How to use the Disk Cleanup feature to delete the Windows.old folder after you install Windows Vista

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Article ID: 930527 - View products that this article applies to.

Support for Windows Vista without any service packs installed ended on April 13, 2010. To continue receiving security updates for Windows, make sure you're running Windows Vista with Service Pack 2 (SP2). For more information, refer to this Microsoft web page: Support is ending for some versions of Windows

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INTRODUCTION

This article describes when and how to use the Disk Cleanup feature after you install Windows Vista. For example, consider the following scenario:
  • You perform a custom installation of Windows Vista or a clean installation of Windows Vista.
  • The computer on which you install Windows Vista already contains a Microsoft Windows operating system.
In this scenario, the earlier installation of Windows is moved to a folder on the root of the drive. This folder is named "Windows.old." Inside this folder, you can find one or more of the following subfolders:
  • Windows
  • Program Files
  • Documents and Settings
  • Users
It is standard to delete the Windows.old folder after the Windows Vista installation process is complete.

Note Before you delete the "Documents and Settings" folder or the Users folder, make sure that all personal files and all data have been copied to the "Documents and Settings" folder on the new Windows Vista installation. For more information about how to recover personal information from the Windows.old folder, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
932912 How to restore your personal files after you perform a custom installation of Windows Vista

MORE INFORMATION

To delete the Windows.old folder from an earlier installation of Windows, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, type disk cleanup in the Start Search text box, and then click Disk Cleanup.
  2. In the Disk Cleanup Options dialog box, click Files from all users on this computer.
  3. In the User Account Control dialog box, click Continue.
  4. Click to select the Previous Windows installation(s) check box, and then click OK.
Advanced users can also use a command prompt to delete files and folders from an earlier installation of Windows Vista. To do this, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, click All Programs, click Accessories, right-click Command Prompt, and then click Run as administrator.
  2. In the User Account Control dialog box, click Continue.
  3. At the command prompt, type takeown /F <DriveLetter>:\<FolderName>\* /R /A, and then press ENTER.

    Note When you run this command, you are granted ownership of the administrator group for the folder, of all the subdirectories in the folder, and of all the files in the folder.
  4. At the command prompt, type cacls <DriveLetter>:\<FolderName>\*.* /T /grant administrators:F, and then press ENTER.

    Note When you run this command, administrators are granted full rights to all files and to all folders.
  5. At the command prompt, type rmdir /S /Q <DriveLetter>:\<FolderName>\, and then press ENTER.

    Note When you run this command, all subfolders and all files in the specified folder are deleted. Additionally, the specified folder itself is deleted.

Properties

Article ID: 930527 - Last Review: April 10, 2007 - Revision: 1.5
APPLIES TO
  • Windows Vista Ultimate
  • Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Enterprise
  • Windows Vista Enterprise 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Business
  • Windows Vista Business 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Home Basic
  • Windows Vista Home Basic 64-bit Edition
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