How to Free Up Space on a D Disk Drive

By JC Torpey

When you use a Windows computer, it will have a "C" drive -- usually the main drive. Chances there will be a second hard drive, or the main drive will be partitioned. In either case, your system will also feature a "D" drive. Almost certainly you will eventually run out of space on the D drive, or need to clean it at some point. Your hard drives can be cleaned in three easy steps, and you should take time to do so. Even if a drive is not completely full, you should at least get rid of junk files, which serve absolutely no purpose on the computer except to slow it down.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • Administrator Privileges (for Vista users)

Step 1

Click the start button, then the link (or icon) for "My Computer." Locate the D drive and highlight it by clicking the icon for it once. Right click the icon while highlighted and at the bottom of the menu that appears, click "Properties." This brings up a pie graph that shows how much of the D drive is used and how much free space is left, if any. It is good to know this information so you can have a base starting point and decide how much of the D drive needs cleaning. The rule of thumb is if the D drive is less then 50 percent full, no cleaning is necessary. From 50 percent to 75 percent, cleaning is optional. Any percentage above 75 percent, the drive must be cleaned.

Step 2

Clean the Windows temporary, or "Temp," folders. Click "Start" then "Run..." and a box will pop up in the bottom left hand corner. Where is says "Open" and the cursor is blinking type "%temp%" (without the quotation marks). This will open the windows Temp folder. Everything is in this folder is safe to delete. Press "Ctrl" and "A" at the same time to select all folders, then "Shift" and "Del" at the same time to permanently delete the folders. This will bypass the recycle bin. If you only want to delete the folders so they go to the recycle bin, with all the folders selected, just press the "Del" key by itself. Then you still have the option of restoring them later.

Step 3

Clean the Internet Temporary or "Temp" files. This is the Cache and browsing history on your computer. For Windows XP Users: Click "Start" then click the "Control Panel," or icon (depending on how the view is set), then the "Internet Options" icon and when the window pops up click the tab that says "General." In the General tab, under the label that says "Browser History," click the "Delete" button. This deletes all of the browsing history and the cache files from your PC. For Vista Users: If you use Internet Explorer 8: Click "Start" then "Control Panel" then "Network and Internet" then "Internet Options." When that opens, click the "Safety" button and then "Delete Browsing History." Click the boxes next to the names of the files you want to delete. This puts a check mark in the boxes. If you want to save the passwords and other browser information form your sites under your "Favorites" bookmark, check the box for "Preserve Favorite Website Data." Then click "Delete." For all other versions of Internet Explorer: Click "Start" then "Control Panel" and then the "Internet Options" icon. When the box opens up, click the "General" tab and under the label "Browsing History," click "Delete," then "Delete All" and then finally, "OK" to confirm you want to delete all files.

Step 4

Defragment the hard drive. For Windows XP users: Click "Start," then "My Computer," then right-click the drive you want to defragment--in this case drive D--and click "Properties," then click the "Tools" tab. Click the button that says "Defragment Now," and the "Disk Defragmenter" window will open. On the bottom, there are two buttons, "Analyze" and "Defragment." Click the "Defragment" button and it will automatically start. This can take from 20 minutes to four hours to complete, depending on the size of the drive and its contents. For Windows Vista users: Click the "Start" button, then hover over the label "All Programs" then hover on "Accessories." When the Accessories menu comes up, right click on "Command Prompt" and then "Run as Administrator." When the command box (window) opens, type in exactly "defrag D: -w" without the quotes. It will automatically run the defragmenter and tell you when it is finished.

Step 5

Empty the "Recycle Bin." On your desktop, right click on the "Recycle Bin" icon and then "Empty Contents of Recycle Bin." Alternately, you can open it to view its contents before emptying it. Right click on the icon; click on "View Contents" and it will open like any other window. Then you may delete all files permanently while the window is open.

Tips & Warnings

  • This process works on any partitioned drive, although the main drive will be the only one with Temp files on it. To keep your computer in optimal health and running smoothly, perform these tasks at least once every two weeks. It usually takes up to four hours to complete a disk defragmenting process, so be patient, especially if it seems "nothing" happening. It is, but today's drives are very large and contain a lot of information, so the program moves slowly. In Internet Explorer 5, 6 and 7, there are no options to save your "Favorites" history. Only in Internet Explorer 8.
  • Make sure you close all windows, files and running programs before deleting Temp files or some may not be deleted. Although this is optional, you may want to look through the Temporary files, in case you do not want to delete one. You also may want to back up your files, in case anything goes wrong, like if you happen to delete a file you did not intend to delete. Anything you did not permanently delete by using "Shift" and "Del" together will be in the recycle bin, still taking up space on the drive.