Control Panel (Windows)

How to Use Windows 10’s Storage Spaces to Mirror and Combine Drives

The Storage Spaces feature built into Windows allows you to combine multiple hard drives into a single virtual drive. It can mirror data across multiple drives for redundancy, or combine multiple physical drives into a single pool of storage. Storage Spaces is similar to RAID or LVM on Linux.

This feature was added in Windows 8, and was improved in Windows 10. It’s available on all editions of Windows 8 and 10, including Home editions.

What Are Storage Spaces?

To create a Storage Space, you need at least two physical drives on your PC. These can be internal drives or external drives connected via USB.

Storage Spaces allow you to create a “storage pool” of two or more physical drives, grouping them together. Once you’ve created a storage pool made up of two or more physical drives, you can create three types of “spaces” using that pool:

  • A simple space is designed to give you the most storage possible, but doesn’t provide any protection against drive failure. Windows will store only a single copy of your data across all the drives. If one of these drives fails, your data will be lost and corrupted. This is ideal for temporary data.
  • A mirror space is designed to protect you from drive failure by storing multiple copies of your files. A single drive—or more than one drive, depending on how you configure things—can fail and you won’t lose any data. This is ideal for protecting important data from hardware failure.
  • A parity space is designed as a compromise. Windows will keep a single copy of your data along with parity information. You’ll have more space and you’ll be protected if a single drive fails. However, parity spaces are slower than simple and mirror spaces. This solution is ideal for data archival, and not data you use frequently.

If you choose to format a mirror or parity space with the Windows Resilient File System (ReFS), Windows will automatically monitor and maintain file integrity to prevent file corruption.

How to Create a Storage Space

You can create a Storage Space from the Control Panel. First, connect the drives you want to group together to your computer. Then, head to Control Panel > System and Security > Storage Spaces. You can also just search for “Storage Spaces” in your Start menu.

Click the “Create a new pool and storage space” link to get started.

Select the drives you want to add to the pool and click “Create Pool” to create a storage pool from those drives.

Warning: All data on the drives you select will be erased, so back up any important data before continuing!

After creating a pool, you’ll be prompted to configure your new storage space. Type a name for the storage space and select a drive…

How to Improve Handwriting Recognition on Your Windows 10 PC

Windows 10 lets you use handwriting input in any application, and many applications include full support for inking. Windows automatically attempts to learn your unique handwriting style when you write with a pen, but you can also train it manually to improve the system’s handwriting recognition.

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Turn Automatic Learning On or Off

Automatic learning is enabled by default. To check whether it’s still enabled, , click the “Advanced settings” link at the left pane of the Control Panel > Clock, Language, and Region > Language window. Under Personalization data, ensure the option is set to “Use automatic learning (recommended)” so the system automatically attempts to learn your handwriting.

As this interface notes, all this data is stored on your PC and no information is sent to Microsoft when you use automatic learning. Windows won’t do as good a job of recognizing your handwriting if you select “Don’t use automatic learning and delete all previously collected data”.

Train Windows 10’s Handwriting Recognition

This option is still available in the old Control Panel interface. To find it, head to Control Panel > Clock, Language, and Region > Language. Click the “Options” button to the right of the language you use.

Click “Personalize handwriting recognition” under Handwriting to…

How to Make Windows Troubleshoot Your PC’s Problems for You

Windows includes a variety of “troubleshooters” designed to quickly diagnose and automatically solve various computer problems. Troubleshooters can’t fix everything, but they’re a great place to start if you encounter a problem with your computer.

Troubleshooters are built into the Control Panel on Windows 10, 8, and 7, so practically all Windows users can take advantage of them. On Windows 10’s Creators Update, most troubleshooters are now available through the Settings app.

Windows 10

If you’ve installed Windows 10’s Creators Update, you’ll find these in Settings. Navigate to Settings > Update & Security > Troubleshoot.

As of the Creators Update, the following troubleshooters are available here: Blue Screen, Bluetooth, Hardware and Devices, HomeGroup, Incoming Connections, Internet Connections, Keyboard, Network Adapter, Printer, Playing Audio, Power, Program Compatibility Troubleshooter, Recording Audio, Search and Indexing, Shared Folders, Speech, Video Playback, Windows Store Apps, and Windows Update.

If something isn’t working properly on your PC, the associated troubleshooter may find and fix the problem for you.

Select the troubleshooter you want to run and click “Run Troubleshooter”. Many troubleshooters will run automatically and fix problems they find, while some troubleshooters will suggest various fixes you can choose whether to apply.

The Settings interface doesn’t list every available troubleshooter. For example, it omits the Background Intelligent Transfer service, Windows Media Player DVD, Windows Media Player Library, and Windows Media Player Settings troubleshooters.

These are still available if you need them—they’re just buried in the Control Panel. To find them, open the Control Panel, type “Troubleshoot” into its search box, and click the “Troubleshooting” icon.

Click “View all” at the left side of the Troubleshooting pane and you’ll see a full list of available troubleshooters.

Windows 7 and 8

You’ll find these tools in the Control Panel on Windows 7 and 8. You’ll also need to use the Control Panel if you’re using Windows 10’s Anniversary Update or an earlier version of Windows 10.

Navigate to Control Panel > System and Security > Troubleshoot Common Computer Problems. On Windows 7, click “Find and Fix Problems” instead.

You’ll see a list of the most common troubleshooters you might need.

These aren’t the only available troubleshooters. Click “View All” in the sidebar to view a full list of troubleshooters. Here’s a list of the troubleshooters you…