If you are one of those who have upgraded from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1, there is a way to free up a lot of disk space. It makes use of a special setting in the Windows Disk Cleanup system utility.
When you upgrade to Windows 8.1, the previous Windows 8 files are saved in a special hidden system folder called "Windows.old". Added later: On some sytems the file is only marked Read-only. This is a backup in case something goes wrong with the upgrade. The old files take up several GB of space (on my system, nearly 6 GB). Once you are sure that the new Windows 8.1 system is working properly, there is no need to keep these files, especially if your disk space is limited. However, this special folder cannot be deleted in the usual way and here is how to remove the files. (But remember, once deleted, they cannot be recovered.)
- Open This PC (the new name for Computer)
- Right-click the system drive (usually C:)
- Select “Properties” in the context menu
- Click the button ”Disk Cleanup”
- Windows will take some time to do some calculations
- Click the button “Clean up system files”
- Windows will take some more time and do some more calculations
- A new tab “More Options” will be selected and an enlarged list presented. The graphic below is an example of the dialog box that appears
- Put a check by “Previous Windows installation(s)” and anything else you want to clean up
- Click “OK”
- You will be asked if you are sure you want to delete the files. Click “Delete files”
The cleanup will take some time. It may be best to let it run and not try to use the computer during the cleanup process. A similar procedure can be used for an upgrade from Windows 7.
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This tips section is maintained by Vic Laurie. Vic runs several websites with Windows how-to's, guides, and tutorials, including a site for learning about Windows and the Internet and another with Windows 7 tips.
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