The hard drive in your computer is an important device that holds your files while the computer is running and when it’s not. Some of these files are operating system files like Windows or Linux or Mac. Other types are software programs that allow you to get work done like writing letters or edit a video for your web site. And your data files are also there.

Hard drives are divided into partitions to separate the different types of data or to separate operating systems. Most computers I encounter have one partition with everything on it: operating system, programs and data. The partition is usually labeled C: .  Another way to set up a computer is to have one partition for the operating system and programs and another partition for your data( D: or E: or higher).  This way if something renders the operating system partition unbootable or corrupt, your data is still accessible.

A problem can happen when a hard drive partition almost fills up with files.  The computer becomes slower and may grind to a halt because there is no room to save and open files.

When there are two partitions and one fills up, it’s usually the first one with the OS on it.  This scenario makes the hard drive appear full when it usually isn’t.  There usually is plenty of room on the other partition. The problem is the owner and user of the computer doesn’t know they have another place to store data and they keep using the C: drive which is the first partition. If they install any new programs they typically forget to use the data partition as well. 

So the next time the you get warnings about your hard drive being full, check to see if you have two partitions and just one of them is full.  Then start moving files from the full one to the other one. Probably not, but it’s worth a shot.



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