Many computer manufacturers create an additional partition on your hard
disk that contains everything needed to restore the computer to its original
state, called a restore partition. Sometimes, it’s a hidden partition,
sometimes it’s drive D:. In either case, you can use Windows built-in
partition management utility to remove it, assuming you’ve backed up
In this video segment from an Ask Leo! webinar,
I review removing the restore partition.
Become a Patron of Ask Leo! and go ad-free!
My hard disk has a partition ‘D’ for restoring, but it is six years
old and I keep my own image copies. How can I free up D for my own general
use? I’ve got an HP with Vista.
So, many computers come with the normal C partition on to which Windows is
installed and a second partition (sometimes, it’s not even visible; sometimes,
it shows up as drive D) on to which the manufacturer has placed their
recovery information. And that recover information can, but doesn’t always
include the original installation media for Windows.
It can also include additional utilities provided by that manufacturer. As
you point out, if you’re religious about taking image backups and
particularly if you take an image backup immediately after getting a machine,
the recovery partition, the D partition kind of becomes superfluous. There’s
not really a lot of utility for having it around anymore.
I’m not a big fan of it to begin with, simply because if your hard drive
dies, then not only does your C partition go, but your D partition is on that
same drive. They’re both gone at the same time. So when you end up replacing
your hard drive, you don’t have a recovery partition to use; it’s on that
same drive that you just got rid of.
So taking an image partition is a, I’m sorry, an image backup of your
system when you get it is one way around that problem. At which point, I fire
up things like the partition manager.
So, I’m going to show it here real quick. So this is Windows 7, which I
believe is fairly similar to Windows Vista at least in this regard. It’s not
something that’s changed a whole lot. Up here in the upper left here I have
something called Demo VM that’s really just My Computer so you right-click on
My Computer and click on Manage and wait for it to come up.
And down here is this item called Disk Management. What Disk Management
does is it shows you a layout of the discs that are attached to your machine.
Actually, it shows you several different discs that are attached to your
machine but we’ll focus on the hard discs here.
In this case, I have two hard discs attached to this machine. One contains
C, the System Reserved area which you can see is very small. It is not the
partition that I’m talking about. What you would normally see is another
partition here on this same drive that would have a different label and since
you see it as D, you would actually see another box next to this that would
have another label with a D colon with it.
What you can do is if you are absolutely certain that you do not need
whatever is in that D partition (which in my way of thinking you’ve already
backed it up, just in case), you can right-click on that partition and do
things like delete the volume. That will make the volume literally ‘go
The volume then, the space where that volume, was is empty space. But it’s
empty space that then follows your C volume. Then what you would do,
right-clicking on C you would extend the C volume to cover the space that had
been occupied by the D volume that you just deleted. All that really does
then is extend the C; it gives that extra space that you were actually not
using because it was being used by this D drive and makes it available to the
C Drive and all of a sudden you find that your C drive has some amount more
free space than it had before you started. I’ve actually done this on a
couple of machines.
I got my Dell laptop a year or year and a half ago and it was one of the
first things that I did. I took a system image of the whole thing and I
completely went in and deleted that extra partition because I knew that it
was just something that I would ever need and it’s much more helpful to me,
at any rate, to have the extra disc space available. I hope that answers that