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How to Delete the “Windows.old” Folder in Windows 8 and 8.1

If you performed a refresh of Windows 8, upgrade to Windows 8, or a custom install of Windows 8 without formatting the drive for a clean install and selected to install Windows 8 on the same partition of the previous Windows installation, then you may have a C:\Windows.old folder left over in your new installation. The Windows.old folder contains a copy of the previous Windows installation, and can be quite large in size.
This tutorial will show you how to delete the Windows.old folder(s) generated during the installation to free up the hard drive space that the Windows.old folder(s) takes.

Delete “Windows.old” Folder in an Elevated Command Prompt:

  1. Open an elevated command prompt.
  2. In the elevated command prompt, copy and paste the command below, and press Enter.
    RD /S /Q %SystemDrive%\windows.old
  3. Close the elevated command prompt.

Delete “Windows.old” Folder in a Command Prompt at Boot:

  1. Press the Windows + R keys, then type diskmgmt.msc and press Enter. Make note of the name and total size of your Windows 8 drive.
    NOTE: You will need to know this in step 3C.
  2. Using either you Windows 8 installation USB or DVD or system repair disc, boot to a command prompt at boot.
  3. To Verify the Windows 8 Drive Letter at Boot
    NOTE: The Windows 8 drive letter may not always be C: at boot like it is while Windows is started, so be sure to verify it’s drive letter before doing the command in step 4 for it to work.
    a. In the command prompt, type diskpart and press enter.
    b. In the command prompt, type list volume and press enter.
    c. From the listed volumes, look for and verify the drive letter of your Windows 8 drive.
    d. In the command prompt, type exit and press enter.
  4. To Delete the “Windows.old” Folder
    a. In the command prompt, type the command below and press enter.
    NOTE: Be sure to substitute D in the command below with the actual drive letter of your Windows drive as displayed from step 3 above instead.
    RD /S /Q “D:\Windows.old”
    b. Close the command prompt window.
  5. Click/tap on the Continue button to restart the computer and continue to Windows 8.

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