Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
A second hard drive can help alleviate a lot of problems when it comes to space. I'll cover a few simple changes to put that second hard drive to use.
I have a laptop with 32 GB in drive C and 32 GB in drive D. My drive C is full and I do not know how to start using drive D.
A full C: and an empty D: is an opportunity. There are several approaches to take to start taking advantage of that second hard drive.
From system configuration settings to where you place your data we'll look at several options to make use of that second drive.
A couple might even make your computer slightly faster.
The paging file, also known as the Windows swap file, is a large hidden file that typically resides in the root of your C: drive. It's where Windows stores things when the programs you're actually running can't get enough RAM.
Moving that file to your D: drive is not only possible, but might actually make your system slightly faster, moving the swap file operations - which depending on your system configuration and usage can be heavy - to the second disk.
What is pagefile.sys and can I move it? shows how to move the paging file to another drive.
Be sure to erase the old paging file to free up its room after it's no longer in use.
By default Windows stores a lot of stuff in your "My Documents" folder. In addition, many applications like the assorted Microsoft Office programs, all default to storing the documents you create there as well. On top of that most browsers will also place the files you download into My Documents as well.
As you can imagine, moving it can move a lot from C: to D: with this added benefit that D: continues to be used thereafter for all those things.
How do I change the location of the My Documents folder? shows how to move My Documents from one drive to another.
Depending on how you use your computer, and more importantly how the programs you run use your computer, moving the temporary files to another drive can often clear up some space, as well as increase performance just a bit.
To do this, create a folder on drive D: - let's call it TEMP and put it in the root of D: "D:\TEMP".
Now, for XP (others are similar), right click on My Computer, click on Properties, click on the Advanced tab (or link), and then click on the Environment Variables button. You should see something similar to this:
If there are TMP or TEMP environment variables in the upper box, remove them; click on each and click Delete.
In the second box, scroll down until you find the TMP and TEMP environment variables. Click Edit..., and change the value of each to be D:\TEMP.
You may need to reboot to make this effective. After that you can visit the old temporary file location(s) and delete the contents - it's all been moved to D:.
We've moved some easy to move items that affect either the system as a whole, or all programs that run on the system. To make further changes, we have to deal with each application you might be using individually, or just decide to do some things differently from here on out.
My recommendation is to conceptually begin to think of "D:" as your "data" drive. That means when working in various applications when you save your work save it to a folder on D:. If you already have a collection of work, create a folder on D: and move it all there. When you download something, download it to D:.
Speaking of collections and downloads, if you have large quantities of downloaded materials like music, pictures or such, consider also moving it to a new folder you create on D:.
Typically a few "low hanging fruit" candidates can be quickly identified by tools like TreeSize outlined in Where's my disk space going?. Run the utility on your C: drive, and see of there are things taking up space that could be moved to D:.