We continue the discussion of hard drive management begun on a previous page where we looked at the Properties Sheets for hard drives. In Windows XP, many system tools are implemented by means of interfaces called Microsoft Management Consoles (MMC) and one of these is the Disk Management Console, which we will consider next.
;The disk management console can be presented in a number of views and Figure 1 shows one view. All of the volumes (or partitions) are listed with various properties given. There are also several menus. Various ways of displaying information are available in the "View" menu. The easiest way to access the disk management console is go to Start-Run and enter "diskmgmt.msc" (without the quotes). Note the extension ".msc", which is characteristic of consoles.
Figure 1. Disk management console
For most average users, the menu of most interest is "Action". The “Action-All Tasks” menu is shown in Figure 2. Here is one place where the letters assigned to drives can be changed. As small USB storage devices or "thumb" drives and large externally connected hard drives have become common, it is not unusual to see drive assignments get shuffled around as various external units are connected and disconnected. This can be disconcerting if, for example, your CD drive gets moved around and Windows remembers the wrong letter assignment when you try to run a CD. One way to avoid this problem is to assign the CD or DVD drives to a high letter such as "S" or "T".
Other tasks in this menu include "Format" and "Properties". The properties sheet you get is the same as that already discussed on the first page.
Some of the functions of the console are of more interest to those with systems using dynamic disks.
Figure 2. "All Tasks" entry in "Action" menu
Another way to access the Disk Management Console is to go to the Start menu and right-click on "My Computer". In the context menu choose "Manage". This will bring up another console, the Computer Management Console (Figure 3), which contains several smaller consoles including the Disk Management Console and the Disk Defragmenter Console.
Computer Management Console
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