Why is the main local disk drive named “C:” by default in all Windows PCs?
Why does Windows allocate a specific amount of storage capacity to this drive automatically?
Can you change the name of the C drive to something you like better?
What about altering its capacity?
If any of the above questions are going through your mind, read this article to get your answers.
How To Change C Drive (Step-By-Step)
Use File Explorer
Renaming the C drive or any other drive is very easy in the Windows 10 operating system through File Explorer.
- Open the File Explorer and choose This PC from the left menu bar.
- Find the Local Disk (C:) under the Devices and Drives section.
- Right-click on the Local Disk (C:) drive and choose Rename from the drop-down menu.
- Type the name of your choice in the editable field and hit the Enter button.
- If Windows is installed on the C drive like it usually is, the system will ask you to provide administrator permission to complete the process.
- Hit the Continue button if you’re logged in as the admin.
Use Windows Disk Management
There are two ways for changing the C drive name through Windows Disk Management:
- Right-click on the Windows logo and select Disk Management.
- Right-click on the Local Disk (C:) area and choose Change Drive Letter and Paths.
- Select Change and then choose a different Letter for the drive.
- Hit OK and then Yes.
- Right-click on the This PC icon from your desktop or File Explorer and choose Manage from the drop-down menu.
- Click on Disk Management from the left menu bar.
- Right-click on the Local Disk (C:) name and choose Properties.
- Go to the General tab in the Properties section.
- Type the name of your choice in the field next to the disk icon and then hit OK.
Use The Command Prompt
- Right-click on the Start button and then select Command Prompt (Admin) or Windows PowerShell (Admin), depending on your Windows version.
- Type the following command in the area: label <drive letter>: <drive name>.
- For instance, type label C: Main Drive.
- Hit Enter and the C drive’s name will change to “Main Drive.”
What Is The C Drive?
Every computer or laptop has a physical Hard Disk Drive (HDD) or Solid-State Drive (SSD) for storing data.
When you or the PC’s manufacturer installs the operating system on the computer, whether it is Windows, macOS, or Linux, it gets stored on the HDD or SSD.
These physical storage devices usually have different virtual partitions for storing data.
The C drive or the “Local Disk C” is the active primary partition.
If you’ve partitioned your storage drive, you’ll see other letters for other drives.
However, as a general rule, the C drive is always the first one available for PCs running on a Microsoft OS like Windows or MS-DOS.
The OS, boot sector, and other essential information and data exist on the C drive.
When you start up your computer, the system summons the necessary information for booting up from the C drive.
Also, Windows installs other software and programs on the C drive by default.
You can find the C drive on your PC by following these steps:
- Double-click on the My Computer or This PC icon if you see them on your desktop, or type “File Explorer” in the Windows search box to open the utility.
- Look for Local Disk (C:) in the left menu bar once the File Explorer window opens.
- Select the icon to open the C drive and see the files and folders stored inside.
- Don’t delete the files on this drive because they’re usually essential system files and can corrupt the programs.
If you want the C drive to be on your desktop interface so you can access it easily, you can create a shortcut on the desktop:
- Follow the steps explained above to access Local Disk (C:).
- Right-click on the title from the menu bar and select either Copy or Create Shortcut from the drop-down menu.
- Close the file explorer and right-click on an empty space on the desktop.
- Select Paste as Shortcut from the drop-down menu.
Why Change The C Drive Space?
If the C drive is your primary storage drive containing Windows and applications, it can get full and run out of space fast.
As a result, the system will begin to develop some issues, including the following:
- The Windows OS will run very slowly, and its performance will get worse by the day.
You’ll notice Windows taking longer than usual to boot, and the programs and files will take forever to load.
- If you start a severely intensive operation on your PC, like a game or programming software, it might freeze or crash.
- Depending on how full your C drive is, you either won’t be able to install updates for Windows or the apps, or they’ll install imperfectly and corrupted.
- Storing more data or installing more apps on the C drive won’t be possible anymore.
Windows 7, 8, and 10 will display the Local Disk in red, indicating that it’s almost full.
Windows XP users will get a warning pop-up message with the Low Disk Space heading: “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….”
An unwritten rule says leaving at least 10 percent of your primary storage drive’s space unused for virtual memory and fragmentation will keep it running smoothly.
Therefore, it’s wise to dedicate more space to the C drive to prevent such issues.
How To Free Up Space On The C Drive And Change Its Capacity
Empty Unnecessary Files
The first and easiest thing you can do to free up space on the C drive is to delete the unnecessary files and unneeded apps that are just occupying space.
Note that the files you can remove from the C drive can only be documents, photos, videos, music, and personal content.
Deleting any of the system files could corrupt your computer and bring up issues.
One way to find the unimportant data is going through the C drive folder by folder in the File Explorer and deleting whatever you don’t need.
However, here’s a more straightforward method:
- Right-click on the Start logo and choose Settings from the list to open the app.
- Select system and find Storage from the left menu bar.
- Once you arrive at the Storage Settings, you’ll find all the currently installed drives on your computer.
- Click on the C drive, so its existing categories appear, including Desktop, Apps & features, Temporary files, Pictures, Videos, and so on.
- Select any category like Pictures, Videos, or Music, and then hit the View button.
- Windows will take you to the folder’s location so you can delete any files that you don’t want.
- Go back and click on the Temporary Files from the Storage settings.
This contains your Downloads, temporary app files, Recycle Bin, and so forth.
Select the ones you don’t need and hit the Remove button.
Emptying the recycle bin and temporary Files can help a great deal.
- Head back to the Storage settings one last time and choose the Other option.
The Other folder contains the files that Windows couldn’t categorize.
Go through them one by one and remove those you have no use for.
You can’t uninstall your unwanted apps and games by deleting their source folders from File Explorer.
It’s not enough, and it’ll leave some data behind that can cause some issues.
Instead, follow these steps:
- Type “Control Panel” in the Windows dialog box and open the utility.
- Under Programs, click on the Uninstall a Program link.
- Go through the list of the existing programs, select the ones you don’t need one by one, and hit the Uninstall button.
- You might have to follow some instructions to complete the removal.
Transfer Files Via Copy And Paste
If you’d like to transfer some files like photos, videos, and music from the C drive to another local drive with empty space or an external hard drive, follow these steps:
- Head on to the Local Disk (C:) drive through File Explorer and find the files you’d like to transfer
- Right-click on them and select copy or cut.
- Go to the destination folder, right-click on an empty scape, and choose paste.
Remember that this method doesn’t work for Program Files that contain apps and games or the My Documents folder.
You’ll corrupt the data this way.
Use The Move Feature
This method isn’t as straightforward as the previous one, but those who use Windows versions earlier than 10 can benefit from it:
- Type “Windows Explorer” in the Windows dialog box and open the app.
- Locate the folders and files you’d like to transfer, right-click on them, and select Properties.
- In the Document Properties window, head to the Location tab and click on the Move button.
- Navigate to the destination location, hit Apply, and then Confirm.
This method only works for files like photos, videos, and music, just like the previous one.
Use The Windows Disk Management
Windows has a built-in tool for increasing partition size named Disk Management.
Here’s how to access it:
- Right-click on My Computer/This PC and choose Manage.
- In the Computer Management window, find Disk Management under the Storage heading.
- Right-click on the Local Disk (C:) and choose the Extend Volume option.
- Add more space to the C drive, hit the Next button, and then Finish.
The Disk Management utility has some limitations, including the following:
- You can only extend the volume of NTFS and RAW partition types.
The tool doesn’t support FAT32 and other file systems.
- If no adjacent unallocated space is present behind the C drive, you can’t extend its volume.
You’ll have to delete or shrink the adjacent partition to get unallocated space and add it to the C drive.
The process doesn’t cause data loss, and here’s how to do it:
- Go back to the Computer Management window and find the adjacent partition next to the C drive.
It’s usually the D drive.
- Right-click on it and choose Shrink Volume.
- Type the amount of space by which you’d like to shrink the disk and hit the Shrink button to confirm.
- Right-click on the Local Disk (C:) and select the Extend Volume option.
- Add the same amount of space to the C drive and hit the Next button.
- Select Finish afterward.
If you’d like to move disk space from other partitions to the C drive, you’ll have to use a third-party application.
We’ll discuss that subject in the following sections.
Use A Third-Party Application To Allocate Free Space To C Drive
If other drives like the D drive have a lot of free space but still contain some vital data that you want to keep, you can use a third-party tool like the AOMEI Partition Assistant Pro utility to allocate the unused space from D to C.
- Download and open the AOMEI app, where you’ll see your available drives.
- Right-click on the drive you want to allocate and select Allocate Free Space.
- A window will open up, allowing you to determine how much space you want to allocate.
- Enter the destination you want to allocate the space to, which in this case, is the C: drive.
- Hit OK when you’re done and click on Apply.
Use Third-Party Software To Move Some Apps From The C Drive
As mentioned, moving apps isn’t as simple as moving normal files.
The process needs professional utilities like the AOMEI Partition Assistant Pro that lets you move apps from the C drive to another drive on the same or different disk.
- Download, install and launch the app.
- Click on the All Tools option from the left menu bar.
- Select App Mover.
- From the list of your partitions, click on the C: drive and click Next.
- Select the applications you want to move.
- Choose a target destination, like drive D:, and hit the Move button.
- Click OK on the pop-up message to close the running applications.
Easeus Partition Manager and DiskGenius Free Edition are also helpful tools that can perform the described tasks.
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