edited by Techwoo Tuesday, July 28, 2009 12:23 PM Edit link
    Tuesday, July 28, 2009 12:22 PM
  • Do make sure that the Windows.old is from another version of Win7 and not your previous version of Windows. If it is your previous version of Windows and you delete it you will not be able to revert back to, say Vista, without doing a clean install.

    If you are not planning on going back to your previous version then deleting Windows.old is no problem.
    Tuesday, July 28, 2009 7:01 PM
  • it worked! :) disk cleanup is all u need

    Wednesday, August 05, 2009 1:11 AM
  • thank tikus66, this made the most sense,
    I did work on my version of win7 version 7100 and 7600
    I was able to regain over 33 gigs.. Thanks again!! :)
    Wednesday, September 09, 2009 9:30 PM
  • I know what you're going through.  I had two aborted attempts at installing Windows 7 and it left two huge .old files on my drive.  The answer the others are giving is if you are deleting them from a Vista OS.  You, like I was, are trying to delete them from the Windows 7 OS .  Here is how to do that:

    Click on Start/All Programs/Accessories/System Tools/Disc Cleanup

    When the dialog box comes up, select the drive that has the .old files on it and click OK

    The system then scans for the files to be cleaned up and another dialog box opens with the selection.  Click on the button labeled Clean up system files at the bottom of that dialog box.

    Another dialog box will come up, select the drive again that has the .old files on it.  The system will perform another scan for the system files that need to be cleaned up.

    After scanning, another dialog box opens up and there you will find a list of check boxes.  Scroll through and check on the box labeled Older versions of Windows and click OK .

    That should take care of them.  The two aborted install attempts I had as .old files where taking up 16 gigs.  This got rid of them.
    Thanks, worked perfectly for me!
    Sunday, October 25, 2009 5:22 AM


  • Hi

    Probably .old folder is not on drive you have selected.

    I hope user account control is not disabled.

    You may need to click on cleanup system files button first before to see option to remove .old folder

    I just did this with my Win 7 install.  It's just as Ventsislav Alexandriyski stated: Disk Cleanup will display the option to remove earlier Windows installations, but not until you have clicked the "cleanup system files " button.
    Tuesday, October 27, 2009 3:13 AM
  • Omg thank you so much! This got me another 80GB of space on my HD!
    Thanks so much.


    P.S.
    I'm loving windows 7. Awesome comeback Microsoft.

    Monday, November 09, 2009 5:17 PM
  • I didn't have Previous Version listed in my Disk Cleanup until I "Right Clicked " on Disk Cleanup and then on "Run as Administrator" for the Delete Previous Windows check box to become available in Vista. This is also true for Windows 7.
    Thursday, November 19, 2009 1:59 AM
  • I found out that any protected and locked out file or folder can be unlocked and deleted by using this freeware. http://ccollomb.free.fr/unlocker/ unlocker works for me every time for the last couple of years.
    Windows will lock out files and folders if in use but unlocker will delete them.
    Friday, November 20, 2009 7:19 PM
  • Thank U soooo much Tiku66, just followed ur instructions and got rid of both the .old folder of 32 GB.
    Tuesday, December 01, 2009 3:34 AM
  • Awesome information guys, I was searching for a way to get rid of the .old files and now I've done it! It freed up about 87gigs on my HD.
    Sunday, December 06, 2009 11:46 PM
  • Make sure you "Run as Admin" if not the "older version of windows" options wont show up. I am thinking thats where some of the others were getting hung up.
    Monday, December 28, 2009 12:33 AM
  • I am trying to remove Windows.old folder in Windows server 2008. Even if I run Disk Cleanup as Admin, I do not see the checkbox for Previous Windows installation. Has someone tried this in W2K8?
    • Proposed as answer by jiGSawgibbs Sunday, February 28, 2010 5:19 PM
    Friday, January 22, 2010 9:32 PM
  • Thanks Tikus66, you saved me 51GB of space on my laptop from two previous wrong installations of Windows 7. First time Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bits, second time Windows Ultimate upgrade 32 bits, and last one Windows 7 Ultimate Full 64 bits. I hope I have don't it write this time. Many thanks for that help.
    Sunday, February 07, 2010 5:10 AM
  • If anyone's interested, this works fine on VMWare.
    Sunday, February 28, 2010 4:57 AM
  • u need to right click on disc cleanup and run as admin, then u will see remove previous windows installations.....it works
    Sunday, February 28, 2010 5:31 PM
  • This trick will also work for Any folder that is protected by Windows7,

    for example, I installed win7 and vista on different Harddrives on my pc, and I had trouble deleting the windows, program files, and programData from the different installations.. I tried everything but there was no way of deleting them... so what I eventually did was to rename them to windows.old (one by one) and run the procedure as described above.. and I could delete them one by one.. saved me sooo much disk space!

    so if you have an old windows folder and can not delete it, simply rename it windows.old and run disc cleanup wizard. PS: Do remember which windows folder is the one that you actually use, otherwise you will make trouble for yourself :)


    duck duck duck duck goose
    Sunday, March 14, 2010 3:43 PM
  • I wanna totally thank you for that answer because you just helped me get rid of 44.gb of old files that were doing absolutely no good at all except using up my disk space.
    Monday, March 22, 2010 4:45 AM
  • I deleted it like any other folder and left it going all night since it takes a while. Now I can't boot into Windows 7. It just stays at my motherboard screen.
    Wednesday, March 24, 2010 11:13 AM
  • I was running 32 bit Win7 and I decided to upgrade to 64 bit because I bought 4 G more ram.  Anyways, I've upgraded and there is a windows.old folder talking up like 23 gigs of my HD.  The disk cleanup tool isn't very helpful.  It does not have the same functions as the Vista version so I can't remove old copies of windows.

    Any solutions?

    Thanks a bunch

     

     

    BEST POSSIBLE ANSWER  :-

    since you cant delete directly (SHIFT+DELETE )this windows.old folder  from your active partition containing windows, because of UAC or TRUSTEDINSTALLER feature of windows, which protects system essential files from damage, thus..

    Instead of relying on MICROSOFT's applications to delete windows.old, which involves cumbersome steps with so many complications, you should use a UBUNTU ( linux based OS ) live cd to directly delete ANY files or FOLDERs of your choice.

    firstly, you need to boot frm the UBUNTU CD, THEN select 

    TRY UBUNTU WITHOUT MAKING ANY CHANGES TO YOUR COMPUTER

    It will take you to UBUNTU's desktop and then go to PLACES at the top of the desktop screen, then browse to file or FOLDER of your choice and delete whatever you wanna delete without any windows's interference.

    RESTART your computer ....

    AND IT IS DONE.........................................................

    :)

    P.S. to UBUNTU, I just love it.....


    Saturday, May 08, 2010 10:01 AM
  • I know what you're going through.  I had two aborted attempts at installing Windows 7 and it left two huge .old files on my drive.  The answer the others are giving is if you are deleting them from a Vista OS.  You, like I was, are trying to delete them from the Windows 7 OS .  Here is how to do that:

    Click on Start/All Programs/Accessories/System Tools/Disc Cleanup

    When the dialog box comes up, select the drive that has the .old files on it and click OK

    The system then scans for the files to be cleaned up and another dialog box opens with the selection.  Click on the button labeled Clean up system files at the bottom of that dialog box.

    Another dialog box will come up, select the drive again that has the .old files on it.  The system will perform another scan for the system files that need to be cleaned up.

    After scanning, another dialog box opens up and there you will find a list of check boxes.  Scroll through and check on the box labeled Older versions of Windows and click OK .

    That should take care of them.  The two aborted install attempts I had as .old files where taking up 16 gigs.  This got rid of them.
    Thanks, worked perfectly for me!

    same with me.it worked totally.thank you
    Thursday, May 13, 2010 5:57 PM
  • I know what you're going through.  I had two aborted attempts at installing Windows 7 and it left two huge .old files on my drive.  The answer the others are giving is if you are deleting them from a Vista OS.  You, like I was, are trying to delete them from the Windows 7 OS .  Here is how to do that:

    Click on Start/All Programs/Accessories/System Tools/Disc Cleanup

    When the dialog box comes up, select the drive that has the .old files on it and click OK

    The system then scans for the files to be cleaned up and another dialog box opens with the selection.  Click on the button labeled Clean up system files at the bottom of that dialog box.

    Another dialog box will come up, select the drive again that has the .old files on it.  The system will perform another scan for the system files that need to be cleaned up.

    After scanning, another dialog box opens up and there you will find a list of check boxes.  Scroll through and check on the box labeled Older versions of Windows and click OK .

    That should take care of them.  The two aborted install attempts I had as .old files where taking up 16 gigs.  This got rid of them.

    Thank god and the awesome ms team for this. Mine was taking up 200gb and i had 2 versions of windows.old and it kept on asking for permission. Thank you a lot
    Wednesday, June 23, 2010 4:21 AM
  • thnx a lot........it wrkd!!!!! :)
    • Proposed as answer by MHJ Ali Saturday, July 10, 2010 5:41 PM
    Saturday, June 26, 2010 12:15 PM
  • Click Start> All Programs> Accessories>>right-click "Command Prompt", and then click Run as administrator.

    run following 3 commands on command prompt

    takeown /F c:\Windows.old\* /R /A
    cacls c:\Windows.old\*.* /T /grant administrators:F
    rmdir /S /Q c:\Windows.old\

    • Proposed as answer by MHJ Ali Saturday, July 10, 2010 5:43 PM
    Saturday, July 10, 2010 5:43 PM
  • This doesnt work for me
    Sunday, July 18, 2010 6:23 PM
  • ITS SO SIMPLE DEAR JUST FOLLOW THESE STEPS

    1. CLICK START, ALL PROGRAMS, ACCESSORIES, SYSTEM TOOLS

    2. CLICK DISK CLEANUP

    3. SELECT THE DRIVE WHERE YOUR OPERATING SYSTEM IS INSTALLED, eg (C:)

    4. AT THE BOTTOM OF THE NEXT APPEARD DIALOG BOX LOOK AT THE LEFT SIDE YOU CAN

       FIND HERE "CLEAN UP SYSTEM FILES" CLICK ON IT AND AGAIN SELECT YOUR OPERATING

       SYSTEM   eg (C:) NOW ON THE NEXT APPEARED DIALOG BOX YOU CAN FIND THE OLD

       WINDOWS REMOVAL OPTION (PREVIOUS WINDOWS INSTALLTION) IN THE LIST.

      HOPE YOU GOT THE SOLUTION

      AQEEL

    • Proposed as answer by MCIT Wednesday, July 21, 2010 6:08 PM
    Wednesday, July 21, 2010 6:08 PM
  • Perfect but it must be stressed that the .old files only appear when you select the drive again
    Monday, July 26, 2010 12:57 AM
  • Well, i used a utility to take control of the windows.old folder and delete it.

    It worked........... n btw it's just a tweak! :-)

    • Proposed as answer by steve2050 Friday, September 03, 2010 8:05 AM
    Tuesday, August 24, 2010 11:49 AM
  • Worked perfectly! Believe it or not I freed up 160 gb from 2 installs!

    Thanks!!

    Sunday, September 26, 2010 1:38 PM
  • why do other posters just repeat themselves with an answer that doesn't work and your  correct answer goes unnoticed?
    Friday, October 01, 2010 5:07 AM
  • It does work.
    Wednesday, October 06, 2010 3:48 PM
  • I knew I had 72GBs of disk space in Windows.old and this got rid of all of it.  Thanks,  Norm
    Friday, November 19, 2010 5:27 PM
  • Ahh, finally! Found a way to get rid of it!

    Thx!

    Thursday, December 23, 2010 7:18 PM
  • thanks you .......very much ......great..........its remove all old version windows file...........
    Tuesday, January 04, 2011 4:42 AM
  • Thanks helped me out a treat. I will mostly being clean installs from now on. Much easyier.


    www.mypchealth.co.uk
    Tuesday, January 04, 2011 1:53 PM
  • This almost works. Cacls has been deprecated to be replaced by Icacls. With that change, it works like a charm.
    Thursday, January 13, 2011 10:59 PM
  • Done what you have written out for Windows 7 and it works perfectly. Thanks mate here's a beer on me!
    Tuesday, January 18, 2011 7:27 PM
  • I found that the disk cleanup method didn't work for me but this did: Disable UAC, reboot. Start the command prompt as admin. Navigate to the folder with the dodgy files in dos and then use the del  command with *.* for the filenames. This deletes all the files in the folder regardless of the names. Exit the command prompt. In explorer the files are now gone, delete the folders as normal, re-activate UAC and re-boot. Job done.
    Tuesday, January 25, 2011 3:45 AM
  • I know what you're going through.  I had two aborted attempts at installing Windows 7 and it left two huge .old files on my drive.  The answer the others are giving is if you are deleting them from a Vista OS.  You, like I was, are trying to delete them from the Windows 7 OS .  Here is how to do that:

    Click on Start/All Programs/Accessories/System Tools/Disc Cleanup

    When the dialog box comes up, select the drive that has the .old files on it and click OK

    The system then scans for the files to be cleaned up and another dialog box opens with the selection.  Click on the button labeled Clean up system files at the bottom of that dialog box.

    Another dialog box will come up, select the drive again that has the .old files on it.  The system will perform another scan for the system files that need to be cleaned up.

    After scanning, another dialog box opens up and there you will find a list of check boxes.  Scroll through and check on the box labeled Older versions of Windows and click OK .

    That should take care of them.  The two aborted install attempts I had as .old files where taking up 16 gigs.  This got rid of them.
    thank you. it worked on Windows 7
    Monday, February 07, 2011 12:03 AM
  • Thanks so much i was running on Windows 7 Home Premium and i upgraded to Windows 7 Ultimate and i had 80GB left now I have got 115GB it took about 10 mins you have to scan your drive 2 times aswell 
    Saturday, March 05, 2011 9:13 AM
  • tnx u very much .... very usefull
    Friday, March 11, 2011 1:39 AM
  • thanks bro, it works perfectly, with win7
    Friday, March 18, 2011 11:03 AM
  • On windows 7 just go to disk clean up and down bottom select clean system files and then you will see the option to deletes windows.old hope that help
    Wednesday, April 13, 2011 1:24 PM
  • Thanks, I never thought to try that. Worked great
    Saturday, May 14, 2011 5:32 AM
  • Thank you so much! This method has worked perfectly for me!!!
    Sunday, May 29, 2011 5:58 AM
  • I just kept on through as you outlined, knocked off 26 GB from my installation.  High fived the air and ate some Fritos after.
    Thursday, November 10, 2011 2:29 PM
  • Thank you for this helpful tip, my windows.old files were taking up 564 gigs of space, my goodness. Now if Windows 7 will stop crashing to blue screen constanly I won't have to reinstall once a year. And the IE that comes bundled with this operating system is constanly crashing also. I must say I am not very happy with Windows 7 Ultimate, it is the worst $319.00 I ever spent. Oh Well, I am stuck with it now,lol.

    Thanks again for this helpful solutions, and sorry about rambling on about how much I am displeased with Windows 7

    Raven Whitehawk

    Friday, December 16, 2011 10:13 PM
  • Click Start> All Programs> Accessories>>right-click "Command Prompt", and then click Run as administrator.

    run following 3 commands on command prompt

    takeown /F c:\Windows.old\* /R /A
    cacls c:\Windows.old\*.* /T /grant administrators:F
    rmdir /S /Q c:\Windows.old\

    at last - a solution that actually works! THANK YOU
    Thursday, January 26, 2012 1:04 AM
  • Click Start> All Programs> Accessories>>right-click "Command Prompt", and then click Run as administrator.

    run following 3 commands on command prompt

    takeown /F c:\Windows.old\* /R /A
    cacls c:\Windows.old\*.* /T /grant administrators:F
    rmdir /S /Q c:\Windows.old\


    Everyone is saying "It's sooooo simple" etc.  But it wasn't.   I used disk cleanup as gang-recommended on this page and got NOWHERE with it.  It could have been because I already attempted to delete it and got most of it deleted, failed to get some few kilobytes that remained, moved them around and tried deleting them in different places with all sorts of monkeying around with the name and icon what have you.  Finally, after carefully putting the offending object back into its nest in c: and at my WITS END, I decided to try this arcane stuff suggested by MHJ Ali....  and by God it WORKED!!!  Hahaha!  Thanks MHJ Ali!!!
    • Proposed as answer by Metacheck Friday, March 02, 2012 7:38 AM
    Friday, March 02, 2012 7:38 AM
  • I agree.  All other methods failed, but this one has REAL MEDICINE and true mojo!!  It made arcane things happen and I wasn't sure if it would work until the very end, and yet it was like "Abracadabra" and get the hell out of here, Windows.old!!!!!  Poof!! GONE.
    Friday, March 02, 2012 7:40 AM
  • Thx for this info really helped was having a lot of trouble trying to get it off before i found this thread

    Saturday, March 03, 2012 7:58 AM
  • Just a note,  the system files cleanup options don't show up unless you right click and "run as administrator" when you open disc cleanup.
    Saturday, March 10, 2012 11:01 PM
  • disc cleanup needs to be "run as administrator"
    Saturday, March 10, 2012 11:02 PM