Veteran Windows users know that previous versions of Windows installed on a computer are kept on disk when the operating system is upgraded to a new version.
These upgrades can be from an older version of Windows, say Windows 7, to a newer one, say Windows 10, or from an older version of Windows 10 to a newer version.
The main reason why the old version of Windows is kept on disk is that users may restore it should they run into issues with the newer version.
Note: This means that you should only run Disk Cleanup once you are reasonably sure that the new version of Windows works fine. A backup is still recommended just to be prepared for all eventualities.
Disk Cleanup after upgrade to Windows 10 Creators Update
Tip: Find out how to speed up the loading of the full Disk Cleanup interface on Windows 10, or by using a command.
Disk Cleanup is a built-in tool of Windows that enables you to remove — mostly — temporary files or logs on the system.
The elevated version of Disk Cleanup supports the removal of old versions of Windows, and this is exactly what you may want to do after making sure that the new Windows 10 Creators Update version installed fine on the PC. I suggest you wait at least a couple of days before you run Disk Cleanup.
Here is what you need to do to clean up the old Windows installation:
- Tap on the Windows-key on the computer keyboard, type Disk Cleanup, and select the tool when the results are displayed.
- Select the main drive (usually c:).
- When the Disk Cleanup interface opens, click on “Clean up system files”.
- Select the main drive again.
- Locate “Previous Windows installation(s)” under files to delete, and check the box next to the entry.
- Select other items that you may want to clean.
- Click ok to run the process.
- Confirm the prompt (are you sure you want to permanently delete these files).
- Confirm the second prompt during cleanup that informs you that you won’t be able to restore previous Windows installations if you delete the files.
The Disk Cleanup tool removes the old Windows installation, and frees up disk space that it occupied in the process. Please note that it may take a couple of minutes to clean up old Windows installations.
As you can see on the screenshot above, the previous installation of Windows — the Windows 10 Anniversary Edition in this case — took up 32.9 Gigabytes of hard drive space. In case you are wondering where those files are located on the disk. You find the Windows.old folder on the primary partition, e.g. c:windows.old usually.
Now You: How much disk space did Disk Cleanup free up on your system?
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