Should I Delete Windows Setup Files?

We’ve all been familiar with Windows, the operating system, likely since we started using computers. Windows has always had the largest market share of desktop operating systems, so even if you grew up using a Mac, you knew what it was. 

Back in the day, you’d need a CD with Windows on it to get it set up, but these days, you can easily download the files onto a USB drive. It’s ridiculously easy, and as a result, more people are installing Windows by themselves. If you aren’t clear on how to do this, this guide will serve as a good helper.

But they tend to meet one issue. After installing, they find some files which are remnants of the installation process. What are we meant to do with these Windows setup files? Can we delete them, or will that break our computers?

So, if you’ve been asking yourself, “should I delete Windows setup files?” the answer is here in this article for you.

Do you have a particular question about learning how and why remove Windows setup files? Then use the table of contents below to jump to the most relevant section. And you can always go back by clicking on the black arrow in the right bottom corner of the page. Also, please note that some of the links in this article may be affiliate links. For more details, check the Disclosure section at the bottom of the page. 

What are Windows setup files?

When you choose to upgrade Windows or do a clean install, you’ll have to run the installation application. When this does its job, it will deposit some setup files on your PC. Instead of accessing the application, you opened initially, it can now run the setup from those temporary files that it created. 

Many people know about these files because they do not always get cleared when the installation has finished. When you go into your hard drive, you will likely see them there, doing nothing, or so it seems.

This is what brings the question to many people’s minds: are Windows setup files important, or can you get rid of them just like that?

Do you need Windows setup files?

So, to answer the question asked above, do you need Windows setup files? Over 1.3 billion people are running the latest edition of Windows, so this is a question that gets asked a lot.

Well, the truth is, the moment your installation has successfully been completed, those files are just remnants of the process. They won’t serve any purpose on your PC from that point on except taking up space. Even if you do another installation, they won’t come in useful.

Is it safe to delete Windows setup files?

As long as your Windows installation is complete, you don’t need these setup files any longer. The last thing you want is your fresh Windows installation to be cluttered with these unnecessary files. Not only do they take up space, but they’ll make your new installation look rather cluttered. No one wants that!

So, yes, you can absolutely delete win setup files. It won’t have any impact on your computer in any form apart from giving you extra space to enjoy.

Be careful, though. Suppose you somehow manage to delete these files before the installation is successful. In that case, it can have negative effects, and you may need to redo the setup. For this reason, make sure that you have completed the process before deleting Windows setup files.

Where are win setup files?

If you’ve gotten this far and you don’t know the win setup files location, you’re likely looking for where they are, so you hurry up and clear those files from your system. That’s extra space that you could be using after all.

If you enter your main hard drive, typically the C drive, there should be a folder called “Windows.old” in your file explorer. Not only does this contain the temporary installation files, but it also holds all the files from your previous installation of Windows. If there’s nothing that you wish to keep there and you’ve completed the installation, you can go ahead to delete this.

Other installation files are in hidden folders such as “$WINDOWS.~BT”. You can delete this as well.

How to delete win setup files in Windows?

But now you’re wondering how exactly to remove win setup files. Well, the good thing is that there is one very easy way to achieve this. It involves using a facility on Windows known as Disk Cleanup.

The following steps will teach you how to clear win setup files on your Windows PC:

  1. Click on the Start button.
  2. In the search bar, type in “Disk Cleanup.”
  3. Before clicking on it, right-click and select “Run as Administrator.” This will open the app with advanced privileges.
  4. When the program launches, you’ll be asked to select the drive from a drop-down menu. Choose the one that had Windows installed on it previously. It is likely to be C:. Press OK.
  5. You will see many file groups that you can clear from the system at this point. If you don’t know what you’re doing, simply unselect everything first off.
  6. Once you’ve done this, you can tick “Temporary Windows installation files” and “Windows upgrade log files.” Press OK.
  7. Click “Delete Files” to get rid of those files and free up a lot of space.

There are some other ways to get this same effect, but honestly, this is the most straightforward way to get it done.

Credits: Thanks for the photo to Canva.

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