Windows 7 by default hides empty drives in Windows Explorer and this may puzzle users looking for removable media drives (such as card readers). These do not show in the Computer folder if no media is inserted. However, there is an option to make these devices appear by following these simple steps:
In highly secure environments where Smart Cards are the preferred method for authentication, Windows 7 is the system that allows you to use Smart Cards without requiring any specific vendor software. In addition, Windows 7 allows you to fine tune the authentication mechanism through the use of policies. Why Smart Cards? Smart Cards are more secure than other means of authentication such as user names and passwords. They store digital certificates where an administrator can immediately revoke the certificate stored on a lost or stolen Smart Card from the system.
Although driver conflicts are less common now-a-days due to the PnP (Plug and Play) hardware capabilities of modern technology, device drivers conflicts can still occur. Conflicts occur when two devices require the same resources such as, requiring the same I/O (input/output) address.
Disk Quotas can be configured from the command line or through scripts using the Fsutil administrative command-line tool. In the previous article Disk Quotas we have seen how configure disk quotas using the GUI. Windows 7 rich feature set of command-line utilities include the quota functionality within Fsutil and can be used as follows:
Disk Quotas allows administrators to control how much of a volume users can fill with files. Although, disk quotas are normally implemented on servers that hosts shared folders they can also be implemented on standalone computers running Windows 7. In a scenario where multiple users access a single computer, a single user may completely fills a volume with his/her files hence, preventing others from saving their files due to lack of storage space.
The software based striped volume with parity (Raid-5) is not supported in Windows 7. However, Windows 7 do support hardware-based RAID using a hardware raid controller. This is by design according to Microsoft Technet Forums and considering that hardware-based RAID performs much better and has additional features, I tend to agree with Microsoft not to overload the system with additional cpu-intensive activity. What I don’t understand is why the option is there but not usable – it’s grayed out! Even, the Diskpart command line tool has a create volume raid option but if you try out, it returns – The command you selected is not available with this version of Windows.
Hardware RAID-5 offers failover protection and performance improvement. RAID-5 writes data in small blocks or stripes on three or more disks simultaneously. A stripe of data across all disks participating in the set consists of the actual data and parity information. Parity information is not stored on the same disk but distributed among the disks. In fact, RAID-5 is sometimes referred to as Striping with Distributed Parity.
In simple terms, a mirrored volume (RAID-1) writes the same data on two disks or partitions of separate disks. That is, any changes to data (or new data) made to the first disk of the mirror set are also made to its mirror disk. Mirrored volumes require at least two disks or two free partitions on separate disks. The free partitions or disks need to be of the same size, otherwise, the mirrored volume size would be equal to the smallest partition or disk.
The main advantage of mirrored volumes is disk drive redundancy. It provides availability of data in case one disk drive fails while it can mirror a system disk containing the operating system. If a disk fails, the mirror set continues to operate on the remaining disk. The recovery operation of the mirror set depends on which disk fails if the set contains the system disk. In general you would break/remove the mirror set, replace the faulty disk and re-create the set.