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HP Notebook PCs - Low Disk Space Error Appears During or After Backup

This document pertains to HP Notebook PCs with Windows Vista.

Correcting ‘Backup did not complete successfully’ and ‘Last Backup Failed’ error messages

The Windows Backup and Recovery Center allows you to select where to store backed up files. The files should be backed up to a set of DVD/CD-ROM disks or to an external storage device. The default file storage location used by the Microsoft Backup utility is the first available drive after the C: drive. Unfortunately, the first available drive after C: on an HP PC is a logical D: drive which is the Recovery Partition. Therefore, if you configure the backup utility to select the default Recovery Partition on the hard drive, normally identified as either HP_Recovery(D:) or Presario_RP(D:), the Windows Backup will fail. To correct the problem, the incorrectly backed up files must be deleted and a new backup to the correct location must be performed.

Purpose of the Recovery Partition

A small portion of the hard drive on the HP notebook PC is configured as a Recovery Partition. It contains the programs needed to restore the operating system of the PC to original factory condition. If you unknowingly select the logical D: partition and starts the backup, the Windows program copies files without checking to verify there is enough space. When the small space is full, Windows displays the backup failure message. The HP Total Care Advisor will also report the failure.
If a backup fails because files are written to the Recovery Partition, and the problem is corrected by deleting the improperly backed up files, prevent a repeat of the problem by changing the configuration of the Windows Backup and Recovery Center.

Deciding what files to delete

The Windows backup files are easily identified because of their folder and file naming conventions. A typical folder and file name convention is D:\<PC Name>\Backup Set <Date and Time>\Backup Files\Backup files.zip. For example, D:\MyPC\Backup Set 2007-01-31\Backup files 1.zip.
In the folder along with the backed up files there is a subfolder named Catalog. The files in the Catalog contain information that a Recovery program will need to restore the backed up files to a PC. To reclaim the drive space taken up by the backed up files, simply identify and delete the unwanted backup files in the \Backup Set and \Catalog folders.
To view your files as explained above, you will need to set your Windows Explorer view to show full paths and file extensions.
As you move through the folder structure looking for files, the Vista security may prompt you to click Continue to access the folders in the Recovery Partition.

Delete files from the Recovery Partition

To reclaim the drive space on the Recovery Partition, locate and delete the unneeded folders and files, as follows:
  1. Click Start, type explorer in the search field, and click on Windows Explorer when it appears in the program list to open the explorer window.
  2. Click Computer in the left panel to display the names of the drives in the right panel.
  3. Double-click on the Recovery Partition, which is normally named the (D:) drive, to display the folders and files in the right panel.
  4. Highlight all the folders and files on the Recovery Partition, except the RECOVERY folder, and press the delete key.
The files will be removed and the space will be available to the Recovery Manager program.

Set Backup options to prevent files from writing to the Recovery Partition

To prevent Windows Backup and Recovery Center from writing files to the Recovery Partition of the PCs hard drive, change the settings of the Windows Backup and Recovery Center as follows:
  1. Click Start, type Backup in the search field, and click Backup and Restore Center when it appears to open the Backup and Restore Center.
  2. Click Change settings under the Back up files pane.
  3. On the Backup Status and Configuration window, click Change backup settings to adjust your current settings or start a new full backup.
  4. When prompted by the User Account Control for permission to start the action, click Continue.
  5. When prompted on where to save your backup files, click the drop-down arrow for the hard drive option and select an available DVD/CD-ROM drive, and then click Next.
    Do not select the partition on the D: drive as a storage location. The partition is small, and overwriting the partition will cause a failure.
  6. When prompted, on which disks to include in the backup, deselect the Recovery Partition and click Next.
  7. When prompted, on which types of files you want to include in the backup, select the desired type and click Next.
  8. When prompted, on how often you want to create a backup, select the schedule for times when the PC will not be in heavy usage and click Save settings and start backup to save the backup settings.
    • You may allow the backup utility to complete the backup at this time.
    • You may stop the current backup and do a backup at another time.
Once the settings for the automatic backups are saved, the backup utility will prompt you to insert a DVD/CD-ROM disk just before the backup starts.

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