You might wonder why all the important files are stored on the C drive and why all the apps you install end up there.
Why doesn’t the computer use the free space on the D drive to store data when the C drive is almost full?
Read on to find out about computer defaults and rules and learn how to tweak them to your preference.
What’s The Difference Between C And D Drives?
C and D drives are both partitioned volumes of a physical hard drive.
The operating system treats them as separate entities.
The computer’s default could be to boot the system from the C drive since Windows is installed on it, but it’s not mandatory.
Though most people decide to stick to the defaults, you can change the settings and alter the drives if you want.
What Is The C Drive?
Every computer has a physical hard drive for storing data.
Once you or the manufacturer installs the operating system on the computer, it installs it on the hard drive.
The hard drive usually has different partitions for storing data, and the C drive presented by the name “Local Disk C” is the active primary partition.
The operating system, boot sector, and other essential information install on the C drive, and your system recognizes the drive itself.
Once you turn on your computer, it summons the necessary information for booting from the C drive.
Also, other software and programs get installed on the C drive by default.
If your hard drive is partitioned, you might see other letters for other drives.
Still, the C drive is always the first one available for computers running on a Microsoft operating system like Windows or MS-DOS, which is generally called a PC.
If you have trouble finding the C drive on your computer, do the following:
1. Type “File Explorer” in the Windows search box, or click on the My Computer or This PC icon if you see them on your desktop.
2. Once the new window opens up, look for Local Disk (C) in the left menu.
3. Double-click on the icon to open the C drive and see the stored files and folders.
Note: The files on this drive are essential system files, and deleting or moving them can corrupt the programs.
If you want an easier way to access the C drive, you can create a shortcut on the desktop:
1. Follow the first and second steps mentioned above to get to the Local Disk C.
2. Right-click on the title and choose either Create Shortcut or Copy from the drop-down menu.
3. Head on to the desktop and right-click on an empty space.
4. Select Paste as Shortcut.
What Is The D Drive?
The first drive that comes after the C drive is the D drive.
The purpose of the D drive could vary from computer to computer, but the manufacturers usually use it as a recovery disk.
If your computer has a hard drive and a disk drive, which could be a DVD drive, CD-ROM, and so on, the disk drive will be named the D drive by default.
Also, if you don’t have it already, you can create a drive, in addition to the C drive, and name it the D drive.
Many people do this to store their apps and personal files on it.
Some believe that separating personal data from the computer’s system data will improve performance and make maintenance easier.
The truth is, dividing your files on old systems with limited memory space on the drives would improve the computer’s performance.
However, on newer computers with capacities as big as 2TB, doing so won’t make much of a difference.
On the other hand, this task could make computer maintenance considerably easier.
If you’ve stored your apps, games, and other personal files on the D drive, and you need to reinstall Windows or do a factory reset for some reason, you’d be in luck!
If your apps and files were on the C drive, they would be gone afterward, and you’d have to reinstall the apps.
If you don’t have a backup of files like photos, videos, documents, and so on, you can’t get them back.
However, if the content is on the D drive, you can avoid data loss.
This method would be beneficial for gamers to install their games on the D drive because they’re large files, and reinstalling them would take much time.
Does A Drive’s Name Define Its Job?
As mentioned before, the computers running on Microsoft operating systems assign the first and primary partition of the hard drive to the letter C.
You will know that the operating system and software are installed on it whenever you see the C drive unless you change the name or functionality yourself.
You might be wondering why the drive names start from the letter C.
What about the A and B letters? In the past, when the computers were still running on DOS, they supported two floppy disks.
One was for running the computer, called the A drive, and the second one for copying and transferring data called the B drive.
These letters are reserved for the floppy disks to this day, although no computer has them anymore.
If your hard drive has another partition or a disk drive, it’ll usually be called the D drive.
If you create another partition in your hard drive or connect an external device to your PC like a printer, flash drive, external hard drive, or modem, it recognizes it as a different drive, like D, E, F, and so on.
You could say that the name of a drive defines its functionalities if you stick to the system’s defaults.
However, if you manage to change the drive names, the statement will no longer be accurate.
Full C Drive Symptoms And Issues
If your primary hard drives get full and the C drive runs out of space, the system will start to develop some issues:
1. The operating system will run very slowly, and the performance will get worse.
The Windows operating system will take forever to boot, and the files will take so much time to load.
2. You either won’t be able to install software updates and apps, or they’ll install imperfectly.
3. If you start an intensive operation on your computer, it’ll freeze or crash because there’s no virtual memory left.
4. Storing more data won’t be possible anymore.
In Windows XP, you’ll get the following pop-up message with the Low Disk Space title: “You’re running out of disk space on Local Disk (C:).
To free space on this drive by deleting old or unnecessary files, click here…”
Windows 7, 8, and 10 won’t show a pop-up warning, but you’ll see the Local Disk in red color.
There’s an unwritten rule that says leaving at least 10 percent of your hard drive’s space unused for fragmentation and virtual memory will keep it running smoothly.
How To Free Up Space On The C Drive?
1. Empty Unnecessary Files
The first thing that comes to mind for freeing up space on the C drive is to delete the unimportant files and uninstall unneeded apps.
Remember that the files you can remove from your C drive can only be videos, photos, documents, and personal content.
Deleting any system files could corrupt your computer.
One way to find and remove the unnecessary data is to go through the C drive folder by folder.
However, there is a more straightforward method:
1. Type “Settings” in the Windows search box and open the app.
2. Click on System, and then find Storage from the left menu bar.
3. Once in the Storage Settings, you’ll find all the drives installed on your PC.
4. Click on the C drive to see the categories including Apps & features, Desktop, Temporary files, Pictures, Others, and so on.
5. Once you click on any category like Pictures, Videos, or Music, and then hit the View button, Windows will take you to the location.
Now you can delete any file that you don’t want.
6. Go back to Storage and click on the Temporary Files.
That will show you your Downloads, Recycle Bin, temporary app files, and so on.
Select the ones you don’t need and hit the Remove button.
7. Head back to Storage one last time and click on the Other option.
These are the files that Windows couldn’t categorize.
Go through them one by one and delete the unneeded ones.
To uninstalling the unwanted apps and games, deleting their source folders isn’t enough and might cause some issues.
Instead, do the following:
1. Type “Control Panel” in the Windows search box and open the app.
2. Under Programs, select Uninstall a Program.
3. Go through the list of your installed programs, select the ones you don’t need, and hit the Uninstall button.
2. Transfer Files Via Copy And Paste
Here’s what you should do for transferring files like photos, videos, music, and so on from the C drive to another drive on your PC or an external hard drive:
1. Head on to the Local Disk (C:), find the files, right-click on them, and select copy or cut.
2. Go to the destination source, right-click on an empty scape, and select paste.
Note: It’s not wise to transfer Program Files or the My Documents folder this way.
3. Use The Move Feature
The previous method is as easy as it can get, but here’s another way to do it for those who use Windows versions earlier than 10:
1. Type “Windows Explorer” in the Windows search box and open the program.
2. Find the folders and files you want to transfer, right-click on them, and select Properties.
3. In the Document Properties window, select the Location tab, and then hit the Move button.
4. Select the destination location, hit Apply, and then Confirm.
4. Use A Third-Party Application To Transfer Files
Apps like the AOMEI Back upper Standard let you transfer files and folders from drive C to other drives.
1. Download, install and open the app.
2. Click on Sync and then Basic Sync.
3. Click on Add Folder and select the files from the C drive.
4. Select the D drive or other drives for the destination path.
4. Select the orange Start Sync button.
5. Move Some Apps From The C Drive
As mentioned, moving apps isn’t as easy as moving other personal files and needs professional utilities.
The AOMEI Partition Assistant Pro is a great tool that lets you move apps from Drive C to another drive on the same or different disk.
1. Purchase, download, and install the app.
2. Open the app and click on All Tools from the left menu bar.
3. Select App Mover to see a list of all your partitions.
4. Click on the C partition and click Next.
5. Select the applications you want to move from the list.
6. Choose a target destination, and hit the Move button.
7. Click OK on the pop-up message for closing the running applications.
6. Allocate Free Space From Another Drive To C Drive
If other drives like the D drive has important data on them but still have a lot of free space, you can use the AOMEI Partition Assistant Pro utility again and allocate the unused space from D to C.
1. Open the AOMEI app, where you’ll see the available drives.
2. Right-click on the D drive or any other drive you want to allocate and select Allocate Free Space.
3. A window will pop open where you can determine how much space you want to allocate and where you want to allocate it to, which in this case, is the C drive.
4. Hit OK when you’re done, and click on Apply on the top left corner of the screen.
7. Extend C Drive
Despite the previous method that kept your D drive and its content available, extending the C drive will erase the D drive or any other drive you’re working with and gets contiguous unallocated space behind the C drive.
This method works best for people who have an empty drive.
1. Type “Disk Manager” in the Windows search bar and hit Enter.
2. Right-click on the D partition or other drives if you want and choose Delete Volume.
3. Select Yes on the pop-up warning to confirm.
4. Wait for the process to execute and then right-click on the C partition.
5. Choose Extend volume, so the Extend Volume Wizard pops open.
6. Click Next, and then choose the disks you want to extract space from and how much free space you want to add.
7. Click Next and then Finish.
Why Do People Create So Many Drives?
As mentioned before, in the past, people used to create additional drives like E, F, G, and so on to improve their PC’s performance.
They could be carrying on this habit and doing the same with their new computers.
Moreover, some people like to organize the PC by giving each drive its own purpose.
They use one for storing games and apps, one for backups, one for movies, videos, photos, and so on.
Remember to always leave some extra space on the drive that your operating system and apps are installed on.