Vista: Remove Old XP Files after Upgrade (Windows.old)

When you upgrade Vista over XP, a copy of your previous XP installation is preserved on your hard drive in case you want to revert back to XP. If you are happy with your vista installation, you delete your old XP files to reclaim a ton of hard drive space.


Windows.old contains your previous XP installation. It is difficult to remove it manually so let Vista do the work for you.

Remove Windows.old:

1. Click Start
2. Select All Programs
3. Select Accessories
4. Click System Tools
5. Pick Disc Cleanup
6. Select Files from all users on this computer
7. Confirm the UAC
8. Select the drive that contains your old installation
9. One of the options will be to delete your old installation. Select it and let the Disc Cleanup Utility do its thing.

The Conversation

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  • Luis

    thanks alot for your help very useful info

  • ramya

    In my drive D, I have old documents and setting, a WINDOWS folder , a program files folder etc from my XP. I am unable to get rid of them inspite of doing all this… and the owner rights change etc.. Its taking up 20GB! Help…

    • chappie

      ramya, as an admin on vista bring up the properties of your old stuff folder. rightclick. look at the security tab, choose advanced, look at owner tab, make yourself/current admin the owner, ok your way out.
      you now own it so you can have your way..

  • Nick

    I delete everything in the windows.old folder and i did the disc cleanup and it removed it, but i still have the folder windows.old. when i want to delete it says something about it dosnt exist and then it stays. any help

  • aricka

    my laptop is only 2-3 months old it came with Vista home premium i have never downloaded any new or old versions EVER!!!! but yet my hp health check keeps saying i should do a disk clean up well i did it several times(i should note that there is no option to remove old versions like it says on the health check)and deleted everything except the hibernation mode option, i also searched for it on my computer says it doesnt exist and i have the show hidden files option turned on too im doing a disk defrag right now but as of yet my hp health check still says the problem isnt resolved…what is going on???? please email me @ blister.in.the.sun@hotmail.com if you know (RE: windows.old or i will just delete it thank you!!!!)

  • TheKastOne

    Thanks a bunch, worked like a charm.