By Delia / Last update January 10, 2022

Can you delete Windows.old in Windows 11?

Many people should have upgraded their computers from Windows 10 to Windows 11 now. And according to past experience, a Windows.old folder will be created on the system partition (usually the C:) after the upgrade.

windows 11

Windows.old is the folder where the computer backs up important files from the old system during the process of upgrading. It is usually of little use but takes up a lot of space on the system drive, so many users will want to delete it. However, Windows.old has some special permissions that make it impossible to be deleted directly in File Explorer - probably to prevent user’s misoperation.

Another thing to note is that deleting Windows.old will not damage your computer, but it will make you lose the ability to downgrade. Normally, Windows will block you from rolling back to previous system after 10 days of installing Windows 11, and should delete the folder for you sometime after that.

If you have determined that your new system is running properly and Windows does not automatically delete the file, you may consider deleting it as follows.

How to delete Windows.old folder in Windows 11

1. Open “Settings”. Select “System” and then “Storage”.

2. Click “Temporary files” on the right side.

3. Select “Previous Windows installation(s)” and click "Remove files" to start the cleanup.

previous windows installation

After completing these steps, your Windows.old folder should be deleted.

Alternatively, you can perform this operation with Disk Cleanup.

Open the Start menu, search for "Disk Cleanup" to launch it. Then click on "Clean up system files", check "Previous Windows Installation(s)" option, and click "OK" to clean it up.

disk cleanup

Note that whichever route you take, you can also check other file types you want to delete to free up more space. The time required for cleaning will also vary depending on the size of the selected files.