How to Transfer Files from C Drive to D Drive/Move Downloads

Read this detailed post to learn a step-by-step tutorial about how to transfer files from C drive to D drive to free up space effectively. You will know what files can be moved and how to move downloads to another drive. Scroll for details and steps.


By Ivy Updated on June 14, 2024

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User case: Can I transfer files from C drive to D drive?

“I have a completely new computer, running Win10. My C drive is almost full, as the system defaulted to installing everything there. I want to move all documentation, videos, etc ( NOT Program Files! ) to the D drive. How do I move downloads to another drive? Incidentally...opening file-viewer in tree & highlighting folder which I want to move & right-clicking properties doesn't work as the location tab is not visible at all...”


In fact, many users have ever been in this dilemma that the C drive is full when there's still much space in the D drive. Usually, when this occurs, you may think about the following two methods:

#1: Move unallocated space to C drive. It requires unallocated space on the right side of the C: drive or you can shrink a drive with plenty of space, and then extend the C: drive with the separated out space.
#2: Transfer files from the C drive to the D drive. It's the simplest way to make room for the C drive as long as there is still redundant space on the D drive and you know what files can be moved from the C drive to another drive (like D, E, F, or G).

Here we will mainly introduce how to transfer files from C drive to D drive or other drives, and you can definitely do so with different methods. 

How to move files from C drive to D drive in Windows 11/10/8/7

How to move files from one drive to another? There are 5 methods in total. Click on the anchor text below to jump to the method you prefer. Except for moving files from local disk C to D, you’re allowed to transfer files from the C drive to an external hard drive using these methods.


Applicable User Group

Transfer Efficiency

#1: Cut/Copy and Paste



#2: File Transfer Freeware

Users of all levels


#3: Command Prompt

Experienced users


#4: Use “Move” Feature

Users of all levels


#5: Change Default Location

Users of all levels


Note: After moving, make sure you can access these files from the D drive. If everything's fine, you can delete them from C drive to free up the space, but the previous shortcuts for these files would be invalid. In case anything unexpected happens, you can backup C drive at first. Then you can move downloads to another drive.

#1: Copy files from C drive to D drive via copy/cut and paste

Step 1. Double-click Computer or This PC to open Windows File Explorer. 

Step 2. Navigate to the folders or files you want to move, right-click them, and select Copy or Cut from the given options. 

Cut or Copy

Step 3. Finally, find the D drive or other drives you want to store the files to, right-click the blank space, and select Paste.

Alternatively, you can press Ctrl + C (Copy) or Ctrl + X (Cut) after pitching these files into the source drive. In the destination drive, press Ctrl + V to paste these files. This will help you move downloads to another drive.

This method applies to transfer personal files from C drive to D drive. To move program files in this way will make them inaccessible.
It is not suggested to delete the “My Documents” folder or similar folders on C drive after transferring. Otherwise, that would mess up your profile.

#2: Transfer files from C drive to D drive via free software

AOMEI Backupper Standard is the best free file sync software designed for Windows 11/10/8/7. It offers comprehensive features that allow you to easily sync files and folders, ensuring your data is always up-to-date across multiple locations. With its user-friendly interface, even beginners can set up and manage sync tasks without hassle. Additionally, it provides reliable data protection, helping you safeguard your important files against loss or corruption.

AOMEI Backupper
Easy Windows Data Syncing Software
  • Various Sync Paths: With the Basic Sync feature, you can sync folders between drives, from one folder to another, from internal disk to external disk, from PC to PC, or sync folders to cloud drive, etc.
  • Automatic Sync: You can keep this task by your frequency, such as daily, weekly, or monthly, which is especially useful for long-term data protection.
  • Batch File Transfer: It allows you to sync multiple folders at the same time, saving you from tedious work.
  • Data Recovery: You can easily recover files from the duplicate when the original files are damaged, infected, or deleted.

Please download and install this free data-syncing software. The following guide will show you how to move files to another drive (from C to D). For server users, try AOMEI Backupper Server.

Step 1. Launch AOMEI Backupper Standard after installing. Click Sync and then Basic Sync.

File Sync

Step 2. Click Add Folder to browse files and folders from C drive. 

Add Folder

Tip: If you don't want to move all the files, Click Filter Settings (supported by AOMEI Backupper Professional) to exclude or include certain file types from selected folders. 

Click Filter

Step 3. Click the second box > This PC and select D drive as the destination path. Then, click Start Sync to move files from C drive to D drive.

Select Sync Destination

Now, you may already move files from the C drive to the D drive successfully. But if you don't want to lose any data due to unexpected disasters, you could follow the 3-2-1 backup strategy and sync files to external hard drives, network drives, cloud drives, etc.

Tips on long-term data protection: 

  • The schedule sync feature helps you to sync files daily, weekly, or monthly, so as to keep all the changes you made on C drive. You can also sync files using the Event triggers or USB Plug-in mode. 

Schedule Sync

  • On the premium version, you will have choices. Real-time sync is the fastest file sync method, which will sync changes immediately once it's detected. Mirror Sync is the safest method while Two-way Sync keeps changes not only from the source but also from the destination.
  • For users who want to create a cloud backup, but with a few GB of cloud storage, you could consider using AOMEI Cloud, a cloud drive developed by AOMEI Tech, which offers 1TB cloud storage from the time you sign up AOMEI account until 15 days.


#3: Move files from C drive to D drive in Command Prompt

In addition to the first method, you can also use the Command Prompt to enable hibernate mode in Windows 11. Open Command Prompt as an administrator. Then, type the command and press Enter. This will activate hibernate mode on your system, making it available for use. Learn how to move downloads to another drive as follows:

Step 1. Press the Windows + R key combo to start the Run box. Type “cmd” and press Enter. 

Step 2. Copy files or the whole category with the following command.

  • To copy the file “workfile.txt” on the root of the C drive to the D drive, type the command: “copy c: \workfile.txt d:”.
  • Surely, you can copy a whole category from the current directory to D drive. Type command: “copy *.txt d:” This would copy all texts to D drive at a time.

move files via CMD

#4: Copy files from the C drive to the D drive via the Move feature

Here you'll learn how to move files from local disk C to D using the built-in "Move" feature:

Step 1. Press Windows + E to open Windows Explorer.

Step 2. Find out the files or folders you want to move, right-click it, and select Properties from the context menu.

Step 3. Click the Location tab and Move option.

Move Feature

Step 4. Select the location you want to store your files or folders, then click Apply and Confirm.

#5: Move files from C drive to D drive by changing its default location

Step 1. Go to Settings > System > Storage and scroll down to the bottom of the page where it says More Storage Settings.

Step 2. Click Change where the new content is saved under the More Storage Settings.

Change Where the New Content Is Saved

Step 3. Then, you will see all the default save locations of Apps, Documents, Music, Photos and Videos, Movies and TV Shows, and Maps. Click the drop-down menu and select D drive as a new location. Also, you can move files to another drive except for the D drive.

Change Default Save Location

Error problems you may encounter

1. 0x80070057: The parameter is incorrect.

This issue may be caused by corrupted files, network connection problems, or long file paths. You can choose to backup only the subfolder in the "User" folder.

It's suggested to check both C drive and D drive by navigating to their Properties and selecting Check under the Tools tab.


2. 0x80070780: The file cannot be accessed by the system.

This usually happens when using Cut and Paste. You can choose to use Copy and Paste.

3. The file 'XXX' is too large for the destination file system.

This is due to FAT32 limitation. Files larger than 4GB can NOT be stored on a FAT32 volume. You can either compress the large files or convert FAT32 to NTFS without losing data.

What files should users transfer to the D drive

Since C drive contains the operating system, system files, other applications, and their related files, etc, you cannot directly delete files unless you know what files in C drive can be deleted.

Your first thought may be to move all the subfolders under the "User" folder, including Documents, Desktop, Downloads, Favorites, OneDrive, Picture, Music, etc, but not the "Users" folder. Since it contains many information and documents, there will be a conflict if you move it.

By default, the installation location for new programs is C: drive. If your space is still insufficient after transferring all the user folders, you could consider changing the installation location of the new programs to D: drive.

Meanwhile, there are some files you cannot move, such as WindowsProgram Files, and Programs File (x86). The Windows folder stores system files required to start a computer, so you cannot move it. The last two folders are the installation locations of programs. If you move it, the program may stop working or not respond. And some of them only work when installed on the root drive of the hard drive.

Why move the downloads folder to another drive

Moving the Downloads folder to another drive can offer several benefits:

· Free Up Space: This helps free up space on your primary drive, improving overall system performance.
· Better Performance: Particularly beneficial for smaller SSDs, preventing them from filling up quickly with large files.
· Enhanced Organization: Storing downloads on a separate drive can enhance data organization and make file management easier.
· System Stability: This can improve system stability and reduce the risk of data loss if your primary drive encounters issues.

How to make Chrome ask you every time where to download a file

If you want Chrome to prompt you for a download location every time, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Chrome menu button (three dots) at the top right and select Settings.
  2. Scroll down and click on Advanced to expand more settings.
  3. In the Downloads section, turn on the toggle for Ask where to save each file before downloading.

Chrome Ask Download Location

FAQ on transferring files from C drive to D drive

1. Why would users want to transfer files from my C drive to my D drive?

The C drive (usually the system drive) tends to hold the operating system and installed programs, while the D drive may have more available space. Transferring files from C to D can free up space on the system drive, potentially improving performance and allowing for better organization of files.

2. Is it safe to transfer system files or program files to the D drive?

No, it's generally not recommended to manually transfer system files or program files from the C drive to the D drive. Doing so can cause issues with the functioning of your operating system or installed programs. Stick to transferring personal files and data.

3. What should I do if I encounter errors while transferring files between drives?

If you encounter errors during the transfer process, such as "file in use" or "access denied" messages, make sure that the files aren't currently being used by any programs. Close any open programs that might be accessing the files and try again


Without a tedious uninstall and reinstall process, one can easily transfer files from C drive to D drive in five methods. Among these methods, AOMEI Backupper can still do more for you, such as transferring files from SSD to HDD, syncing folders between computers, etc. Now you know how to move downloads to another drive.

As a matter of fact, this freeware still supports backing up systems, disks, partitions, and files with flexible backup options, such as daily/weekly/monthly schedule backup, full or incremental backup, normal or high compressional level, etc. 

Ivy · Editor
Ivy is an editor of AOMEI Technology, she covers backup & restore,hard disk & partitions management and cloud files transfer and so on for AOMEI. She is an outgoing girl and enjoys helping people find solutions to their problems. She loves traveling, eating, reading and so on. She usually hangs out with friends at her leisure time.