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Turn On or Off Hide Empty Drives in Windows 11

An empty drive is a drive with no media. For example, a connected media card reader without a SD card inserted.

File Explorer will hide empty drives by default.

If you turn on Show all folders for the navigation pane in File Explorer, empty drives will always show in the navigation pane even if you turned on Hide empty drives.

If you turn on Show hidden files, folders, and drives in Folder Options, empty drives will always show as faded (dimmed) in File Explorer > This PC even if you turned on Hide empty drives.

This tutorial will show you how to turn on or off Hide empty drives for your account in Windows 10 and Windows 11.

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Add or Remove Drive Space Indicator Bar in Windows 11

The drive space indicator bar gives you a visual display of available free space for each drive shown on This PC in File Explorer.

The drive space indicator bar is blue until free space gets below 10%, then the bar turns red to help let you know the drive is low on free space.

If wanted, you can remove the drive space indicator bar to no longer show on drive tiles.

This tutorial will show you how to add or remove the drive space indicator bar for all users in Windows 10 and Windows 11.

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Remove Drive Letter in Windows 11

Windows will automatically mount new basic volumes that are added to the system, and assign them drive letters by default.

A drive letter is a single alphabetic character A through Z that has been assigned by Windows to a physical drive or drive partition connected to the computer to reference the drive by.

You can remove the drive letter assigned to a drive, partition, or volume if wanted to unassign the drive letter from the drive, partition, or volume.

If you remove the drive letter from a drive, partition, or volume, the drive, partition, or volume will no longer show as a drive in File Explorer > This PC.

Unassigned driver letters will be available to assign to a drive, partition, or volume.

This tutorial will show you how to remove a drive letter in Windows 10 and Windows 11.

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Enable or Disable Automatic Mounting of New Drives in Windows 11

Windows will automatically mount new basic volumes that are added to the system, and assign them drive letters by default.

If wanted, you can disable Windows from automatically mounting any new basic volumes that are added to the system.

This tutorial will show you how to enable or disable the automatic mounting and assigning of a drive letter when a new drive is connected for all users in Windows 10 and Windows 11.

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Change Turn Off Hard Disk After Idle Time in Windows 11

The Turn off hard disk after setting in Power Options lets you specify the period of inactivity before the disk is automatically powered down.

Having your HDDs automatically turn off after being idle can help save energy and extend the battery life.

When you or anything tries to access a HDD that has been turned off, there will be a delay of a few seconds as the HDD automatically turns back on and spins up before being able to access it.

This tutorial will show you how to change how long HDDs are inactive before automatically turned off in Windows 10 and Windows 11.

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Check Drive Health and SMART Status in Windows 11

S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology; often written as SMART) is a monitoring system included in computer hard disk drives (HDDs), solid-state drives (SSDs), and eMMC drives. Its primary function is to detect and report various indicators of drive reliability with the intent of anticipating imminent hardware failures.

This tutorial will show you how to check the current health and SMART status of drives in Windows 11.

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Change Drive Letter in Windows 11

A drive letter is a single alphabetic character A through Z that has been assigned by Windows to a physical drive or drive partition connected to the computer to reference the drive by.

If you don’t like the drive letter assigned to a drive, you can change it.

This tutorial will show you how to change a drive letter in Windows 11.

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Rename Drive or Volume Label in Windows 11

A volume label is the friendly name for a connected drive or volume.

An internal drive will usually be assigned Local Disk as its volume label by default.

A USB flash drive will usually be assigned USB Drive as its volume label by default.

A NTFS or ReFS volume label can be up to 32 characters in length, including spaces. NTFS volume labels retain and display the case that was used when the label was created. A FAT volume label can only be up to 11 characters in length.

This tutorial will show you different ways to rename a drive or volume label to what you want in Window 11.

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Mount Drive as Folder in Windows 11

You can mount (make a drive accessible) in a folder rather than a drive letter if you want. This makes the drive appear as just another folder.

When you mount an internal or external drive in an empty folder, you will be able to access the contents of the drive from the path of the folder. The contents of the drive will still physically be located on the drive. Anything you save into this folder will actually be saved to the drive.

You can mount a drive or volume with or without a drive letter as an empty folder.

This tutorial will show you how to add (assign) or remove (unassign) mount point folder paths for a drive or volume in Windows 11.

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Check Drive for Errors with CHKDSK (Check Disk) in Windows 11

Checking your drives for errors every once in a while can help fix some performance issues. Drive errors can usually be caused by bad sectors, improper shutdowns, bad software, corruption, physical damage, etc…

CHKDSK (Check Disk) checks the file system and file system metadata of a volume (drive) for logical and physical errors.

The chkdsk command is used to check the integrity of the file system on the hard drive and make necessary fixes. The command can also fix bad sectors on your hard drive.

Bad sectors are divided into “Soft bad sectors” and “Hard bad sectors”. “Soft bad sectors” are logical bad sectors, and chkdsk can easily fix them. “Hard bad sectors” are due to physical damage to the disk. CHKDSK cannot repair “Hard bad sectors”, but it can mark the sectors to stop any data writing to them and prevent issues.

This tutorial will show you how to run CHKDSK to check a drive for file system errors in Windows 11.

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Add or Remove Windows C Drive in Navigation Pane of File Explorer in Windows 11

All drives are shown under the This PC group in the navigation pane of File Explorer by default.

Removable drives are shown as separate groups in the navigation pane of File Explorer by default in addition to being shown under the This PC group in the navigation pane.

You could Pin to Quick access the Windows C: drive to also have it under the Home group in the navigation pane.

If you like, you can add the Windows C: Drive as its own separate group to the top or bottom of the navigation pane of File Explorer for even easier and faster access.

This tutorial will show you how to add or remove the the Windows C: Drive in the navigation pane of File Explorer for your account in Windows 11.

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Map Network Drive in Windows 11

You can Map a network drive to access shared files on it from File Explorer in Windows without having to look for it or type its network address each time.

A mapped network drive has the following characteristics:

  • It has a drive letter assigned like any other partition in your system.
  • It points to a network shared folder on another PC.
  • It points only to resources found on your network.
  • You need to know the¬†user name¬†and¬†password¬†credentials for the network drive (share) to connect to it.

This tutorial will show you how to map a network drive for your account in Windows 11.

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Add Optimize to Context Menu of Drives in Windows 11

Optimizing your drives can help your PC run smoother and boot up faster.

Windows 11 includes Optimize Drives that will automatically retrim a SSD or defrag a HDD as needed.

  • Retrim¬†= Generates TRIM and Unmap hints for all currently unused sectors of the SSD or NVMe volume, notifying the underlying storage that the sectors are no longer needed and can be purged. This can recover unused capacity on thinly provisioned drives.
  • Defrag¬†= Locates and consolidates fragmented files on local HDD volumes to improve system performance.

Optimize Drives runs automatically on a weekly schedule at the time set in automatic maintenance. You can also manually run Optimize Drives on demand as needed.

This tutorial will show you how to add Optimize to the context menu of drives in Windows 10 and Windows 11 to make it easier to optimize and defrag drives on demand.

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Optimize and Defragment Drives in Windows 11

Optimizing your drives can help your PC run smoother and boot up faster.

Windows 11 includes Optimize Drives that will automatically retrim a SSD or defrag a HDD as needed.

  • Retrim¬†= Generates TRIM and Unmap hints for all currently unused sectors of the SSD or NVMe volume, notifying the underlying storage that the sectors are no longer needed and can be purged. This can recover unused capacity on thinly provisioned drives.
  • Defrag¬†= Locates and consolidates fragmented files on local HDD volumes to improve system performance.

Optimize Drives runs automatically on a weekly schedule at the time set in automatic maintenance. You can also manually run Optimize Drives on demand as needed.

This tutorial will show you how to optimize and defragment drives in Windows 11.

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Add or Remove Duplicate Drives in Navigation Pane of File Explorer in Windows 11

Removable drives are shown as separate groups in the navigation pane of File Explorer by default in addition to being shown under the This PC group in the navigation pane.

OS drives and fixed drives (ex: internal drives) will only be shown under This PC, and not separately in the navigation pane.

This tutorial will show you how to add or remove the drives showing twice in the navigation pane of File Explorer for all users in Windows 11.

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Change Template of Drive, Folder, or Library in Windows 11 File Explorer

Windows 11 includes the default General items, Documents, Pictures, Music, and Videos templates used to optimize the layout and view of every drive, folder, or library.

Windows 11 uses Automatic Folder Type Discovery to detect the contents of a folder and automatically optimize the folder for the proper template. If a folder contains a mixture of file types, Windows will use the General items template. If there is an overwhelming number of files with the same file type in a folder, Windows will automatically optimize the folder with the proper template to match the majority.

A template is just a default layout and view, you can customize the layout and view of a folder to how you like in File Explorer.

This tutorial will show you how to manually change the template of a drive, folder, or library for your account in Windows 11.

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