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If you don’t want to upgrade to Windows 10, and want to get rid of the sneaky Windows 10 installation files on your system that could be sapping entire Gigabytes of storage, follow our step-by-step guide below.
*UPDATE* We've heard from some readers who've encountered a problem with this process, being required to continue with an administrator account even when logged in with one already. We have a solution to this issue if you encounter it yourself.
First steps: Windows 7
Click Start > Documents, then click the Alt key. On the menu this brings up, click Tools > Folder Options > View, then check the option marked Show hidden files, folders and drives.
First steps: Windows 8.1
Click Windows Explorer in the taskbar, then View. Tick the box marked Hidden items.
How to delete the Windows 10 folders
Navigate to the C:drive and look for these folders: $Windows.~WS and $Windows.~BT. If you can’t find them, then your PC hasn’t automatically downloaded Windows 10, and there’s nothing more for you to do.
If you see them, right-click on each and select Properties. This should show the file size in GBs. Select each folder and right-click to delete them. Once deleted, empty your Recycle Bin to scrap the data.
Prevent Windows 10 downloading
To prevent Windows 10 from downloading again, search your PC for a program called Disk Cleanup. Open it and tick the Temporary Windows Installation files. Click Clean up system files.
Next, go to Start > Control Panel > Programs > Uninstall or change a program and click View installed updates.
Use the search box to find the following updates: KB3035583, KB2952664, and KB3021917 (if you’re on Windows 7) or KB3035583 and KB2976978 (if you’re on Windows 8.1).
Right-click each and select Uninstall. When done, go to System and security in the Control Panel, and select Windows Update > Check for updates. Right-click each of the above updates and select Hide Update.