Full Introduction to the $WINDOWS.~BT Folder on Win 7/8/10 [MiniTool Wiki]

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You can notice that there are a large number of files and folders on your computer such as the AppData folder and Windows.old folder. And this post focuses on the $WINDOWS. ~BT folder, but if you want to get more information about other folders, then you can visit the MiniTool website.

Introduction to the $WINDOWS.~BT Folder

When setting up Windows 10 on your computer, whether you are upgrading from an earlier version or performing a fresh installation, this is a complicated process. Luckily, most of the complex aspects of the Windows 10 installer happen automatically in the background.

This includes creating the $WINDOWS.~BT and $WINDOWS.~WS folders. The $WINDOWS.~BT folder stores important files copied to the drive to create a valid installation. After installation, it will remain on your hard drive.

The $WINDOWS.~BT folder also contains important log files that can help diagnose issues that may prevent Windows from successfully installing. And you should know that the folder is a hidden folder, so you need to show hidden items in Windows File Explorer to see them.

Tip: If Windows 10 Explorer keeps crashing, then you should read this post - Windows 10 Explorer Keeps Crashing? Here Are 10 Solutions.

What’s more, you can see the $WINDOWS.~BT folder on Windows 7/8/10, consuming gigabytes of disk space.

On Windows 7 and Windows 8

Windows 7 and Windows 8 automatically downloaded the Windows 10 installation files and stored them in the $WINDOWS.~BT folder during the free Windows upgrade period. So the moment you agreed to the free upgrade, it could begin fast using the downloaded installation files.

Now you cannot use the installation files to upgrade to Windows 10 because the free upgrade period is over. And these files on Windows 7 and Windows 8 should be removed by Microsoft, but some of them may still exist.

On Windows 10

The $WINDOWS.~BT folder on Windows 10 contains your previous Windows installation. You can use these files to downgrade to an earlier version of Windows or an earlier build of Windows 10.

The $WINDOWS.~BT folder is similar to the Windows.old folder, which contains files from previous Windows installations. In fact, after upgrading to Windows 10, you will see two folders - Windows.old and $WINDOWS.~BT folder.

It also includes log files. For instance, if you download and run the media creation tool, it will create the $WINDOWS.~BT folder, which contains some installation log files. The media creation tool also creates a $WINDOWS.~WS folder, which contains most Windows installation files.

Windows will keep it in the “Anniversary Update” for ten days. If your PC has not been upgraded to “Anniversary Update”, these files should be automatically deleted after 30 days to free up space.

Can You Delete the $WINDOWS.~BT Folder and How?

In fact, you can delete the $WINDOWS.~BT folder, but if you choose to delete the $WINDOWS.~BT folder on Windows 10, then you cannot downgrade to a previous build of Windows 10 or a previous version of Windows installed on your computer.

In addition, the option to roll back your PC in Settings > Update & Security > Recovery will disappear. However, Windows 10 will still delete these files automatically after ten days.

If you do really want to delete these files, then how to do that? You should not just delete them in the usual way. Instead, you should use the Disk Cleanup tool that comes with any version of Windows you are using.

To do this, open the Disk Cleanup tool and then click Clean System Files. Check the following items in the list and delete them:

  • Previous Windows installation(s) : You can remove the $WINDOWS.~BT and Windows.old folders on Windows 10 by deleting this item.
  • Windows Temporary Installation Files: You can remove the $WINDOWS.~BT folder on Windows 7 and 8, and the $WINDOWS.~WS folder on Windows 10.

Click OK to delete the files.

If the $WINDOWS.~BT folder still exists, then it may only contain some backup log files - or the now-useless setup files on Windows 7 or 8 - you can try to delete them manually from File Explorer. Just right right-click on it and choose Delete.

Bottom Line

What is $WINDOWS.~BT? From this post, you can get some information about it. What’s more, if you really don’t need the folder anymore, then you can also use the Disk Cleanup tool to delete it.

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