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Local Disk C vs D (Fully Explained)

Local Disk C vs D (Fully Explained)

Technology is evolving at a rapid rate, with newer versions quickly replacing current technologies. But there are numerous parts that make up the devices that we utilize today and don’t understand their purpose.

This article will therefore discuss the difference between the two most important technologies that make up our laptops and computers: local disks C and D.

What are local disks?

A local drive, also called a local disk drive, is a storage device used by a computer for accessing and storing data. It is a computer’s naïve hard disk drive (HDD) and is installed directly by the manufacturer.

A typical hard disk drive contains platter disks covered with a magnetic material in which the data is stored. These drives use an orderly rotating pattern arranged in tracks broken into smaller areas known as sectors to accommodate each type of file. The data is carved onto these platters through the read and write heads.

The local drive is one of the most commonly used models and implementations of an HDD. It is installed in a computer through any of the motherboard disk interfaces, and is far more effective than a network drive, due to its faster access speed.

A computer can have either one or multiple local disks, depending on the manufacturer. Having multiple drives is useful as it helps protect your data from device failure.

For example, if you divide your data into multiple drives, you will not be severely affected if one drive crashes. In contrast, if you keep your data in one disk drive, you would need to go through a complex procedure to get all that data back.

Of course, many people tend to use external disk drives for easier portability, as you can’t easily remove your computer’s disk drive.

Why are HDDs used?

Hard disk drives are still widely used for a variety of reasons. Disk drives are incredibly affordable, even compared to Solid State Drives (such as USBs) of the same capacity.

This lower price is because it is cheaper to manufacture hard disk drives as compared to USBs.

Hard disk drives have been used for ages. From the earliest computers to more modern laptops, hard drives have been the key component for storage. This means that hard drives have a higher availability in the market and have been more widely used.

Hard disk drives have higher base storage, approximately 500 GB as a starting storage. This capacity is only increasing with innovation, with newer models having a storage capacity of up to 6 TB, meaning that you can easily store massive quantities of data in one disk drive.

Hard disk drives have non-volatile memory. This means that, in case of a power outage or an external shock, your disk drive will still be able to retrieve your data. This warrants the safety and protection, especially of valuable data on your computer.

Finally, the platters of a hard disk drive consist of highly durable and resistant material. This means that a typical hard disk has a long lifespan, reducing the need to frequently replace them.

Where are disk drives A and B?

When you read the title, you may have wondered, “What happened to disk drives A and B?”

Well, these disks were discontinued in the early 2000s. Let’s find out why.

Before the DVD and CD, we used floppy disks to store information. However, the earliest floppy disks weren’t all that much, with a maximum storage of 175KB. To put that in perspective, only 10 seconds in 175KB of your favorite MP3 song.

This made it a revolutionary technology at the time, with its portability and ability to store and recall data, however small it may be.

Floppy Disks

The A and B drives were reserved as floppy disk drives. This is because of drive incompatibility, there wasn’t a set standard for data storage at the time so you had to be prepared to read media that was formatted differently.

The A drive was for running the computer, while the B drive was for copying and transferring data.

However, by the early 1990s, floppy disks started becoming scarce. The invention of the Compact Disk (CD) meant people could read even larger volumes of media, and quickly became a popular medium for data storage.

The A and B drives were no longer utilized in most computers by 2003, with the increase in demand for C and D drives by manufacturers.

What is the major difference between Local disk C vs D?

The two drives perform two distinctive but complementary tasks.

C Drive used for storing the OS (operating system)
D Driveused as a recovery disk
Purpose of C Drive vs D Drive

The C drive has been widely used for storing the operating system (OS) and other vital software for running your computer. When you start your computer or laptop, all necessary files to help your computer function are withdrawn from the C drive.

The operating system, boot sector, and other essential information install on the C drive, and your system recognizes the drive itself. All programs and software are installed in the C drive by default.

In contrast, the D drive (or DVD drive) is used by many manufacturers as a recovery disk, since you probably haven’t changed the nature of the disk drive by yourself. However, many people use the D drive to store their personal media and programs.

This is because some people believe that separating personal data from the computer’s system data will improve performance and make maintenance easier. In reality, while the increase in performance is very small, separating your data makes maintenance easier.

If you store your data in the C drive, then you’d need to follow a lengthy procedure to recover that data if the C drive becomes corrupted or collapses.

If you keep your data separate on the D drive, you can easily access that data without needing to reinstall or repair windows. It also makes restoring your computer after a factory reset much easier.

For a more comprehensive guide on how you can move information from C drive to D drive, please follow this guide:

Moving information from drive C to drive D Explained


A popular practice is to make multiple drives, one for each function. So people keep a drive for games, one for images, one for videos, and one for documents.

Doing so helps keep track of information between drives, and more importantly, helps reduce the load of the C drive. In conclusion, using the D drive reduces the burden on the C drive, potentially improving the performance of your computer.

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