Here's something I've wondered about for years and never got around to asking. A recent example:

I reinstalled Win 10. I transfered all data from Windows old to the new OS. When I highlight the Windows Old folder, it says it is empty. but when I start to delete the folder, the progression bar shows several hundred files being deleted. If the folder is empty, where do these figures come from?


The Windows.old folder is normal. There are a lot of articles about it on the web so I will avoid duplicating the web here. After some time, Microsoft will clean it off for you. You can ignore it if you wish or you can do more research.

Despite having all the files and folders, your Windows PC warns you that the selected drive is empty. The error occurs due to several reasons such as virus or malware infection, damaged device drivers, hardware issue, file system corruption, and a few other common issues.

Maybe there are lots of files in the folder but your user account doesn’t own them / have permission to read them, so it’s showing up as 0?

Something else I’ve noticed is that I don’t believe the file count is recursive. Meaning if there are files within sub folders, they aren’t counted. So the file count is just how many files are immediate children of the folder you’re investigating.

I appreciate all the replies though I guess I'll never know for sure. And keep in mind, this has happened several times before and on different machines which would probably rule out virus, damaged drivers, etc.

After I do a reinstall and after I cut and paste all my personal files from Windows.old to the new installation, Windows.old is 'empty'. There is nothing to be seen in the folder.

Yet, when I attempt to delete this 'empty' folder is when I see hundreds of files being deleted. If it were a matter of permissions, I doubt I would have been able to cut files from the folder.

There is really no problem here as I am able to retrieve all the files I need before deleting the folder. I was just curious as to what all the files shown in the progression bar during deletion were. I have never missed anything important after deleting the Windows.old folder with all its mysterious files, which makes sense as files stored in Windows .old would not be used by the new system anyway.


The proper way to get rid of windows.old is to use the Windows Disk Cleanup utility. You have to select Clean Up System Files.



Open My Computer.
Click on the Search Tab to open the Search Menu.
From the Search Menu set the Size filter to Empty and be certain that the All subfolder feature is checked.
After the search ends, it will display all archives and folders that do now not take up any reminiscence space.

commented: What is "reminiscence space"? +15

What is "reminiscence space"?

There's an amusing old story about how all those files got there...

commented: There's another story about teens and their "homework" folders too. "How did that get there?" A: Science research. +15

I got an email notification that there had been another reply to this thread. The reply was from matthewaker1. I don't find that reply anywhere in this thread.

So sorry for the confusion. He posted “thanks” and a moderator later deleted it for not being of any substance. However, I can understand the confusion because you received an email notification anyways.