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My laptop has a 500GB hard disk. It came with two equally sized partitions, C: and D:.

I am curious to know the purpose of this scheme?

Is C: meant to install programs only and D: meant to save all the documents I created? I am not sure if this is the purpose as by default, in Windows, My Documents and all other libraries reside in C: too.

Therefore, what is the recommended way to utilize this hard disk? Should I start storing everything in D: (its empty now) or store in C: then move to D: when C: is full? There is about 170 GB free space in C: now and since I don't install a lot of programs, C: is unlikely to be ever filled up if I use it to install programs only.

EDIT: My laptop is brand new, so the partitioning was done by the vendor.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Almost all new laptops have a recovery partition that allows you to reset the computer to the exact state it came in. This way, you do not need any optical disks, product keys or additional drivers for reinstalling the OS.

Now, resetting the system means that all data on at least one partition has to get deleted. Usually, this only affects the C drive.

Is C: meant to install programs only and D: meant to save all the documents I created?

Precisely. After a system reset, the C drive will have been wiped, while all data on the D drive remains untouched.

I am not sure if this is the purpose as by default, in Windows, My Documents and all other libraries reside in C: too.

This is a classic example of having a good idea and executing it badly. Moving the My Documents folder is rather easy. How to Change the Default Location of the My Documents Folder explains how.

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No way to really know without asking the original user who did this. I'd find it strange if an OEM did this.

A common reason for partitioning in this style is to allow the easy reformat and reinstallation of the partition Windows lives on. During Windows setup you can choose an existing partition to format and reinstall to, and data in other partitions will not be affected.

Allowing 250GBytes for programs sounds like something a heavy gamer would do, as installing many games could take up that much space, and if they were tweaking settings or Windows files, they may have been the type to need to reinstall periodically.

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I'd find it strange if an OEM did this. Acer does this. If you reinstall from the recovery partition, only the C drive gets wiped, so D is primarily meant for personal files. –  Dennis Mar 2 at 15:39
    
Recovery partitions are typically like 10% of the drive or so, not half of it, aren't they? –  ultrasawblade Mar 2 at 17:18
    
Yes. And Acer divides the remaining 90 % evenly between the C drive (which will be overwritten by the recovery process) and the D drive (which will not). –  Dennis Mar 2 at 19:06

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