How to Free up Space after Windows Upgrade

Like all upgrades, Windows 10 upgrade also occupies massive space on your hard drive which contains old Windows Files, i.e., Users, Documents, Program Files, System files, etc. in the Windows.OLD folder. If you are running out of free disk space after Windows Upgrade, there is a way to reclaim that space. However, you need to make sure all your files are in place, and you have used it for some time to get convinced.  Since these folders have a copy of your old data, anything missing can be recovered from here.

How to Free up Space after Windows Upgrade

There are multiple ways to reclaim space after Windows upgrade.

  1. Storage Sense & Temporary Files
  2. Manually Delete files
  3. Find and Delete files in other folders
  4. Uninstall Unwanted Programs

The backup files are usually deleted after 30 days. So make sure to cross check if any of the data are missing.

1) Storage Sense & Temporary Files

Free up Space Windows Upgrade

Windows 10 comes with Storage Sense feature. It can help you automatically clean up files, or you can set it up to do so.

  • Open Settings > Storage and click on Configure Storage Sense or run it now.
  • Here you can configure to run storage space
    • When the primary disk is low on space
    • Delete temporary files every few days
    • Delete files from the download folder
  • The last option is Clean Now. Click on it to manually delete files based on the set criteria.

You can also choose to click on Temporary Files section in the Storage, and it will list down all the files which can be removed. It will have options to delete Windows Update files and Windows.old folder.

The below method still works.

  • Right click on the drive where you installed Windows and select Properties > General Tab > Disk Cleanup.
  • It will list down the usual files that can be deleted. In this place, look for the option which says “Clean Up System Files.” Click on that.
  • It will then scan for a few more things, including, the Previous Installation.
  • Once listed, you will be able to view the size, which in my case was 26.6GB.
  • Just select and hit clean.

Cleaning up Old Windows Installation After Windows Upgrade

2) Manually Delete Windows.OLD Folder

The chances are that automated will work for you nicely, but in case it does not navigate to the drive where you installed Windows and look for a folder which says “WINDOWS.OLD.” Check for size and what’s inside it to be convinced enough that it’s your old windows. Once you are sure, delete it and then from recycle bin.

Windows Old Folder of Previous Installation

Done that, the right amount of space will be free on your Installation partition where you can install any number of apps you want. If these don’t help, then here two more tips.

3) Find what is occupying space

I will suggest you use programs like WinDirStats, which gives you a graphical view of folder sizes and subfolder details which will provide you with a distinct idea of what is occupying space. Sometimes you might have copied a movie file into it and forgotten, or the infamous MSOCache file for Office take up a lot of space.

4) Uninstall Unwanted Programs

I did this check before upgrading, but in case you did not, I will strongly suggest you do it now. You can follow two methods here :

  • One, Go to Uninstall Programs section and sort the listed program by size. See if there is anything which is installed, taking a lot of space and you are not using it much.
  • Second, check for the list of apps you use in Microsoft Store. Though it will not clean up much, some apps from Store take less space and provide an integrated experience.

So all the best with cleaning up, do it smartly and if you have any questions, ask us in the comments.


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