How to delete Windows.old folder after Windows 10 Upgrade

July 4, 2015   /   by Marco  / Categories :  Technology
File Access Denied

If you’ve recently updated to Windows 10, you will notice in your C: there will be a Windows.old folder.

Windows.old folder

This is your previous version of Windows and it will be there until you remove it. On my computer the folder is about 15GB and on a 60GB SSD it was worthwhile for me to remove this.

Windows.old folder size

Selecting the folder and pressing delete won’t work. You will receive a message saying access denied, just like below.

File Access Denied

Also changing permissions, removing the Read Only attributes, using the Administrator account also didn’t work.

My solution

Enable the Administrator account by right clicking on This PC and select Manage.

Manage Options

Click on Local Users and Groups. Select Users and you will see the Administrator account disabled.

Administrator Account Disabled


Double click on Administrator.

Administrator disabled

Make sure “Account is disabled” is not selected. There should be no tick in the check box just like this.

Administrator disabled

Press OK.  You now need to switch to the administrator account. Click on the Start Icon and click on the profile image at the top.

Switch Profile

Select Administrator

Change to administrator

You will now be logged in as the Administrator. Now follow these extra steps.

Open Windows Explorer (shortcut is the Windows Key and E). Right click on the Windows.old folder and select Properties

Right Click on Folder

Click on the Security Tab and Click Advanced.

Security Tab

Click on Change

Permission of Windows.old folder1


In the Enter the object name to select type:


Administrator Ownership

Make sure “replace owner on subcontainers and objects is selected”

Replace ownership

Click OK and let it run. If you receive a message “You do not have permission to read the contents of directory xxx. Do you want to replace the directory permissions with permissions granting you Full Control?”

Select Yes.

Replace permissions

Once it’s finished you will receive this message:

Windows Security Message

Now go back to the folder properties and click on the Security Tab. You will notice the administrators group doesn’t have any permissions set.

Click edit

Security Tab no permissions

Now you should be able to delete the folder. Here’s a screenshot of the folder deleted.

Folder successfully deleted


I hope this has helped some of you. If you need any further help, please let me know by leaving a comment.
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