RTM fresh install won't let me delete Windows.old


New Member
!> I will emphasise that it is not a bug.

Sorry, but not being able to delete windows.old is *certainly* a bug,
especially if I can't even format the partition where windows.old is located in.

!> You must now enable the Global Administrator account to return
!> to the same security conditions that you experienced in Xp.

How is that done...and would doing that prevent the permissions problem on windows.old ?

!> Cannot answer the "Ace" query, sorry.

It only cost me a few hours of sweating meatballs. ;-)
Not to worry.

!> Correct, if you use the "format" option, your partition/harddisk, will have the
!> "quick" format applied and you will not have the "Windows.old" folder

Thanks for that info.
I'll make sure to keep that in mind in future installs.


Extraordinary Member
"How is that done...and would doing that prevent the permissions problem on windows.old "

There are a couple of ways:
Open a command prompt (Run as Administrator).
Type the following command and enter.
net user administrator /active
Log out and see if you have a new alternative (Administrator) login, as well as your existing one. If not, do it the long way.
Shut down the computer for a cold boot. Tap the "F8" key as you are booting.
Select "Safe Mode with networking" from the boot menu.
Log into windows 7 with your personal account that holds the administrator access.
Open a command window (START--->RUN--->CMD.exe). At the command prompt type the following net user administrator /active
Log out and log back in as administrator.

Another way
Go to Start
Type Control UserPasswords2.
Click Advanced.
Click Advanced again.
Select Users.
Select Administrator and untick the the box “Administrator is disabledâ€Â￾
Now log out and login as Administrator.
Either action leaves you a little more vulnerable to outside attack. Not a big issue if you are confident with your anti virus control etc.


Honorable Member
I recently did a new RTM install into a a partition that already had another copy of RTM. It put the old windows in Windows.old. I just held my breath after reading this and did a shift-delete on the windows.old folder. It said deleting 92,805 items. After about a minute - gone ! First try. No tricks required. I'm usually not this lucky.:)


Extraordinary Member
I suspect the OP has found a way. The thread is a week old.


Honorable Member
I didn't have anything to offer him. I was just simply letting others who may happen to browse the thread know that the problem doesn't apparently occur in all cases.


New Member
Did you try running Disk Cleanup ?

It's a lot easier.

Rak - it might be that Win 7 will let you rt click and delete win7.old, but not other windows.old folders - I haven't been able to check that tho.

Disk Cleanup should offer up Windows.old for removal, anyhow.

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Senior Member
OK guys, I found this answer elsewhere and it worked just fine. Easy. Fast.

Use Disk Cleanup. It has the option to remove old system files

Start Disk Cleanup
Choose the Remove System Files option
Disk Cleanup will restart - this time calculating space of old system files
Choose More Options
On the System Restore and Shadow Copies section choose "Clean Up"
Couples minutes later - all files gone. More than 29GB of unneeded files GONE.


New Member
LOL - didn't I just mention that in my previous post?

Glad you managed to get it cleaned up , anyhow- and thanks for reporting back.


Senior Member
LOL - didn't I just mention that in my previous post?

Glad you managed to get it cleaned up , anyhow- and thanks for reporting back.
Yes you did. But I wasn't on the last page when I typed the answer. I was reading the very first post on the first page. So didn't see your answer. At least if anyone else looks for the answer they'll get some detail on how to do it. ;-) I spent days finding that answer for myself so thought I'd help and answer as well. It's all good.


New Member
I wish that were true and that you were correct instead of mistaken.
Unfortunately, I *did* select "Custom" (clean) install when setup started.

I just tested again, selecting "Custom" install.
I just got a dialogue which states, in very clear terms :

The partition you have selected might contain files from a previous Windows installation.
If it does, these files and folders will be moved to a folder named windows.old.
You will be able to access the information in Windows.old, but you will not
be able to use your previous version of Windows.

So much for your impression that a "clean" install to a partition
which houses a previous version of Windows will not get saddled
with the windows.old directory which, to boot, is unerasable.

During the Beta period, I tested reinstalls to already-installed partitions.
There was no problem deleting the windows.old directory then.

I will be filing a bug at Connect's Windows 7 Beta
feedback program regarding this permissions problem.

In any case, I'm trying to fix the permissions problem, given that I've found no way to delete windows.old.
Any ideas about how to go about that ?
Custom install was the "correct" choice, but in order to avoid windows from keeping the old OS in a folder, when u choose the partition where to install win7, press the down right button (don't remember the name!) to show the extra option for the partition. then simply format this partition and here u go. the partition will be REALLY clean!!
hope that helped!


New Member
unable to delete win.old easily after clean install

If you have the windows.old folder then you didn't do a "fresh install".. ;) If you had done a clean install that folder wouldn't exist.. ;)
Yeah, I do and I did.
Hi everybody-just spent over 4 hours last night attempting to install the RC1 to my backup pc so I can play with win 7 before I get the final version in Oct and it was not fun.
My 2 cents worth-Hey Microsoft, If I am the administrator ( root) of my machine, I can do anything I want to it including breaking it beyond repair, because I OWN it.
Anyway, set up a new partition formatted it ntfs and tried to install win 7 into it but it kept starting over (approx 4-5 times before it completed the install) then when I finally booted in to the new win 7 desktop I discovered that there were 3 win.old folders each with 2-8 GB of installation files from ea of the failed installs. by changing permissions and taking ownership I was able to delete some of the files in the folders but only win.old.002 completely. after 4 hours of this nonsense, gave it up as a bad job. Will reformat the partition and try again tonight.
So, why is it creating win.old on a clean install into a newly formatted partition?

Do I have to hide my windows xp home sp3 installation on the first primary partition before I try to install win 7 on the second and should it be primary as well? I think mine may be a logical partition as I leeched it from the third partition on that drive which is a data partition. should delete and recreate as primary then try to install before I hide my xp?

Thanks for your help,


(edit) saw the post referencing disk cleanup. will try that tonight. Thanks!

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Extraordinary Member
Premium Supporter
Clean Install

I can relay some information that I just happened to stumble across that I didn't realize previously about this "in place" upgrade and "clean install" upgrade. When I first installed the RTM (genuine copy downloaded from Technet Plus), I placed the DVD in the drive (expecting not much to happen until I shut down and restarted with the DVD in the drive), but the autorun window gave me the opportunity to install the OS. I thought it kinda strange that I didn't have to restart and boot from the DVD drive, but I proceded. Guess what! I wound up with an inplace upgrade (from RC version 7260) with a windows.old file containing certain files and folders. I played with that for a couple of days and eventually figured out that I hadn't performed a "clean install" and didn't want the setup I had. I repeated the procedure of placing the DVD in the drive, but this time I ignored the message offering to install Windows 7 and I restarted the computer and selected "boot from CD/DVD" option. This time I got a "clean install" without windows.old.

The moral of the story is: You have to boot from the DVD to perform a "clean install"! This isn't really made clear from the information provided. It appears from my experience with this incident that, as Radenight pointed out earlier, if you wind up with a windows.old folder, you did not perform a clean install.

I cannot recall at the moment where it was, but I saw a link somewhere to instructions for deleting windows.old, so apparently it can be easily deleted but requires some "trick" procedure.

Hope this helps someone avoid a setup that they didn't intend to wind up with.

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New Member
I have just did a clean Install of windows 7 ultimate rtm and everything went fine,no windows.old folder.When I got to the partition option I Just choose to install windows 7 on the full partition apart from what the system needed.


Extraordinary Member
I think the built in "Disk cleanup" does it. It may be needed to "Run as Administrator" I cannot fully remmeber as I have been replacing with images since RTM, but I am sure it is that simple. After you have run the program and the windo appears, you have to scroll and check the appropriate box. (Anyone?)

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