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Folders “$Windows.~BT” and “$Windows.~WS.” What Are They For and Can You Delete Them?

Read this article about system folders “$WINDOWS.~BT” and “$WINDOWS.~WS”: what’s inside, where these folders are located, why your computer needs them, and whether they can be removed. The folders $WINDOWS.~BT and $WINDOWS.~WS are created by the operating system when it is upgraded. These directories may appear in any 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows 7, 8 or 10, and the files inside them may take up a few gigabytes off your disk space count.

Folders “$Windows.~BT” and “$Windows.~WS.” What Are They For and Can You Delete Them?

ATTENTION! These folders are automatically assigned the “hidden” attribute, so if you want to see them, you have to change settings for Windows File Explorer to display hidden items.


Folders $Windows.~BT and $Windows.~WS in Windows 7 and 8

$WINDOWS.~BT Windows 7 and 8 system folders

During the free upgrade from Windows 7 or 8 to Windows 10 the operating system automatically downloads installation files and saves them to the folder $WINDOWS.~BT. When receiving the user’s approval to proceed with the installation, the operating system starts working with the corresponding files it has downloaded.

However, as the free upgrade period is over now, there is no way you can use these files to upgrade to Windows 10, even if you like the idea. In theory, the operating system is supposed to remove these files automatically as they are no longer required, but there are cases when they are still stored on your hard disk.

Folders $Windows.~BT and $Windows.~WS in Windows 10

In Windows 10, the folder $WINDOWS.~BT contains the previous installation of Windows. This data is intended for moving back to the version of Windows you had before Windows 10, or to the earlier build of Windows 10 you used to have.

In this regard, such folder is very similar to the folder Windows.old, which contains files from the previous operating system. In fact, after upgrading to Windows 10, you will see both folders: Windows.old and $WINDOWS.~BT.

The folder also contains log files. For example, if you download and launch the utility for creating bootable media, the folder $WINDOWS.~BT with log files inside will be created automatically. The utility will also create the folder $WINDOWS.~WS, where most installation files will be saved.

Windows will remove these files automatically to free up disk space, and will do so in ten or thirty days (depending on the specific version of Windows you have upgraded to).

$WINDOWS.~BT Windows 7 and 8 sources

Can I delete folders $Windows.~BT and $Windows.~WS right now, and how it can be done?

Warning! If you remove the folder WINDOWS.~BT, you will no longer be able to return to the previous version of Windows installed on your PC. The option to roll back to the previous OS will disappear from the menu SettingsUpdate & SecurityRecovery. Keep in mind that Windows 10 will remove these files automatically in 10 or 30 days after the upgrade. The actual period in your case depends on the specific edition of Windows 10 you are using.

However, you can remove the files without hesitation, if you don’t plan to go back. To delete the folders, select them in the File Explorer, right-click and select Delete. Finally, empty the Recycle Bin to free the disk space.

Read how to restore deleted files from the Recycle Bin, and how to recover them after you emptied the Recycle Bin, or deleted the files without sending them to the Bin, and what tools can help you.

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