Deleting Windows.old

Discus and support Deleting Windows.old in Windows 10 Support on Windows 10 Forums to solve the problem; I know that's it not important, or necessary, to remove (delete) the Windows.old folder after an update, but it's superfluous to requirement (unless... Discussion in 'Windows 10 Support' started by WightWalker, Dec 31, 2014.

  1. WightWalker Win User

    Deleting Windows.old


    I know that's it not important, or necessary, to remove (delete) the Windows.old folder after an update, but it's superfluous to requirement (unless reverting back at some stage).

    As I have a standalone build 9879, I decided to remove Windows.old. Ownership & permissions had to be changed for all locations which was not that easily accomplished but managed after a while but what was a problem was deleting file names that exceeded that maximum length, presumably 260 characters.

    It begs the question: how can the file name be created in the first instance by the very same operating system that prevents it's removal?

    After trying numerous suggestions, I stumbled across Robocopy:
    mkdir empty_dir
    robocopy empty_dir the_dir_to_delete /s /mir
    rmdir empty_dir
    rmdir the_dir_to_delete

    :)
     
    WightWalker, Dec 31, 2014
    #1
  2. qinada Win User

    windows.old delete

    Of course you can if your Windows 10 works well and you are satisfied with it. But still

    backup Windows.old folder
    before deleting it in case that you want to roll backup to previous system.
     
    qinada, Dec 31, 2014
    #2
  3. Andre Da Costa Win User
    windows.old delete

    Yes, it can be removed, but please keep in mind, it will be automatically deleted after 10 days. Also note, in case you need to go back to your previous version, its a good reason to keep it.

    That said, here is how you remove it:

    Launch Disk Cleanup, the quickest way is this:

    Press Windows key + R then type: cleanmgr.exe

    [​IMG]

    Then hit Enter

    Windows 10 > Start > All Apps > Windows Accessories > System Tools > Disk Cleanup

    [​IMG]

    Once Disk cleanup opens, select the drive where Windows is installed if its not already.

    Windows will scan your hard disk for files it can clean up.

    [​IMG]

    Note some of these files too can include older installations of Windows. For example, if you upgraded from Windows 7 to Windows 10 a copy will be kept at the root of the hard disk in a folder calledWindows.old. Please becareful though, this
    folder can actually be useful if you need to go back to your previous version of Windows for whatever reason. So be mindful before deleting it. Removing it though can significantly free up disk space.

    [​IMG]

    After Disk Cleanup is finished scanning, you will see the Disk Cleanup window. This window provides a list of areas of the system you can clean up safely. Before we start cleaning up the system, you will notice appears on the window called Clean up
    system files. Clean it and the Disk Cleanup will run a thorough check of the system again to include every file that can be removed.

    As I noted earlier, the Windows.old folder is basically a backup of your old installation of Windows, which you can use to reinstall Windows if you decide to return to your previous installation. Also, its used as a last resort in case you didn’t backup
    your files and need to recover personal files and settings. The Windows.old folder can use up a considerable amount of your hard disk space. Its normally stored at the root of your hard disk where Windows 7 is installed. Before you delete it, make sure you
    check through the directories and ensure that everything migrated successfully to your current version of Windows.

    Recover personal files from the Windows.old Folder such as Documents Pictures and Windows Live Mail Emails in Windows 10

    [​IMG]

    Once you have determined what to remove, click OK then click the Delete Files button to begin.

    [​IMG]

    Click Yes if you are ok with the action that will be taken.
     
    Andre Da Costa, Dec 31, 2014
    #3
  4. cyberrufus Win User

    Deleting Windows.old

    If you ever have to do it again disk cleanup is the easiest way to go.
     
    cyberrufus, Dec 31, 2014
    #4
  5. toppergraph Win User
    Dito.
     
    toppergraph, Dec 31, 2014
    #5
  6. WightWalker Win User
    Dito. Still doesn't answer the question: how can the file name be created in the first instance by the very same operating system that prevents it's removal?
     
    WightWalker, Dec 31, 2014
    #6
  7. Brink
    Brink New Member
    Brink, Dec 31, 2014
    #7
  8. toppergraph Win User

    Deleting Windows.old

    Dito. Still doesn't answer the question: how can the file name be created in the first instance by the very same operating system that prevents it's removal? I am not compleatly sure of what the problem is, if you have WIN 10 installed ONLY(I presume new install not upgrade on a stand alone pc) Why do you have windows.old anyway?. Do you mean after preview build installations(not normal updates)?.
     
    toppergraph, Dec 31, 2014
    #8
  9. BunnyJ New Member
    Dito. Still doesn't answer the question: how can the file name be created in the first instance by the very same operating system that prevents it's removal? I am not compleatly sure of what the problem is, if you have WIN 10 installed ONLY(I presume new install not upgrade on a stand alone pc) Why do you have windows.old anyway?. Do you mean after preview build installations(not normal updates)?. Post #5 is the answer to the question.
    It's a system folder and you need to use the disk cleanup to remove it from you system.
     
    BunnyJ, Dec 31, 2014
    #9
  10. WightWalker Win User
    It was originally a clean build 9879 with subsequent routine updates; can only assume that one of these created the .old folder.

    I didn't have a problem removing the bulk of Windows.old by taking ownership & managing the permissions accordingly; being a Windows 7 user, I hadn't realised the existence of Disk Cleanup.

    I simply thought it curious that 4 files remained that had file names with a length greater than that supported by the OS which must have created the files in the first instance.
     
    WightWalker, Dec 31, 2014
    #10
  11. toppergraph Win User
    I didn't have a problem removing the bulk of Windows.old by taking ownership & managing the permissions accordingly; being a Windows 7 user, I hadn't realised the existence of Disk Cleanup.

    I simply thought it curious that 4 files remained that had file names with a length greater than that supported by the OS which must have created the files in the first instance. No body Knows All to the mystrey`s of any O/S unless you Wright your own. But disk cleanup has been with windows scince I can rember. Where your win.old came from ;I don`t Know. but your now sorted Thanks to #5 .
     
    toppergraph, Dec 31, 2014
    #11
  12. Mystere Win User
    First, the obligatory Beg The Question // Get it right.

    Now that I've annoyed everyone with my pedantics, the answer to the question you "raised" is that there is a difference between the allowed character length in the filesystem, versus the allowed length in the interface you use to access the file (ie command line or GUI). The Filesystem (obviously) allows longer characters, but the command line does not. That is because the command line must work with many kinds of filesystems, some of which do not allow such long names, and because the OS is based on (in effect) DOS from many years ago and there are still certain holdovers. In particular, many of the command line utilities have file length limitations that are far below what the filesystem can handle.
     
    Mystere, Jan 1, 2015
    #12
  13. usasma Win User

    Deleting Windows.old

    Nice work Mystere!

    I've got a theory about this (I see it a lot at work).
    At work, the errors come on individual files during a copy operation.
    I do not see any errors during an installation - and don't often go looking to delete the Windows.old folder (we usually only delete it if the system is running short on storage space).
    I'll have a deeper look next time I encounter it.

    I suspect that there's several possible issues here:
    1) that the filename length thing is/isn't being tripped during the temporary copy operations (where Windows uses the free space on the drive before it actually copies it to the new location).
    2) that the addition of the Windows.old folder makes the length go over the limit
    3) If, at some point, the operation becomes a rename (rather than a copy) operation), then I'd have to suspect that the rename operation doesn't take the length of sub-file name lengths into consideration.
    4) That the routine that makes the Windows.old folder is fault/error-tolerant and it's forced to copy everything (despite any rules) because this is a critical process during the installation

    As such, I wonder if there are errors listed in the installation log files. It would be good if you could search inside the logs for the filenames that have been seen as being too long.
     
    usasma, Jan 1, 2015
    #13
  14. Slartybart Win User
    First, the obligatory Beg The Question // Get it right.

    Now that I've annoyed everyone with my pedantics, ..... Funny sequence of posts.
    toppergraph replies to WightWalker: no one knows all the mystery's ... unless you Wright your own ...
    to wit mystere replies to WightWalker: First, the obligatory Beg The Question // Get it right.
    Now that I've annoyed everyone with my pedantics,....
    Speaking of my own pedanticism and annoying people with the practice:
    M-W.com
    pendatic, adj
    pedanticism, nounpedantry, noun - plural ped·ant·ries
    Now that I've had a wee bit 'o fun - back to the question that was raised *Cool

    C:\windows.old is the way we humans see the filename. But I/O doesn't work in human terms.
    I guess the answer is the last sentence in the quoted paragraph below.
    There are at least two ways that I know of to 'correctly' remove windows.old if it is present
    a) Post# 5 points to Disk Cleanup
    https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/2...dows-10-a.html
    b) The free version of Piriform cCleaner also offers to cleanup the folder

    I prefer to use native Windows features whenever feasible.

    Bill
    .
     
    Slartybart, Apr 4, 2018
    #14
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Deleting Windows.old

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