How To Remove Windows.old(1) Unable to Delete Microsoft.Windows.Cortana

With Windows 10, especially if you are enrolled in the Windows Insider Preview Program, upgrading to a new version of Windows 10 can be very frequent. When you upgrade to a newer release of Windows, by default, Microsoft will keep previous Windows state and store all the files under “Windows.old“. Over time it can accumulate and take up the valuable space on the main drive. We covered how to properly remove Windows.old directory and showed you tips on the new method Microsoft added in Windows 10.

All those are excellent ways to clean up the disk space when it comes to deleting Windows.old folder. However, with recent Windows 10 insider updates, I’ve noticed Windows.old folder stays regardless of which method I used. What’s worse is, with every new Windows 10 insider upgrade Windows.old folders grow into Windows.old(1), Windows.old(2), Windows.old(3) etc … and you cannot delete them from the Windows Explorer!

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If you ever take a peek at what’s inside those Windows.old directories, you will notice a repeated pattern. A leaf folder named Micorosft.Windows.Cortana_randomstring is not available and unable to delete due to Item Not Found.


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If the location is on this PC, make sure the device or drive is connected or the disc is inserted, and then try again. If the location is on a network, make sure you’re connected to the network or Internet, and then try again. If the location still cannot be found, it might have been moved or deleted.

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We know that Windows has already removed all the content in Windows.old but with this exception. For some reason, it didn’t remove and we are left with duplicated Windows.old folders.

Fix Windows.old(1) Unable To Delete

We can help Windows to manually remove them even it doesn’t allow us to do so in the Windows Explorer.

Start Command Prompt (cmd) with Administrator privilege, and type
cd C:
and then enter
rd "Windows.old(1)" /s /q

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This will remove whatever is left under “Windows.old(1)” recursively and not prompt you any questions about any subfolders.

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Repeat a few more times until you have finished cleaning up all the lingering-around Windows.old directories. This is how to solve and clean up all the Windows.old(1) folders on your Windows 10. Happy insider!


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