I have a Compaq notebook with Vista Home Premium 32 bit. HP/Compaq
machines have D:\ recovery partitions, and I’d like to know if I cam
run Clean Disk, Check Disk, and Defrag on D:\.
Vista from HP has by default C:\ and D:\ on a monthly defrag
schedule. My Security program tells me C:\ is 1% fragmented and D:\ is
15% and recommends I defrag D:\. My security program just sees D:\ as a
drive and not a recovery partition I assume. So, I don’t know if I am
allowed to defrag D:\ or perform any basic maintenance on it. I also
don’t understand how D:\ got 15% fragmented to begin with.
Personally I’m amazed at how little information manufacturers give
you sometimes about how they decided to set up your machine. HP and
Compaq aren’t the only ones to create a D:\ partition and use it for
recovery, my Dell laptop came the same way.
I mean, they could at least tell you what’s on it and what it’s
So, what’s safe to do to it?
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First realize that it’s not just your security program that sees D:\
as “just another drive”, because that’s exactly what it is: just
another logical drive. A portion of your hard disk that’s been
partitioned off to appear as a second drive letter. No more, no
What makes it the recovery partition is what your manufacturer puts
on it, and the tools that know what should be there should you ever
need to perform a recovery.
nothing is also very safe.”
So, with that in mind:
Defrag: go for it. Like you I’m surprised it came
fragmented, but there’s nothing at all wrong with defragmenting (or
“defragging”) it. Given that the drive is never used otherwise, you’ll
probably only need to do that once.
Chkdsk: go for it. It better show no errors,
though, otherwise I’d be concerned that the contents of the recovery
partition may be corrupt. That’s good to know now, as opposed to later
when you actually need it.
Clean up: it’s probably safe, but in all
honesty, I’d avoid it. The problem is that we don’t really know with
absolute certainty that a cleanup wouldn’t delete something important.
Almost by definition everything on the recovery partition is there for
a reason, and even if not, that’s the assumption we need to make. (Mine
even has a recycle bin with deleted files. My guess is that’s just
being sloppy, but I’m not going to take the risk; I’m leaving it alone, just in
Now, there is another alternative.
Do nothing. Ignore it. Don’t touch it.
The recovery partition is not part of your normal, day-to-day use of
your machine. Defragging it won’t help you in any way. Chkdsk might
tell you of a problem ahead of time, but if the recovery partition’s
never been used the chance of there being a problem are very small. And
cleaning up the drive, besides having a small chance of deleting
something important, also won’t help you, and won’t free up any space
that you’d actually use.
So while some things are safe to do, doing nothing is also very
safe. In fact, perhaps the safest of all.