How to Empty D Drive on Windows Vista

By Techwalla Computers Editor

The D drive is usually the drive on a computer reserved for backup and recovery files. When you first install Windows Vista, it will ask you to make a recovery disk for your files. This process makes a backup of your important programs and files and stores it on D Drive, just in case something happens to the things on the main hard drive, or C drive. However, once in a while, something can go wrong, forcing you to empty the D drive.

Things You'll Need

  • Windows Vista operating system
  • At least one backup hard drive

Format Drives on Windows Vista

Step 1

Click "Computer" from the Start menu.

Step 2

Go to the D Drive. Double click on it first to make sure it is, in fact, your backup hard drive. A message should appear when you double click, warning you not to alter the files, because they are backup files.

Step 3

Right click the D drive icon. Go to "Format."

Step 4

You will be asked if you really want to format D drive. Click "OK" to confirm.

Step 5

Back up all your files onto the drive again as soon as it is empty.

Step 6

Restart your computer while the Windows Installation Disc is in its drive if you wish to format your main disk drive. During the setup process, you will have the option to reformat the drive and then reinstall Windows. You cannot reformat your main hard drive while it is in use, as a precaution against accidentally deleting Windows.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always format a new drive as soon as you install it, so that it can work with the rest of your hardware.
  • Before formatting any disk drive, be sure that the files are backed up elsewhere. If it is the D drive you are formatting, this shouldn't be a problem. C drive will still have all of your programs and files.
  • Back up all of your files regularly onto discs, in order to be prepared for such an event.
  • Depending on the reason for formatting your drive, you might be able to perform a Quick Format instead of a full one. A quick format does not fully erase your files, but merely creates a new file table on the hard disk. It is much faster than a regular format. Perform any kind of formatting with caution.
  • Formatting a drive will empty all files from it. Never format a drive with files on it except as a last resort.