Patrick Marshall answers your personal technology questions each week.

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Q: I keep getting a notice that disk D is running low on space. When opening Disk Cleanup, it says I can only free up O bytes of space. How do I clean up disk D and stop the warning notice from coming up over and over approximately every five minutes without giving me any idea how to fix it?

— Will Ehrstrom

A: The first thing to do is to determine what’s on Drive D. Is it a CD/DVD drive? A system partition? A data drive?

Whichever it is, you can try using the Windows cleanup utility as you did, but this time including Windows system files.

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To do so, using File Explorer right-click on the D drive, then click on Properties. You’ll see a graphic showing you how much used and free space the drive has. Click on the button to the right that is labeled “Disk Cleanup.” Next, you’ll see a list of the types of files you can clear and how much space they are occupying. Below that you’ll see a button labeled “Clean up system files.” Click on that one, too. It will allow you to free up such things as temporary internet files. Finally, run the cleanup program and see what happens.

If Drive D is a CD/DVD drive or a system partition you won’t be able to clean it up. If it’s a CD/DVD drive and it’s empty, try putting a disc in.


Q: I’ve noticed that a true cold boot from full off does fix some things that a reboot will not. I believe that some code remains in place in memory during a reboot versus a cold boot that truly flushes the entire memory. With boot SSDs (solid state drives) these days the time penalty of a cold boot versus a reboot/restart has gone way down.

We use some quite complex programs in our radiology practices and I emphasize to our partners that if their workstation is acting up it is better to boot up from full off.

— Scott Harrison, Mount Vernon

A: You are absolutely right, Scott. A cold reboot occurs when you completely power down the computer, then turn it on again. When you do a cold boot, the computer shuts down all processes, completely clears memory and, during reboot, runs a self-test routine. A cold boot will also eliminate some errors and freezes that a warm boot will not.

And thanks for the reminder to be more clear when I’m advising readers with a computer problem. I should say turn the computer completely off and then on again, rather than telling them simply to reboot the computer.

Q: I’m trying to update my Windows 7 but it fails every time. Where can I find an answer?

— Don Schmutz

A: Follow this link and you’ll find a list of things you can try:

But if you want to keep your computer secure I recommend upgrading to Windows 10 if your computer has the required specs.