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

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This document applies to HP computers with Windows Vista.
Low disk space errors appear each time Windows opens or when you try to open the Recovery (D:) drive.
Figure 1: Low Disk Space message
Low Disk Space message

Why do these errors occur?

The purpose of the Recovery (D:) drive is to store all the files needed to do an emergency recovery when the system become unstable. The Recovery (D:) 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 (D:) drive to store files (such as files from using MS Backup), 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 drive D: as shown from Total Care Advisor
 Image showing available space on D: from Total Care Advisor

How can I fix these errors?

To stop Low Disk Space errors, remove files that are not related to recovery from the Recovery (D:) drive. Do so as follows:
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 right-click Computer .
  2. Select Properties .
  3. Click System Protection from the left side of the Window.
  4. In the section "Automatic restore points", remove the selection next to the D: drive, and then click OK . If the D: drive was not selected, close this window.
    Figure 3: System Protection tab with D: drive unselected
    image of system protection tab with D: drive not selected
  5. Right-click Start and select Explore All Users .
  6. Before you can remove the backup files and folders, 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. From the file menu, click Tools , and then select Folder Options .
      Figure 4: Folder Options
       Image of folder options
    3. Select the View tab.
    4. Select Show hidden files and folders , remove the selection from Hide protected operating system files and then click OK .
      Figure 5: Folder Options: View Tab
      Hidden Files and Folder
  7. From the Folder Options window in explorer, double-click Recovery (D:) .
  8. If a Window opens stating "You don't currently have permission to access this folder" opens. Click Continue .
    Figure 6: Message window
    Image of permission message.
  9. If you previously copied or created any files into Recovery (D:) and you want to keep them, copy them to another drive - such as the C: drive.
  10. Find and delete any files that you previously copied onto the Recovery (D:) drive.
    CAUTION:Do not delete any files that are associated to recovery! Do not delete the items RECOVERY, $RECYCLE.BIN, boot, hp, PC-Doctor, pcdr, or PRELOAD! Doing so can prevent a future system recovery from the hard drive. If you are not sure, do not delete the file.
    Press Shift + Delete to permanently remove the files.
    To delete files created from MS Backup (MS Backup files are not recovery files), find and delete the folder with the same name as the computer name in the Recovery (D:) partition. For example if the computer name is BOB-PC, the folder containing the backup files would be named BOB-PC and would be deleted.
    Figure 7: Files stored in the Recovery partition. Your PC will look different.
    Image of Recovery partition.
  11. Several confirmation windows open. Click Continue , and Yes until the folder is deleted.
  12. To 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 do not show hidden files and folders and select Hide protected operating system files .
    4. Click OK .
  13. Close explorer. The Out of Disk Space errors should no longer appear. If you would like to use the Microsoft Backup Tool again, open it and select a different external backup device to store the backup files on.