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Error: Low Disk Space. You are running out of disk space on HP_Tools (Windows 7)

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This document applies to HP notebook computers with Windows 7.
Low disk space error notifications appear periodically, or when you try to open the HP_Tools drive.
Figure 1: Low Disk Space message
Low Disk Space message

Why do these errors occur?

The purpose of the HP_Tools drive is to store all the files needed for system diagnostics. The HP_Tools drive is actually a partition on the main hard drive in your computer - not an actual, physical drive. It has much less available space than Drive (C:). If you use the HP_Tools drive to store files, or if a backup or restore program uses the HP_Tools drive to store files, the drive quickly becomes full and can cause serious problems when you need to use system diagnostics.
Do not store files on the HP_Tools drive. The only files on the HP_Tools drive should be related to system diagnostics. The HP_Tools drive should contain mostly free space:
Figure 2: Space on HP_Tools (E:) as shown in Explorer
Space on HP_Tools (E:) as shown in Explorer

How can I fix these errors?

To stop Low Disk Space errors, ensure that System Protection is turned off for the HP_Tools drive, and remove files that are not related to system diagnostics from the drive. Perform the following steps:
CAUTION:Make sure you have created a set of recovery discs before using these steps. If the system stops responding, recovery discs can be used to perform a system recovery.
  1. Click Start , and then right-click Computer .
  2. Select Properties .
    Figure 3: Properties
    Properties
  3. Click System Protection from the left side of the window.
    Figure 4: System protection
    System protection
  4. In the "Protection Settings" section, look for the HP_Tools drive in the list of Available Drives. If the drive is listed, check whether protection is turned off or on for the drive:
    Figure 5: System Protection Settings for HP_Tools
    System Protection Settings for HP_Tools
    • If protection is turned Off , close this window.
    • If protection is turned On , click the HP_Tools drive name to highlight it, and then click Configure . Select Turn off system protection , and then click OK .
      Figure 6: Turn off system protection for HP_TOOLS (E:)
      Turn off system protection for HP_TOOLS (E:)
  5. Click Start , and then click Computer .
  6. Before you can remove any backup or restore files and folders that might be stored on the HP_Tools drive, you need to be able to view hidden system files, as follows:
    1. From the Explorer window, press the Alt key on the keyboard to make the menu bar appear in the window.
    2. Click Tools , and then select Folder options .
      Figure 7: Folder options
      Folder options
    3. Select the View tab.
    4. Select Show hidden files, folders, and drives , and remove the selection from Hide protected operating system files . If a Warning message appears, click Yes or OK to confirm. Click OK to close the Folder Options window.
      Figure 8: Folder Options: View tab
      Folder Options: View tab
  7. From the Explorer window, double-click the HP_Tools drive.
    Figure 9: HP_Tools drive
    HP_Tools drive
  8. If a Window opens stating "You don't currently have permission to access this folder," click Continue .
  9. If you previously created or copied any files into the HP_Tools drive and you want to keep them, copy the files to another drive - such as the C: drive.
  10. Find and delete any files that you previously saved in the HP_Tools drive. Select the files or folders, and press Shift + Delete to permanently remove the files.
    Look for any folders that might be associated with a backup program on your computer. If a backup program is saving files to your Recovery drive, move the folder to a different location, and change your backup settings so that the files save to a different drive.
    CAUTION:Do not delete any files that are associated with system diagnostics! Do not delete the items HP_WSD.dat, PSF_Rep, Recycle Bin, or the Hewlett-Packard folder! Doing so can prevent system diagnostics from functioning correctly. If you are not sure, do not delete the file.
    Figure 10: Files stored in the HP_Tools partition (your PC will look different)
    Files stored in the HP_Tools partition
  11. Several confirmation windows open. Click Continue , and Yes until the files and folders are deleted.
  12. Set Windows Folder Options back to their original setting as follows:
    1. From the Explorer window, press Alt to view the file menu.
    2. Click Tools , and then select Folder Options .
    3. Select Don't show hidden files, folders, or drives and select Hide protected operating system files .
      Figure 11: Folder Options: View tab
      Folder Options: View tab
    4. Click OK .
  13. Close Explorer. The Out of Disk Space errors should no longer appear.