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I have recently re-installed my Windows 8 Release Preview, and it has left a Windows.old folder in my C Drive.

I am trying to delete this folder, but I am getting lots of errors:

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After restarting windows several times and trying to delete this folder, I still have:

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What should I do? How can I go about deleting this folder and freeing the space?

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Possible duplicate of How to delete Windows.old in Windows 8 – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Oct 10 '15 at 17:32
up vote 6 down vote accepted

Windows.old is a Windows System folder and hence it cannot be removed using the good old Shift+Delete keyboard shortcut. However, Windows does include a utility to help you get rid of this bulky folder forever. Here’s how:

  • Press the Windows key + R shortcut to open the Run box. Type cleanmgr here and hit Enter to open the Disk Clean utility.
  • Select the drive letter where your Windows 8 is installed (most likely C: drive)
  • On the next screen, click the button that says Clean Up System Files.
  • The utility will rescan your C: drive but this time, it will add a new option that says “Previous Windows installation.” Select that option and click the OK button.

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The Windows.8 folder will now be deleted giving you plenty of extra disk space for your programs and documents.

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This also works on the Windows 10 Preview – Paul Gregoire Nov 18 '14 at 21:21

Looks like microsoft provide a tool for this:

If you install Windows 7 by performing a custom installation and don't format the partition during the installation process, files that were used in your previous version of Windows are stored in the Windows.old folder. The type of files in this folder depends on your computer. After you’ve used Windows 7 for a while—for example, one or two weeks—and you’re confident that your files and settings are back to where you want them to be, you can safely reclaim disk space by using Disk Cleanup to delete the Windows.old folder.

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Take ownership prior to deleting. Open powershell as administrator and use:

takeown /r /a /d y /f c:\windows.old

When this completes as long as you are a local administrator you will be able to delete the folder.

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Why would somebody run this command when there is a tool to do exactly this? The built-in Cleanup Tool is a better choice. – Ramhound Dec 6 '12 at 17:28
Not everyone wants to use a gui for everything. I know I don't. – wb303 Dec 6 '12 at 17:40

Beginning with Vista, Windows installs in a folder that is protected with Access Control Lists (ACLs) from modification. You should, as an admin of this computer, take ownership of that Windows.old folder, then give yourself the rights to folders. It's the same as taking ownership of another user's "private" folder in Windows XP too. I remember doing something like that with Vista, but honestly, it was pain in the butt, because giving yourself rights wasn't recursive. I don't know about Win8. Anyway, here's the link on how to do it

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Follow These Steps:

1: Right CLick on C drive and click on properties. 2: Under the General tab click on "Disk Cleanup". 3: Now under Disk Cleanup, select "Cleanup system files"
4: Mark the box of “Previous Windows Installation”.

Click ok and your Windows.old folder and all of its data will be deleted.

Information Source

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This appears to be the same as the accepted answer except for a slightly different invocation mechanism. – Scott Oct 31 '15 at 0:05

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