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System Drive Determination

Data recovery procedures for a system drive are elaborate. In contrast the procedure for a data drive is simpler and the chances of a succesful recovery are higher. It is important to correctly classify a drive and follow the appropriate procedures.

A system drive holds files required by Windows® or critical programs such as Internet Explorer to operate. A drive is a system drive if it holds any of the following:

  • A folder used by Windows such as "Windows", "Desktop", "My Documents", etc.
  • The "Temp" and "Tmp" folders used by many programs as a temporary storage area. To display their location in Windows XP click Start, Control Panel, System, Advanced, Environment Variables.
  • A cache folder used by Internet Explorer or other browsers. To display its location in Internet Explorer, click Tools, Internet Options, Settings (in Temporary Internet Files).
  • A page file. In Windows XP click Start, Control Panel, System, Advanced (tab), Settings (in Performance), Advanced (tab), Change (in Virtual Memory).

There may be more than one system drive. For example drive C: may hold the folder "Windows" and drive D: a page file