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

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

Why do these errors occur?

The purpose of the Recovery drive is to store all the files needed to do an emergency recovery when the system becomes unstable. The Recovery 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 Recovery drive to store files, or if a backup or restore program uses the Recovery drive to store files, the drive quickly becomes full and can cause serious problems when you need to use system recovery.
Do not store files on the Recovery drive. The only files on the Recovery drive should be related to a system recovery.
Figure 2: Space on Recovery (D:) as shown in Explorer
Space on Recovery (D:) 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 Recovery drive, and remove files that are not related to system recovery 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 Recovery 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 Recovery
    System Protection Settings for Recovery
    • If protection is turned Off , close this window.
    • If protection is turned On , click the Recovery drive name to highlight it, and then click Configure . Select Turn off system protection , and then click OK . If a confirmation message appears, click Yes or OK .
      Figure 6: Turn off system protection for RECOVERY (D:)
      Turn off system protection for RECOVERY (D:)
  5. Click Start , and then click Computer .
  6. Before you can remove any backup, restore, or personal files and folders that might be stored on the Recovery 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 Recovery drive.
    Figure 9: Recovery drive
    Recovery 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 Recovery 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 Recovery 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 recovery! Do not delete the items: $RECYCLE.BIN, boot, hp, preload, Recovery, RecoveryImage, system.sav, bootmgr, BT_HP.FLG, CSP.DAT, DeployRp, HP_WSD.dat, HPSF_Rep, language, or RPCONFIG! Doing so can prevent a future system recovery from the hard drive. If you are not sure, do not delete the file.
    Figure 10: Files stored in the Recovery partition (your PC will look different)
    Files stored in the Recovery 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.