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

In case you’ve set up Windows 10 to show hidden files and folders in File Explorer, then you should notice a few new folders that appeared on the system drive. Among them you can find folders $Windows.~BT and $Windows.~WS. The same folders can be also found on Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 machine. In this article we will take a closer look on the purposes of these folders and show you how to delete them.

What’s the Purposes of Folder $Windows.~BT on Windows 10?

Folder $Windows.~BT on Windows 10 machine is used to store the previous versions of Windows. Operating system can use the files from this folder to downgrade Windows (for example, to downgrade to Windows 7/8.1 from Windows 10) or to downgrade the operating system to the previous builds. This folder is a pretty similar to Windows.old folder.

windows ws windows bt

Another purpose of the folder is to store the log files. For example, you’ve downloaded and started Windows Media Creation Tool to place Windows 10 installation on the USB flash-drive. The utility creates the folder $Windows.~BT, which contains the log files for the installation. It will also create a folder $Windows.~WS, where all Windows installation files will be stored.

Folder $Windows.~BT in Windows 7/8

$Windows.~BT was used on Windows 7/8 machines during promotion period when users could update their machines to Windows 10 for free. The system was automatically downloading the Windows 10 installation files to the folder $Windows.~BT and then (when user confirm the update) used these files to update the system. That’s why this folder size was a few GBs on machines with Windows 7/8. But now the promotion period is finished and users can’t use the folder’s contents to update Windows. Microsoft should delete these files from your computer automatically.

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How to Delete Folder $Windows.~BT?

It’s important to mention that in case you will delete folder $Windows.~BT, you won’t be able to downgrade your Windows 10 to the previous version or build. Most likely, Windows should clear this folder automatically, but if it doesn’t – use this instruction to delete $Windows.~BT.

Important! These instructions must be implemented by using account with administrator privileges.

Don’t try to delete $Windows.~BT folder by pressing Delete or Shift + Delete. In order to delete this folder, you should use the appropriate methods:

  1. Press Win + R, type in and run command cleanmgr.exe;
  2. Choose the system drive C:\;
  3. In utility’s window click on Clean up system files button;
    windows bt disk cleanup
  4. Check on Previous Windows installation(s);
    windows ws previous installation
  5. Press ОK and confirm the action. After that the size of each folder should be reduced (or the folders can just disappear at all).

Most likely, folders $Windows.~BT and/or $Windows.~WS will be still on the system drive, but now their size is reduced to the minimum.

How to Delete $Windows.~BT or $Windows.~WS using Command Prompt?

Here is another method on how to delete folders $Windows.~BT and $Windows.~WS using Command prompt:

  1. At first, run the Command prompt with administrator privileges;
  2. Now you need to run 3 commands one by one. At first, type in and run:
    takeown /F C:\$Windows.~BT\* /R /A

    windows bt command prompt

  3. Now run:
    icacls C:\$Windows.~BT\*.* /T /grant administrators:F

    windows bt cmd

  4. And the last command:
    rmdir /S /Q C:\$Windows.~BT\

    windows bt grant administrators

After that folder $Window.~BT should disappear from your computer. In the same way you can delete folder $Windows.~WS (just change the folder name in the commands from $Windows.~BT to $Windows.~WS).

That’s all! Now you’ve deleted folders $Windows.~WS and $Windows.~BT and, most likely, that helped you to free up some GBs on your hard drive.

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