Should I Delete Windows Setup Files? (10 Step Guide)

This article is about queries everyone has’ should I delete windows setup files? ‘Windows Operating System is one of the leading operating systems globally, and it’s most likely the OS that we’ve all been familiar with. Having played a crucial role in revolutionizing personal computing experience in the 80s, today, Windows holds the largest market share for desktop operating systems, with 1.3 billion devices running Windows 10.

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With fast-changing technology, the way Windows is set up on PCs has also changed. Gone are the days of CDs with tedious and time-consuming setup processes. Today windows can be easily downloaded onto a USB drive, or it can be downloaded from the cloud if you have a licensed version, making the process of installing or updating the OS a tremendously easy task for an average user. 

This article below aims to provide answers to the following questions

  • What exactly are windows setup files?
  • What are extra setup files?
  • Should I delete windows setup files?

What exactly are Windows setup files?

When you run the installation application to upgrade Windows or perform a fresh install, it deposits some setup files on your PC. This is usually in the C: drive – instead of accessing the application you opened initially, it can now run the setup through temporary files that it created.

windows setup files
windows setup files – should I delete windows setup files

The problem with this is post-installation. These files will not be cleared from the PC and are visible on a simple search. These files have no purpose post-installation and take up storage space. We will move forward in answering your question’ should I delete windows setup files? ‘

What are extra setup files?

extra setup files
extra setup files

As we try to install and constantly update windows, we find that the setup files of previous installations are still present on our PC. These remnants take up storage space on your PC and clutter the storage with old and new setup files. These are the extra windows setup files that are old and safe to delete.

Should I delete windows setup files?

Deleting any windows file is a terrifying task, and for a good reason. These files are essential for your Windows OS to run without crashing, and they are hidden from the users to avoid accidental deletes. If you want to delete Windows setup files, it is crucial to understand the files that are safe and not safe to delete.

The following are safe to delete

  • Windows. old
  • Windows setup files
  • $Windows.~BT

The following are not safe to delete

  • C:\Windows
  • Windows system files in AppData, Program Files, Program Data

Should I delete windows setup files? How to delete Windows setup files?

To help with the process of deleting Windows setup files, Microsoft has provided a unique tool called “Disk Cleanup,” which comes built-in with Windows 10 operating system. This tool helps delete setup files from older installations, thus allowing users to free up additional space on their PC. 

However, as handy as this tool is, there are crucial aspects to understand before running disk cleanup.

  • Disk Cleanup does not permanently delete setup files from your personal computer.
  • It negates your hard drive’s ability to detect setup files and allows your PC to overwrite them with other data.
  • Users can still find the data from the old setup files on your hard drive, making it recoverable.
  • Disk Cleanup makes the old setup files redundant by hiding them, but it might still impact your computer’s processing power.
  • You can delete other temporary files as well using Disk Cleanup.

Should I delete windows setup files? : Here’s the 10-step guide on how to delete windows setup files

Step-1: Click on the search bar in the bottom right corner of your windows home screen.

Step-2: Enter “disk cleanup” into the search bar

run administrator
run administrator – should I delete windows setup files

Step-3: On the disk cleanup app, select the “Run as administrator” option

Step-4: Once the disk cleanup app’s “Drive selection” pop-up opens, select the drive which contains the files of your Windows operating system.

disk cleanup
disk cleanup

Step-5: Once you’ve selected the drive where your Windows operating system files are located, the pop-up will show all the unwanted files logged on your PC. Click the checkboxes for “previous Windows installations” and “temporary windows installation files.”

Step-6: Remember to uncheck all the other options except the temporary windows installation files and previous windows installations.

temporary- should I delete windows setup files

Step -7: Click on the “Ok” button

Step-8: A pop-up would ask if you permanently delete the selected files and select the delete files option. This takes some time to complete.

delete files
delete files

Step-9: After the disk cleanup process is complete, Restart your PC.

Step-10: (Optional) Roughly come through the temp folder and end the drive to see if you can find any old setup files. 


As mentioned earlier, this tool will not delete old files permanently. It masks the signs and makes it impossible for your hard drive to detect these files, but they are still stored on your PC’s hard drive.

One effective way to delete unwanted files – old windows, temp files, or personal files – and better your PC performance is to perform a Windows Reset with permanent delete files options. This resets your windows OS by reinstalling it to a state when you first installed the OS on your PC. And deletes any other applications, files, etc., that you may have manually installed or saved on your PC. This is a one-time operation and cleans the slate thoroughly. Hopefully, this article ‘should I delete windows setup files ?’ will be helpful for our readers. 

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About the Author: McKenzie Smith

Hello, I am McKenzie and I am totally obsessed with getting the best experience out of every device that I use. Hence, I started this blog to help others make the most of their devices and fix errors in a jiffy! :)

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