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How do I free up space on my recovery drive?


I have an HP Pavilion DV6 with Win 7. I just transferred my files from an HP
with XP and I noticed that about 90% of my recovery drive is now used. It must
have backed all that I transferred. Is there a way to view what’s on the
recovery drive and selectively delete stuff or send it to another backup

In this excerpt from
Answercast #49
, I look at a problem with a recovery partition. Either leave
it alone or backup it up and delete it.

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Full recovery drive

In general, my recommendation is to almost always leave the recovery drive
alone completely.

Or back it up and then remove the partition from your machine.

It’s for recovery only

Now, I don’t know that I would assume that the “90% full indication” means
that you’ve been copying things there.

  • Realize that the recovery drive was never intended for things to be written
    to it.

  • The recovery drive exists only as a place from which recovery
    software would recover a clean version of the operating system and all of the
    utilities that were installed on the machine when you got it.

Typically, it comes 90% full. So I wouldn’t assume that it’s full because of
anything that you did.

Check the drive

The best way to view what’s in it?

Well, gosh, if you can see that it’s 90% full, then clearly it’s visible on
your machine. Fire up Windows Explorer and go poke around in it; have a look in

I’m assuming; I’m guessing; in fact, I’m pretty certain that you will find
that there is nothing on that drive that you did. Like I said, Windows
Explorer should be able to just navigate into it.

  • Double-click on the D drive if that’s what the letter assigned to it is.

  • If it’s not visible, then I’d have to know where you’re getting this warning

A hidden partition

Many times the recovery drive is, in fact, a hidden partition on your
system. But in that case, then it would be hidden.

In other words:

  • Not only would you not see that it’s 90% full;

  • But you also wouldn’t have had the opportunity to transfer things into it in
    the first place.

So I’m a little confused by some of the missing details in the question
here. But by and large, there’s nothing you need to do to your recovery drive.
You don’t need to make more room in it.

Backup and delete

In fact, the thing I almost always do when I set up a new machine that comes
with a recovery drive pre-installed is:

  • I will actually take a system image of the entire machine: the base drive
    and the recovery drive;

  • And then I’ll get rid of the recovery partition.

It’s just taking up space, which most of the time, if you’ve got a good
backup, you’re never really going to need it.

Do this

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2 comments on “How do I free up space on my recovery drive?”

  1. Some HP’s and Dells (and probably others) come with recovery software that creates a recovery partition which is updated when you run their backup/recovery program. This is woefully inadequate protection, because the recovery partition is on your primary hard disk, and because it only updates a single backup instance. You should remove this software, and replace it with a real disk-imaging backup program, and back up to a separate physical hard disk. (Norton Ghost, Macrium Reflect, Ease-US Backup, Acronis Tru-Image, etc.)

  2. Norton 360’s backup program can be at fault here. If you follow their advice and turn on the backup, but don’t provide an external drive as the target, it will look for any drive other than the main OS drive to hold it’s backups. The first thing found is the recovery drive.

    Secondly, if you turn on system restore for the recovery partition, it can fill up with restore points over time.


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