D Drive is Too Full

[ad]Dear Computer Lady,

I have Vista and do OK with it. My problem is my “D” drive is full although I have lots of memory on my system.

I get an error message every day saying my backup failed. The “D” drive has 14.9 GB used and 12.1 MB of free space.

I have tried several friends to help me clean up this drive but to no avail.

Can you help? thank you Louise

Dear Louise,

It sounds like your D: drive is actually a recovery partition on your hard drive, which would explain why it is full.

A recovery partition is a special section of your hard drive that holds all the files needed to recover your computer to factory condition if anything goes wrong with the software on your computer. For example, if you got infected with a virus.

Computer manufacturers used to provide the recovery files on one or more disks (CDs or DVDs) and you could use the disks to repair your computer, but they have switched over to providing these files on your hard drive, probably because it cuts costs.

If this is the case with your computer, then backing up to the D: drive is not a good idea, and probably not possible without losing the recovery files.

I would suggest that you get an external hard drive that attaches to your computer by USB cable to backup to. Some other options to consider might be a remote backup like Carbonite or Mozy, or you could backup to a CD or DVD.

Backing up to your D: drive (which is part of your hard drive) does not protect your data from hard drive failure, fire, theft or even an electrical surge.

An External hard drive will protect your data in the event that the hard drive on your computer fails, and probably from an electrical surge (If you don’t keep it plugged in all the time) but it still won’t protect you from fire or theft.

Remote backup plans like Carbonite and Mozy run automatically in the background when your computer is running, and do protect you from hard drive failure, fire, theft, electrical surges, and even the dog eating your homework *grin*. In addition, the remote backup companies keep older versions of your files so that you can retrieve an older copy if you have problems with the copy currently on your computer.

I hope this helps you with your backup.


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Elizabeth Boston is a Web designer, Social Media Consultant and managing editor of, “Ask The Computer Lady”.
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