Where is my windows.old folder?
March 24, 2009 11:47 AM   Subscribe

My first Vista problem: I can't find my Windows.old folder to delete it. OS details and much, much

A routine CPU check up showed that my 136 GB hard drive is almost full to capacity. A notice popped up informing me that "an older copy of Windows is using significant hard disk space."

Clicking on that led to this explanation:
"When you upgraded from Windows XP to Window Vista or re-installed Windows Vista the previous version of Windows was saved in a folder c:\windows.old. This folder is very large (greater than 5 GB) depending on the number of programs and data files that existed on your previous version of Windows. HP recommends copying any old files you want over to your new version and delete Windows.old to free up disk space."

My laptop came loaded with Vista Home Premium and I have never upgraded (or even tried the Windows 7 Beta).

My laptop came equipped with an HP tutorial on how to delete the files via Disk Cleanup, but there is no option to do so when I ran that utility and followed their instructions. None of the solutions I found through Google have helped, either.

I cannot locate the folder even when I have enabled the "view hidden files" option.

Any assistance is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
posted by YFiB to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
Have you looked in My Computer->C: drive->Windows.old?
posted by wongcorgi at 11:51 AM on March 24, 2009

Response by poster: Yes. I am told that "Windows cannot find 'C:\Windows.old'."
posted by YFiB at 11:54 AM on March 24, 2009

Best answer: Go download SequoiaView and run it. It will visualize all of the hard drive space being utilized on your system as big blocks. Mouse over a block and see what's using the most space. It groups blocks by directory, too, and you can drill down if necessary, and launch the folder in Explorer to deal with it.
posted by disillusioned at 12:00 PM on March 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

Give this a try.
posted by syntheticfaith at 12:01 PM on March 24, 2009

Sounds like a duff error message to me based on your explanation and searching, so there's probably not a windows.old folder to find anywhere.

Through My Computer, look and see what folders are in the C: drive. Might be useful to list them here so people can query them further.

As a starting point, perhaps view properties and see how much data is in each folder - there might be an obvious anomaly there.
posted by saintsguy at 12:01 PM on March 24, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone. That was fast. I had already tried the methods suggested by syntheticfaith and wongcorgi, but I appreciate the help regardless.

The SequoiaView search seems to back up the contention made by disillusioned. That folder just must not exist. My podcast downloading seems to be the culprit.

Thanks again.
posted by YFiB at 12:18 PM on March 24, 2009

Vista is really amazingly terrible at cleaning up temp files. They hang around in an invisible directory and consume immense amounts of space.

You can get rid of them pretty easily, however. Open "My Computer" and right-click a drive and choose "properties". Then click "disk cleanup". That will find, and give you the opportunity to delete, old dead temp files you no longer need. Last time I did that I got 4G of disk space back, mostly from stale temp files.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 12:35 PM on March 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

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