Windows 10: Mystery activities inside Windows.old Solved


  1. Posts : 84
    Windows 7-pro-sp1 and windows 10-pro-1703
       07 Nov 2017 #1

    Mystery activities inside Windows.old


    On Oct22 I updated 1703 to 1709 and windows.old was created, as expected. 20gig.
    I did not get rid of it yet - just watching for it disappearing in 10 days, but it's still here.

    Now, things get insteresting: Yesterday I noticed there is stuff written to it on Nov4.
    2 directories: Software distribution and in system32/driverstore/filerepository with 25 files.

    Today, Nov7, filerepository vanished. And Software distribution has 19 files.
    So much for a static state of windows.old. That's a mystery to me.
    What's going on? If I wanted (I don't) to revert back to 1703 - how can that be done when it changes?
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  2. Posts : 805
    Windows 10 Pro 1803 64 bit
       07 Nov 2017 #2

    I have a bunch of Software distribution files in my Window.old also. All the other stuff has been erased so no going back.

    Jim
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  3. Posts : 84
    Windows 7-pro-sp1 and windows 10-pro-1703
    Thread Starter
       07 Nov 2017 #3

    Did you erase other files or did Windows do it?
    And WHY would they write into a directory that's supposed to be for going back to pre-1709 state?
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  4. Posts : 805
    Windows 10 Pro 1803 64 bit
       08 Nov 2017 #4

    91fw said: View Post
    Did you erase other files or did Windows do it?
    And WHY would they write into a directory that's supposed to be for going back to pre-1709 state?
    Windows did it. I just happen to check it one day as I was expecting it to disappear.

    Jim
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  5. Posts : 84
    Windows 7-pro-sp1 and windows 10-pro-1703
    Thread Starter
       08 Nov 2017 #5

    Thanks. Interesting that Windows did it.
    Still watching this madness.
    My windows.old is still here, and still has 19 files added Nov4 -
    C:\Windows.old\WINDOWS\SoftwareDistribution\Download\f875fbb4cab0384277a81aa667874b95
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  6.    09 Nov 2017 #6

    Most likely what you are seeing is due to the use of hard links for some of the system files. When files with hard links are updated, all of the linked instances appear updated (of course, since a hard link is simply an additional filesystem reference pointing to a single file). If files that Windows currently uses and actively updates have hard links into Windows.old, it appears as if files in that folder have been updated (which they have, in a sense).
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  7. Posts : 805
    Windows 10 Pro 1803 64 bit
       09 Nov 2017 #7

    Yesterday I did a Disk Cleanup on C: and it removed Windows.old.
    I have Macrium images if I ever have to go back.

    Jim
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  • Posts : 84
    Windows 7-pro-sp1 and windows 10-pro-1703
    Thread Starter
       09 Nov 2017 #8

    Windows cleared the contents of windows.old today. It's no longer 20GB.
    The stuff that remained are 19 software distribution folders, 1.7GB, from Build 16299.15 of the first 1709 job.
    I followed the directory and file dates back to the initial 1709 build, which, soon after got replaced by Build 16299.19.
    So at least I know what happened. Why they modified Windows.old on Nov4 I will never know.
    Anyway, today I ran disk cleanup and it's now gone.
    I, too, have images so I needed windows.old like a hole in the head.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  •    10 Nov 2017 #9

    I saw this earlier this year on some upgrades when, for whatever reason, the current runtime kept insisting on using drivers from the Windows.old folder tree rather than the new environment. The only way I was able to fix it was to boot to the install media, run the repair option, go to the command line, and then forcibly delete the Windows.old contents. I had to start from the bottom of the file hierarchy and work my way to the root level, BTW, to get everything removed. If all else fails, that's always an option.
    HTH,
    --Ed--
      My ComputersSystem Spec


  • Posts : 84
    Windows 7-pro-sp1 and windows 10-pro-1703
    Thread Starter
       10 Nov 2017 #10

    Ed, That's interesting. In post #6 Pirx said something similar to what you just wrote.
    I didn't have to go through the hoops you described. Disk cleanup seems to have taken care of deleting. I rebooted, and so far no issues. Of course I won't know for sure till the next patch tuesday if windows will want to see those downloaded updates in windows.old. I suspect nothing will happen.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


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