Tech Tips Home
The Best Tech Tips And Daily Deals
Newsletter On The Internet!

WorldStart Tech Tip And Store Search
Email: Password: Login Remember Me

Like what you see here? Subscribe to the Tech Tips newsletter!   Email: Subscribe

Why Does My Computer Have Multiple Hard Drive Partitions?

Thursday, October 30th, 2014 by | Filed Under: File & Disk Management

Tony from NC writes:

 I am confused. I have a 1 terabyte hard drive and it is divided into 2 partitions. (C) and (D). The (D) drive is empty. It is labeled data. It is completely empty. Can you tell me what I can save to that partition without compromising the operating system and programs installed on the computer?

Unless you received your computer used from someone else, a new computer straight from the factory usually only has two reasons as to why there would be hard drive partitions creating both a C:\ and D:\ drives.

Recovery Partition

Standard now on most laptops and many desktop systems, the recovery partition exists so you can reinstall Windows – restoring the computer to factory settings – in the event something goes seriously wrong or you get a virus you can’t shake.

The partition is there with all the re-installation data so you don’t have to use that recovery disc that probably got thrown away with the computer’s packaging (or may never have been included at all). Normally these are specifically marked as “recovery” partitions. To tell if this is the case, open the Control Panel and click “System and Security.”

System And Security

Scroll down to the green heading labeled “Administrative Tools” and then click the link named “Create And Format Hard Disk Partitions.”

Administrative Tools

Check the names of the partitions listed at the left side of the window to see if it is labeled as “Recovery.” If this is the case, do not delete any data on this partition or transfer any files here.

Recovery Partition

Data Partition

Tony mentioned the D:\ drive is labeled “data” however, which indicates this isn’t meant for recovering your operating system – just the opposite in fact. The reason behind having a data partition and an OS partition is so your files (photos, music, movies etc.) are separate from the operating system. In the event you have to reinstall Windows, you won’t completely lose your data as you would if all your files were on the same hard drive partition as the operating system itself.

This can cause a problem however, if D:\ is the data drive, since most programs by default install to the C:\ drive – this means you’ll have to manually choose to install new programs on the data drive or copy and paste your existing files over to the data drive. Actual applications such as games or greeting card software can’t be switched over this way – they must be deleted and reinstalled – but any standard file such as a music file or text document can safely just be dragged and dropped to the data drive.

If for some reason you have trouble accessing the data drive or absolutely have to have everything on one partition, you can just simply delete the secondary partition and then extend the main partition to take up all the space.

Going through this process through Windows itself is a dicey proposition – the operating system is setup to make it hard to perform major changes of that degree – so it’s much easier to simply download and install a free partitioning tool, such as Partition Wizard or Paragon Partition Manager, which will easily walk you through the process.

~ Ty Arthur

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Like these tips? Get them for FREE in your email!

WorldStart's Tech Tips Newsletter

  • Tech Tips Daily - Become a tech pro! Get the very best tech and computer help sent directly to your email every weekday!

  • Tech Tips Weekly - If you don't want our Tech Tips newsletter every day, then sign up for this weekly newsletter to get the best information of the week. Sent on Fridays.

Other Newsletters

  • WorldStart's Daily Deals - Every week, we send out great deals in our Daily Deals newsletter. Many of these deals are exclusively for our Daily Deals newsletter subscribers and can't be found with our regular specials.

  • Just For Grins - Each issue includes a couple clean jokes, some funny quotes, and a hilarious reader's story. Newsletter is sent five days a week.

Enter Email Address:


Your e-mail address is safe with us!
We only use it to send you the newsletters you request. It is NEVER disclosed to a third party for any reason, ever! Plus, if you decided you don't like our newsletters (don't worry, you'll love them), unsubscribing is fast and easy.

Free Newsletter Signup

Tech Tips Daily

Become a tech pro! Get the very best tech and computer help sent directly to your email every weekday!

Tech Tips Weekly

The week's best in tech and computer help. Get your issue sent to your email every Friday!

WorldStart's Daily Deals

The very best deals on the Internet! Get a new set of incredible sales every day of the week!

Just For Grins

Clean jokes, funny quotes, and hilarious comics. Sent 5 times a week straight to your email.


Love Worldstart? Refer A Friend!

WorldStart's Premium Membership

Tip Archive