How-To Geek

What Are the $INPLACE.~TR and $WINDOWS.~Q Folders and Can I Delete Them?

So you’ve upgraded from Vista to Windows 7 and you’re wondering what those new hidden folders are doing in the root of your system drive, wasting 1+ GB of space. They are system protected, so should you really delete them?

So What Are They?

These two folders are leftover folders created by Windows during the upgrade process, but unfortunately they don’t get deleted at the end of the setup process. You’ll only see them if you’ve got the option to show hidden files enabled under Organize –> Folder and Search Options.

The good news is that you can definitely get rid of them. Keep reading.


Use Disk Cleanup

The easiest way to remove them is to just run Disk Cleanup (type it into the start menu search box), and then click the button to “Clean up system files”, which will re-launch Disk Cleanup as administrator.

Why is this the easiest way instead of the delete key? Because the folders are normally system protected, and you should also use Disk Cleanup regularly, so stop whining and get to it!


Now that you’ve done that, find the option for “Files discarded by Windows upgrade” and make sure it’s checked, then click the OK button. We’d recommend using Disk Cleanup on a regular basis, of course, and checking most of the rest of the boxes.


Once you’re done, it’ll clean up the files.


And now, those folders will be gone.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 11/25/09

Comments (21)

  1. Ines

    Great info! This is the type of info I come to this site for. You should write more like this one.

  2. cowgod

    perhaps you can write another article similar to this that tells what these random folders are in the root of my drives (some in C:, some in others). i have one in my D: drive with a lock icon titled “69b00f6aa24fae2f365d”. it has no files in it. where did these come from and are they safe to delete?

  3. beanbag20

    I agree – more of this type of stuff! I didn’t know what those were on my drive and they took 1.2gb of space.

  4. Yatti420

    Thanks.. Was wondering what these were.. I guess disk cleanup has been improved significantly..

  5. Shkumbin

    Very Userful, thanks.

  6. Dan

    Could you tell me what files you Wouldn’t recommend getting rid of when using disk cleanup? I’m typically skeptical of deleting anything that looks system related, so a guide to things that shouldn’t be taken out would be helpful.

  7. Tim Pierce

    My disk cleanup does not have the button for “Clean up system files”, I did a clean install. I have 2 windows 7 pro and 2 windows 7 ultimate and none of them have that button.

  8. Michael

    I have a file C:\$WINDOWS.~Q\DATA\Windows\System32\drivers\sfi.dat which will not be removed.
    It was created after updating vista to Windows 7.
    I have been attempting all availabe suggestions on the internet, like removing in safe mode, using unlocker, stopping explorer and then delete in a command box and many more options, but all in vain.
    I also tied disk cleanup as described of course.
    I ran out of options. Is there anyone out there who has suggestions ?
    I would be gratefull.

  9. Rattlesnake

    @Michael Have you tried to delete BEFORE loading Windows? For example, a boot disk like Hiren’s, then activate NTFS support, if your drive is NTFS, and delete via DOS. Another thing… The fact that you can’t delete this file means it’s used by the system, and not only the explorer. You should first try to rename it, so if something goes wrong you can restore it quickly.

  10. Kevin

    Hey guys.
    I can’t get office 2010 to work. Keep getting the click to run failure. MSoft said to delete Q drive and reinstall. I cant delete the drive. Using disk clean up as you describe but files disgarded by update option does not appear. Any suggestions. This is a virtually new laptop and I got office 2007 to get the free upgrade to 2010. So far it is all a piece of rubbish. I need help.. Save me guys please

  11. Aravind

    Great Info!

  12. aardbeest


  13. AcePilot

    Thank you. Exactly the info I was looking for.

  14. Gary

    I upgraded Win7 Home Premium to SP1, these files were created, and there is no option in disk cleanup to get rid of them in win7sp1 cleanup. Ugh.

  15. Captain Obvious

    Many thanks ! I’d 18Go left in this file… no way to thrash it.

  16. Phil

    cheers just cleared 60+ GB from my HDD

  17. haseeb

    dude you rock

  18. sabofx

    @Gary (“there is no option in disk cleanup to get rid of them in win7sp1 cleanup. Ugh.”)

    Actually there is a way to safely remove the backup data generated by the win7/win2k8 SP1 update!

    The method described in the article below enables you to reclaim about 10 GB of space on your hard drive.


  19. 007rjc

    This was really useful – thanks.

    However, I have noticed that I also have 2.25gb of ‘windows upgrade log files’. can thes be deleted as well?

  20. pinoy007

    windows upgrade log files? yes, i did it on my win 7 ultimate.

  21. Jessica

    My Disc Cleanup took me to a drop-down list, where I had to select a drive… C and Q were each their own option?

    When I selected the “C:”, the option to clean upgrade files didn’t show.
    But when I selected the “Q” drive, “Windows cannot clean the Q drive. Please make sure there is a disc in the drive. Press OK to select another drive.”

    (Granted, I’ve been having issues with this drive for the past week; something about access being denied and the Take Ownership command lines and “Properties” methods not working… This might be a whole different problem but I’d love to find a way to get rid of the Q drive so I can reinstall MSOffice (and completely recreate the Q drive) so Office stops telling me it can’t install…)

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