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Windows 8/10: Recovering Disk Space After Upgrade

When upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 8.x, or Windows 10, the upgrade places a backup of the previous operating system in C:\Windows.old. If the upgrade was successful and there is no expectation a rollback is required, and if space is a premium (for example on SSD drives), this folder can be removed using Disk Cleanup.

  1. Choose Clean up System Files:

  2. Tick Previous Windows Installation(s) and Temporary Windows Installation Files:

  3. When prompted about being unable to revert to the previous operating system, choose OK.

To perform this manually (for highly technical users only):

  1. Open an elevated command prompt.

  2. Type:

    cd /d C:\Windows.old

    takeown /f *.* /a /r

    cacls *.* /t /g Everyone:F /c

    attrib -r -s -h *.* /s /d

    del *.* /s/q

  3. Use Windows Explorer to delete the remaining files.

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