What Is C Drive and D Drive on Your Computer and their Functionalities

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Have this question ever come to your mind “what is C drive and D drive and why they are named like that?” It is a common question for a PC user. There may be one or more than one partitions on your hard drive. You see that the partitions are named Local Disk (C:), Local Disk (D:), and so on. You may have got the warning saying that “C drive is full”. This article is going to give the answers to those questions based on the drive and partitions of the hard drive.

C drive vs D drive

The difference between c drive and d drive is important to know. Below, we are going to describe in detail about them.

What is C Drive in the Computer and Its Functionalities

You use the hard drive for storing data on the computer. When you have installed your operating system, you installed that on your hard drive. And to install your OS, you can use various bootable USB devices. You may have seen that, in your file explorer, there is one or more than one drive named as local disk C, local disk E etcetera. Local Disk C is your C drive which is a partition of your hard drive. But if your hard drive is not partitioned, then you will see that your full hard drive is the C drive.
C: drive is the first available drive letter for hard drives on IBM compatible computers which are generally known as PC. That means the computer which is running on a Microsoft Operating System such as Windows or MS-DOS. You can also increase drive size without data loss.
C drive is the first active primary partition of your hard drive. It is recognized by the system itself. Your operating system is installed on this drive. This drive has your computer’s boot sector and other vital information. That means, when the computer is powered up, all the necessary information is gained from this drive.
Not only the operating system but also most other software is installed on the C Drive. It is possible to install other software on other drives. As the C drive is your system drive, it is convenient for you to install other software on the C drive.

What is D Drive on Computer and Its Functionalities

The D drive is generally the first drive after the primary C drive. The D drive is generally used by manufacturers as a recovery disk. That means the D partition is set up by the manufacturer if there occur serious problems in the system.

Actually, it is not the same in all cases. For example, every computer today has a hard drive and disk drives. Disk drives are CD-ROM, DVD drive etcetera. If this is the common configuration of your computer, then C: drive is assigned as the hard drive, and the D: drive is assigned to the disk drives. In the past, A: and B: drive letters were reserved for the Floppy drive. But today it is possible to assign A: or B: drive as other partition of the hard drive.

Does the Name of a Drive Define Its Functionalities

It varies from computer to computer. In the computer which is running on Microsoft operating system has a hard drive which is the C: drive. C: drive is the first available drive letter for the hard drives. Generally, the computer assigns A: drive B: drive for the floppy disks. Sometimes, A: and B: drives are assigned to removable media like tape drives. If you install other drives or create a partition on the installed hard drive, they will be assigned the drive letter D, E, F, and so on.

Suppose your computer comes with a hard drive and a disk drive such as CD-ROM, or DVD drive. In this configuration, the C: drive will be the hard drive, and the D: drive will be your disk drive. Now the question should arise what about the A: and B: drive. Though no floppy disk is installed, as a convention, A: and B: drive letters to remain reserved for the floppy disk drive.
But today, this convention is not followed most of the time. For example, my computer is running on Windows 10, and I have two partitions on my hard drive. The system drive of my computer is the C: drive and the other driver is my A: drive. Though I have no floppy disk installed on my computer.

Local Disk On PC
Local Disk

How to Get to Your C drive

By default, Windows creates different icons for different drives, devices, folders, and files. There are icons for printers, modems, and flash drive too. These icons can be found in various places on your computer. And you can access those things by clicking on those icons (Generally there are names too). Sometimes, it becomes difficult to find any specific icon. If you cannot find C: drive, you can look for this in several places.

  1. Go to the Start menu or press the Windows button on the keyboard.
  2. Type “File Explorer”. File Explorer will open.
File Explorer of PC
File Explorer
  • On the left side of the window, you will see an icon named “Local Disk (C:)”. You can access other drives from here too. You can do the same things if you have an icon named “My computer” or “This PC”. Just double-click on this.
  • C Drive
    Local Disk “C”

    You will see all the drives including C: drive and other devices there.

  • Double click on Local Disk (C:). It will open the C: drive. You will see different folders and different files there.
  • Local Disk C
    C Drive

    Warnings: Be careful with the files and folders in the C: drive. These may be the system files or other software files and folders. If you accidentally delete any of these files, the corresponding software may not work perfectly.

    How to Create a Shortcut of the C drive in the Desktop

    1. Follow the previous sections steps 1,2, and 3 to find the Local Disk (C:).
    2. Right, Click on the Local Disk (C:). You will see many options there.
    3. At the bottom of the options menu, you will see “Create Shortcut” and “Copy” options. Select any of these options.
    Local Disk C
    Local Disk (C:) Shortcut
  • Go to the desktop. Now right-click on an empty place and select “paste as shortcut”. A Local Disk (C:) shortcut will be created.
  • Creating C Drive Shortcut
    C Drive Shortcut

    You can make any of the drives’ shortcut by following the same procedure. You can access those drives by double-clicking on those shortcuts.

    What Happens if the C Drive is Full

    You will be notified that C drive is out of space. Or your primary hard drive is full. You will encounter some issues if that occurs. Some of the issues are:

    1. The hard disk drive is not able to perform as you need. Software update/upgrade or installing programs will not be done perfectly.
    2. Windows operating system will run slowly.
    3. You will not be able to store more files/data.

    Symptoms of “C drive is full” Issue

    You will see a pop up giving you low disk space warning. Different versions of Windows will show different symptoms in this situation.

    1. Windows XP: It will display the “Low Disk Space” warning like the following picture.
    Windows XP LOw Disk
    Windows XP
  • Windows 7/8/10: The local disk will be shown in red color like the following picture.
  • Windows XP LOw Disk
    Windows XP

    Warnings Before Following the Next Sections

    Your C drive may contain your important data and files. It may also contain all the system information and other software’s data. If you think that those data/files are important for you, don’t forget to make a backup of those files/data in an external storage device.

    How to solve “C Drive is Full” Issue in Windows

    If your C drive is full you won’t be able to install any software on your C drive. If your C drive is full, you should take some steps to make some free space on the C drive. You can do this in several ways.

    1. By Deleting Temporary Files and Unimportant Data

    Press Windows + I on the keyboard. It will open the Setting app.

    Windows 10 Settings
    Windows Settings
  • Click on System. Then click on Storage.
  • C Drive Memory Storage
    C Drive Storage
  • All the drives in your PC will be shown here. Click on the C drive.
  • You will see some categories of the storage based on default folders like Documents, Pictures, Videos, Music etcetera. Click on the categories to see other information.
  • You can delete the files that you don’t need. Just click on the view button. It will open the folder location. Just delete it.
  • Now, go back to storage. Click on the Temporary Files. In there, you will find temporary files, download folders, recycle bin etcetera. You can delete the files that you don’t need,
  • Again, go back to storage. Now, click on Other. In this section, you will find some folders that couldn’t be categorized. Click on the items that you don’t need and delete them.
  • 2. By Adding a Larger Hard Drive

    You can have more space on C drive by adding a larger hard drive. To do this –

    1. If you have a hard drive having a large amount of storage, you can add another hard drive without replacing the current hard drive. You can install the new hard drive as either an internal or external hard drive.
    2. If your hard drive does not have that large amount of storage, you can replace the hard drive with a new one. But if you do this, you have to reinstall the operating system and copy your important files to the new hard drive.

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    3. By Extending C Drive Manually

    Suppose you have a D drive and C drive on your computer. Your C drive is full and D drive has storage left to use. You can merge your D drive with C drive.

    1. Click on Start and them Computer.
    2. Click on Manage.
    3. Now, click on Disk Management in the left-hand pane.
    4. Now, right-click on the D drive.
    5. Click Delete Volume.
    Disk Management Of PC
    Disk Management
  • Now click on ‘Yes’ on the delete simple volume.
  • delete simple volume of your PC
    Delete Simple Volume
  • Now, click on ‘Extend Volume’ by right-clicking on C drive.
  • Extend Volume of C Drive
    Extend Volume
  • Now, click on ‘Next’ on the Extend Volume Wizard window.
  • Click on next on the Select Disks window.
  • Click on Finish.
  • It’s time to close all windows and restart the computer.
  • 4. By Extending C Drive Using Third-Party Software

    You can complete the previous task by using some third-party software like Easeus etcetera. You will find many tutorials on that topic.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    1. What is C drive and what’s the use of it?
    Ans: C drive is the first available drive letter for hard drives on IBM compatible computers. C drive is the first active primary partition of your hard drive.

    2. What is D drive and what’s the use of it?
    Ans: The D drive is generally the first drive after the primary C drive.

    3. Why is C drive called the system partition?
    It is called the System partition because your operating system is installed on that drive and this drive is recognizable by the system.

    4. “C drive is full” warning is given to me. What should I do?
    You can do several things for that matter. Follow the section named “How to solve “C Drive is full” issue in Windows” in this article. You will find the answer there.|

    5. Can I use my D drive instead of C drive?
    Ans: Yes. But it is recommended to install the operating system and other software on the C drive and store files and other folders on the other drives.

    Summing Up

    Being a PC user, partitions are found on the hard drive. Sometimes, you may have to spend some time to solve the problems that are caused by the partition system. Now you know all about C drive and D drive and their uses. If you find that your C drive is full you now know what to do. If you have gone through the whole article, you know all the answers to your questions on C drive and D drive and partition system on the hard drive.

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