C Drive VS D Drive: What Are the Main Differences?

Sherly updated on Jan 11, 2024 | Home >Computer Instruction

While using the Windows system, have you ever wondered what the difference between a C drive and a D drive is? We'll detail "C drive vs D drive" and cover the simple and easy-to-understand definition of the C drive and the D drive, followed by their functions, size, speed, etc. After going through this article, you will understand if it is right to save files on the C drive or the D drive and the ideal drive for games.

C Drive VS D Drive: Definition

It is easy to understand that the C and D drives are the different disk partitions in the Windows system. So let us move to their detailed definitions to better understand C drive vs. D drive. Starting with the C drive first.

What Is C Drive?

What is C drive? The physical hard drive stores data in the computer. The C drive, or the "Local Disk C," is the active primary disk in the system. Hence, when the manufacturer or the user installs the operating system, it gets stored in the active primary disk of the system.

C drive

The system recognizes the C drive with all operating systems, critical information, and boot sectors stored in it. Hence, when you turn on the system, all necessary details are only booted from the C drive. In addition to it, C drive stores all applications by default. Hence, Windows may often remind you that "C drive is full". Hence there is a link to help.

What Is D Drive?

The D drive is the first drive following the C drive in the Windows system. Its role is different from one system to the other. For example, manufacturers may use the D drive as a recovery disk, systems with the internal and external disk may label the external disk as a D drive, etc.

local disk d

Users trust D drive when it comes to saving the data and information apart from the system data. It is believed to improve the system's performance as the system data is differentiated from personal data. Besides, there is a link to help since you may meet problems, like:

After having a quick look at their definitions, let us move to C drive vs. D drive based on other aspects.

C Drive VS D Drive: Functions & Size & Speed

The definitions make it easy to understand that the C drive is the local disk of the system used to store system data, while users use the D drive to store personal data. The use of the C drive is very much pre-decided; the use of the d drive depends on the users. 

The key functions of the C drive and the D drive make it easy for the users to understand their differences. So, below is the table depicting quick differentiation between these two drives based on functions, size, and speed.

Features C Drive D Drive
  • Offers storage media for device drivers and application software
  • The default location of the files used in the operating system loading and the boot process
  • Store different data on different drives to ensure data flexibility
  • Solve the insufficient space problems in the system
  • Typically between 100GB to 150GB for the Windows system
  • Typically between 200GB to 300GB for the Windows system
  • Lower
  • Faster

Hence, it is easy to understand the C drive vs. the D drive based on the main functions, size, and speed. Therefore, users can understand more about the C and D drives and can start saving files on them. 

Besides, there is a link to help you if you want to transfer programs from C drive to D drive:

Should I Save Files on C Drive or D Drive?

The C drive is dedicated to the internal system's data, like Windows files. Hence, we need to avoid putting other personal data. Saving important data on the C drive may lead to the loss of data during reboot. Thus, saving personal files on a C drive may not be the best option available here.

The D drive, on the other hand, is the safe option as it is used as a recovery drive in many systems. Next to the C drive, the D drive is the first storage drive available for files and data management. 

Hence, if asked for system files, the C drive is the best option, while the D drive is the best option for personal files. After the files saving, let us explore the best option in drives for games out of the C drive vs. the D drive.

C Drive VS D Drive for Games?

After going through the ideal options for saving different files on the C drive or the D drive, it comes down to the games. Using the D drive for games is recommended, as the C drive contains system data and operating system files. Any loss to the system causes a loss of the C drive data, which causes a loss of game data stored in it.

If games are saved on the C drive, the drive will turn slow, affecting the system's performance. The limited space of the C drive should be left for the system data files only.

On the other hand, the D drive can be rescued safely during the data backup. In addition, the D drive has enough memory space and speed compared to the C drive. Thus, users looking for the ultimate gaming experience must store game files on the D drive. If you have already put games into the C drive, there is a link to help you.

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How to Move Games from C Drive to D Drive?

Many people want to move games from C drive to D drive. To do that, you must follow some step-by-step guidelines so that you can successfully transfer the full game data. 

However, users can seek the help of a professional tool like EaseUS Partition Master to extend the capacity of the C drive. EaseUS Partition Master Professional 17.0 is the all-in-one partition manager for Windows 7/8/8.1/10 and Windows 11. Now, download it and follow these steps to extend your C drive.

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Option 1. Extend System C drive with unallocated space

  1. 1. Right-click on the System C: drive and select "Resize/Move".
  2. 2. Drag the system partition end into the unallocated space so to add it to the C: drive. And click "OK". 
  3. 3. Click "Execute Task" and "Apply" to execute the operations and extend the C drive.

Option 2. Extend System C drive without unallocated space

  1. 1. Right-click a big partition with enough free space on the system disk, select "Allocate Space".
  2. 2. Select the system drive at the Allocate Space From (*) To section, and drag the end of System C drive into the unallocated space. Click "OK" to confirm.
  3. 3. Click "Execute Task", it will list the pending operations, and click "Apply" to save the changes and extend the C drive.

0:00-0:26 Extend System Drive with Unallocated Space; 0:27-0:58 Extend System Drive without Unallocated Space.

It adjusts the disk space, creates a new partition, can merge partitions, etc. Hence, it is a perfect tool for Windows beginners looking to optimize their disk performance. It can support different file system format like exFAT, FAT 12/16/32, EXT2/3/4, NTFS, etc. However, does it have any other functions? Sure!

What Else Can EaseUS Partition Master Do?

As a professional disk manager for Windows, EaseUS Partition Master can do a lot to help us. It can help you to deal with C drive and D drive well. You will like its clear interface. Its main features are as follows:

You can quickly download EaseUS Partition Master on your Windows system and use it to manage your C drive and D drive.

Free Download 

Windows 11/10/8/7100% Secure

C Drive VS D Drive: Verdict 

Hence, different drives on the system facilitate the different functions. For example, the c drive is dedicated to the operating systems, while the D drive is for personal user data or recovery files. It is easy to understand both drives' different functions, speeds, and sizes in this C drive vs. D drive.

The C drive can be left for the system's files, while the D drive can be used to store personal data. This differentiation ensures that users can optimize the physical memory of the Windows system. Users can store games on the D drive, while files can be saved on the C or D drive based on feasibility.

FAQs About C Drive VS D Drive

After going through a detailed review of the C drive VS D drive, you may have certain questions related to the same. Some of the frequently asked questions related to the C drive and D drive are:

1. Can games be installed on the D drive?

Yes, it is easy to install different games on the D drive. It is easy to define the installer location while running the installer file. Some functions should be installed on the same drive as the Windows drive. However, while installing games on the D drive, it will install some components in the operating system.

2. What is the D drive used for?

The D drive is used to hold the restore partition or to offer additional disk storage space. It is the secondary hard drive installed on the system. It has less space than the C drive and can store specific files.

3. Can you transfer data from the C to the D drive?

It is easy to use the file transfer tool to transfer data from the C drive to the D drive using the file transfer tool. The data types can be documents, installed programs, system files, folders, etc.

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Updated by Sherly

Sherly joined EaseUS in 2022 and she has always loved writing articles and enjoys the fun they bring. She receives professional training here, focusing on product performance and other relative knowledge. She has written over 200 articles to help people overcome computing issues.

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