How to set up a mirrored volume for file redundancy on Windows 10

by 9/23/2016 09:03:00 PM
Keep your files protected from hard drive failure using the mirrored volume feature built-in on Windows 10.
It's not a matter of "if," it's a matter of "when." Sooner or later the hard drive on your computer will die, and the odds are that you will lose all your files stored on that drive.
Of course, there is a number of ways to prevent data loss. You can, for example, keep a current backup of your computer, you can make copies of your files to an external drive, or you can store your data in the cloud. However, similar to previous versions, Windows 10 includes a feature that let you mirror the data on one drive into another to offer data protection from a drive failure.
In Windows, we call the feature "mirror," but the concept actually comes from the standard RAID levels, which define a number of techniques to combine multiple hard drives to offer speed, redundancy, or performance.
On the standard RAID levels, "mirror" is defined as RAID 1, and it consists of having an exact bit-to-bit replica of the data in another hard drive. Usually, a mirror setup contains two hard drives, but you can always add more, as long you add them in pairs.
In this Windows 10 guide, we'll walk you through the steps to create a mirrored volume on your computer to protect your data from drive failure.

Details before beginning

Before we dive in this guide, it's important to note that to create a mirrored volume on Windows 10, or with any operating system, you'll need at least two physical hard drives. Your second drive should be at least the same size as the original (a larger second drive is okay).

How to create a new mirrored volume

The instructions described below are to create a brand new mirrored volume where neither hard drive have any data.
To create a mirrored volume, do the following:
  1. Use the Windows key + X keyboard shortcut to open the Power User menu and select Disk Management.
  2. Right-click one of the empty drives, and select New Mirrored Volume.
  3. Click Next.
  4. Select the available drive from the left.
  5. Click Add.
  6. Specify the amount of space for the mirrored volume.
    Important: The volume cannot be larger than the amount of the available space in the smaller hard drive, as you can't mirror data to space you don't have.
  7. Click Next.
  8. Assign a drive letter or leave the default settings and click Next.
  9. Select Format this volume with the following settings option making sure file system is set to NTFS, allocation unit size is set to default, and you enter a name for the volume.
  10. Check the Perform a quick format option.
  11. Click Next.
  12. Click Finish.
  13. Click Yes to convert the basic disks to dynamic disks, which is a requirement to create a mirrored volume on Windows.
Once the process completes, you'll only see one volume created, and as you store content on the new volume, the data will also automatically get replicated into the secondary drive.

How to create a mirrored volume with data already in the drive

The following instructions explain the steps to set up a mirrored volume when one of the drives already have data on it.
To create a mirrored volume with data already in the drive, do the following:
  1. Use the Windows key + X keyboard shortcut to open the Power User menu and select Disk Management.
  2. Right-click the primary drive with data on it, and select Add Mirror.
  3. Choose the drive that will act as a duplicate.
  4. Click Add Mirror.
  5. Click Yes to convert the basic disks to dynamic disks, which is a requirement to create a mirrored volume on Windows.
After completing the steps above, Windows 10 will synchronize the data on the primary drive to the second drive. This process can take a long time depending on the data you have stored in the volume.

How to recreate a mirror after drive failure

Once you set up a mirror, if either hard drive fails, you'll still be able to access your data. However, it's highly recommended that you replace the drive as soon as possible.
To recreate a mirror after a drive failure, do the following:
  1. Use the Windows key + X keyboard shortcut to open the Power User menu and select Disk Management.
  2. Right-click the hard drive in working conditions on the mirror and select Remove Mirror.
  3. Select drive labeled Missing.
  4. Click Remove Mirror.
  5. Click Yes.
  6. Right-click the primary drive with data on it, and select Add Mirror.
  7. Select the new drive that will act as a mirror.
  8. Click Add Mirror.
  9. Click Yes to convert the basic disks to dynamic disks, which is a requirement to create a mirrored volume on Windows.
After completing the steps above, Windows 10 will synchronize the data onto the new drive. Then simply repeat the process whenever a drive fails (which hopefully shouldn't be very often).

Wrapping things app

The primary purpose of a mirror setup is to provide data redundancy to protect your files from a hard drive failure. It's not designed to offer speed or performance like other RAID array levels.
Although mirroring can protect your data, it's not a replacement for a data backup. If you accidentally delete a file from one drive, the action will also replicate to the second drive.
Finally, it's worth pointing out that thanks to the Windows 10 flexibility, you can also use Storage Spaces to create a mirrored volume.
Do you use any form of file redundancy on your computer? Tell us in the comments below.

How to bring back the old User Account Control prompt on Windows 10

by 9/23/2016 09:00:00 PM
If you don't like the new User Account Control prompt on Windows 10, here's how you can bring the old style back.
On Windows 10, Microsoft is not only adding new features and improvements, but it's also changing the look and feel of the operating system with a modern user-interface. Almost every time a new update rolls out, we can see some of these UI changes.
After installing the Anniversary Update, you might have noticed that Windows 10 has a new User Account Control (UAC) dialog box when an application needs administrative permissions or when you need to authenticate entering a username and password.
The new UAC prompt uses the same design language that Microsoft is using throughout the operating system and on the new Store apps. However, if you're not so enthusiastic about the new dialog prompt, Windows 10 allows you to go back to the old style.
In this Windows 10 guide, we'll walk you through the steps to modify the registry to disable the new User Account Control dialog box, while bringing back the old experience.

How to bring back the old User Account Control prompt

Important: It's worth pointing out that modifying the registry can be dangerous. If you don't make the changes correctly, it can cause irreversible damage your installation of Windows 10. It's highly recommended to make a full backup of your system before proceeding. You've been warned!
To change the startup color for apps on Windows 10, do the following:
  1. Use the Windows key + R keyboard shortcut to open the Run command, type regedit, and click OK to open the registry.
  2. Browse the following path:
  3. Double-click the XamlCredUIAvailable DWORD and change its value from 1 to 0.
  4. Click OK.
  5. Close the registry to complete the task.
Reboot is not necessary to make this to work. Once you completed the steps mentioned above, simply to right-click an executable file and select Run as Administrator to see the old UAC prompt.
Old UAC prompt (left), new UAC prompt (right)
In case you want to revert the changes, simply follow the same instructions mentioned above, but this time on step 3, make sure to change the DWORD value from 0 to 1.
Do you prefer the new modern User Account Control dialog box or the old style? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

How to quickly get more out of your PC with the ASUS AI Suite

by 9/23/2016 08:55:00 PM
Overclocking your PC or configuring various settings can help extract more performance out of installed components without having to fork out on replacements. This usually requires a trip into the motherboard BIOS to fiddle with advanced settings, but those with a compatible ASUS motherboard will be able to take advantage of the manufacturer's AI Suite to quickly squeeze out more power.


Before we get started with AI Suite, we should point out that if you're serious about getting more from your PC for gaming and other demanding tasks, we highly recommend you spend a little time in reading through the various BIOS settings at hand. Software like AI Suite should only really be used as a backup if you're not confident in altering BIOS settings yourself, or do not wish to reboot the PC multiple times to achieve the perfect balance in performance and stability.

That said, the AI Suite is still a handy solution for fan management, and I actually use it for that very reason. I utilize the power of the BIOS for tweaking everything related to CPU, RAM, and other values, while relying on AI Suite for keeping components cooled and everything running silent. Still, it's a neat tool for those who are new to overclocking. As well as the notice above, you'll need to ensure you have Windows administrative access to ensure the suite is able to run without a hitch.

Installing the AI

Before we do anything, we first need to download and install AI Suite 3 from the ASUS website.
  1. Head to the ASUS Support Center.
  2. Enter your motherboard product name. (Ours is the "Z170 PRO GAMING").
  3. Select the corresponding motherboard listing.
    ASUS AI Suite
  4. Choose Drivers & Tools.
  5. Choose your operating system.
  6. Hit Utilities.
  7. Select ASUS AI Suite 3.
    ASUS AI Suite
  8. Extract the .zip folder and run the AsusSetup.exe as Administrator.

Speedy setup

ASUS Suite
Not everyone wants to sit at their PC and spend 10 minutes reading through a guide covering all the features of ASUS' AI Suite. Thus we've included this handy little speed guide that will run over the absolute bare minimum steps required to configure the software to overclock your PC. Cue 5-Way Optimization.
  1. Double-click the AI Suite 3 icon on your taskbar to fire up the software.
    ASUS AI Suite
  2. Select 5-Way Optimization.
  3. Select either Fast or Extreme tuning.
  4. Hit Start.
It's okay to leave all settings here as default before starting the test. Through you may want to read through and alter values depending on how you want the software to overclock the system. Not only can you determine base levels for the suite to work off, but you can also to configure fans, activate a memory stress test, and more.
The AI Suite will now analyze your system and dynamically optimize CPU performance, energy savings, stability with regards to power consumption, efficient fan control, as well as enhancing other small aspects of computing for various tasks like gaming. That's pretty much it, you're now ready to rock and roll with a more optimized system, depending on the type and amount of cooling available.
Finally, head down to the other settings section of this guide to learn more about some other cool little features that come with AI Suite 3.

Advanced Configuration

You can tweak values and move sliders in ASUS AI Suite 3 to manually boost performance from supported components, without having to dive into the BIOS (certain settings here will require counterparts to be enabled/disabled in the BIOS, however). This route makes it easier to gain a feel as to how overclocking can affect tasks ran on the PC without having to pass through multiple reboots and OS launches.
That said, using AI Suite 3 for overclocking means you'll be relying on the suite itself for saved profiles, while using the BIOS provides an extra layer of stability and redundancy being separate from the OS. However, for the average Joe this shouldn't be an issue and ASUS' tool can be more than enough to get cracking.


The ASUS TurboV Processing Unit (TPU) allows you to monitor just what speed the CPU is running at, and unlocks manual control for manipulating core grouping, DRAM voltages, and more. Before playing around with frequencies and values here, you'll need to make sure that the CPU Ratio setting in the BIOS is set to "Auto".
  • BCLK Frequency: This is a measurement of the "base clock" for the CPU. Manipulating this will increase the total clock speed with regards to ratio configuration.
  • Ratio: The ratio of a CPU is the multiplier for the BCLK Frequency. For example, a BCLK Frequency of 100MHz and a ratio of 38 will result in a CPU clocked at 3800MHz (or 3.8GHz).
  • CPU Cache Ratio: The speed as to which the CPU cache runs at. It's generally not advised to alter this value from default.
Voltage values will need to be adjusted accordingly to ensure for a stable operation with overclocked components. When using said tools to increase performance, be sure to take extra steps in monitoring thermal values and overall system stability.


The Energy Processing Unit (EPU) is an incredibly useful chip that regulates power usage based on current system load, and can even scale back power when it's not needed. There are three profiles available that can be switched between and activated on the fly:
  • Performance: Your PC is going in all guns blazing. Away Mode is disabled by default with this profile. All other settings are disabled.
  • Power Saving: Set maximum CPU power, Vcore downgrade, as well as a fan profile.
  • Away Mode: Settings are again available for Vcore and CPU power management, alongside a mute toggle.
Do note that in order to utilize the Power Saving Formula in AI Suite 3, it's required for the 5-Way Optimization wizard to have been run.

Fan Xpert 3

Fan Xpert is actually my favorite part about ASUS' AI Suite. It's a powerful tool that lets you not only monitor installed and connected fans, but also profile them, have the software automatically detect maximum and minimum speeds, and quickly switch between profiles depending on immediate requirements. It's definitely worth looking into, even if you do not plan to overclock your system using the suite.
  1. Select Fan Tuning.
  2. Choose a fan from the carousel.
    ASUS AI Suite
  3. Select the chassis scan image.
  4. Give the fan a name.
  5. Select where the fan is located. Tip: Hit the fan icon to have the suite throttle back all other fans so you can easily look inside the chassis and detect it.
    ASUS AI Suite
  6. Hit save.
Follow steps 2 - 6 for all other connected fans and you should end up with a vastly less confusing fan readout. Four modes are available for fans, which includes Silent, Standard, Turbo and Full Speed. If you wish to manually configure how fast fans will spin with regards to temperature readings, simply click on the graph on each listing to move the dots around the graph. Don't silence your PC too much. Fans are there for a reason after all.


The DIGI+ Power Control section of ASUS AI Suite allows for VRM and DRAM voltage control. You can to fine-tune these values to achieve optimal system stability, performance and efficiency when matched with other areas of overclocking or ASUS' own tuning facilities.
  • CPU Power Phase Control: Select from standard, optimized or extreme for better performance during demanding tasks and increased efficiency in light load situations.
  • CPU VRM Switching Frequency: Choose between auto and manually assigning a frequency, depending on your overclocking requirements.
  • CPU Load-line Calibration: Adjust the voltage range to control CPU load-line. Increased levels offer performance boosts, while lower values bring enhanced stability.
  • CPU Current Capability: Can be increased accordingly to provide a wider total power for extending overclocking frequency range.
  • CPU Power Duty Control: Switch between thermal and currant balance control.

Other Settings

Even if you're choosing not to dive in and play with various settings to get the most out of your PC, ASUS packs in a variety of features in its AI Suite that offer extended functionality and are well worth checking out.
  • Turbo App: Lets you manually allocate CPU frequency, assign network priorities and define audio settings for different programs.
  • AI Charger+: Enabling this will allow for supported mobile devices to charge faster when connect to the PC via USB.
  • USB 3.1 Boost: Can offer increased transfer speeds to supported external storage devices through USB 3.1, including USB Attached SCSI Protocol (UASP).
  • EZ Update: Quickly check for updates to motherboard drivers, software and BIOS versions.
  • Push Notice: Set up status alerts, PC mode activation alerts, and more.

New Surface Pro 3 battery issue not caused by Microsoft software update

by 9/23/2016 08:53:00 PM
Microsoft has issued a statement on reports that a new group of Surface Pro 3 owners are experiencing battery drain issues with the tablet, denying that the new problems were caused by a firmware update released on August 29.
Surface Pro 3
People that own Surface Pro 3 units with batteries made by LGC have been reporting that theyappear to be stuck at a specific power percentage and labeled as "Not Charging" when the tablet is plugged in. Some people believed the problems rose from the firmware update on August 29, which was ironically designed to fix battery draining problems with another set of Surface Pro 3 tablets.
However, according to what a Microsoft rep stated on the company's support forums today (viaZDNet) that is not the case:
We are aware of a battery issue that is affecting a limited number of Surface Pro 3 users. We can confirm that the issue affecting these customers was not caused by the software updates issued on August 29th. Our team is actively looking in to the issue to determine the cause and identify a fix. We will post an update as soon as we have more information to share.
We will, of course, keep you up to date on this latest Surface Pro 3 battery bug.

There won't be a new Windows 10 Mobile preview build this week and here's why

by 9/23/2016 08:42:00 PM
Microsoft has decided not to release a new Windows 10 Mobile preview build this week to Insider members. Microsoft wants to fix a couple of issues in the last preview build first.
Windows 10 Mobile
You may remember that after the last preview build, 14926, was released a week ago, Insider members started reporting issues with SIM cards and pin pads on the Mobile side. In a blog post, Windows Insider head Dona Sarkar stated:
After upgrading to Build 14926, some Insiders reported that the pin pad is no longer visible to unlock their phone even after rebooting the phone and some phones lost the ability to use their SIM card. In both cases, a hard reset of resolves the issue. Based on the feedback we received from Insiders, we have decided not to release a new Mobile build this week until we get fixes for these two issues.
As we reported earlier, PC users on the Insider Fast ring can now download the new Windows 10 preview build 14931.

Windows 10 PC build 14931 now available for Fast ring Insiders

by 9/23/2016 08:39:00 PM
Microsoft has just started rolling out a new Windows 10 PC preview build for Insiders on the fast ring, that features more fixes and improvements. We're now a couple months into the development of Redstone 2, so it shouldn't be long before we start seeing some big features show up.
Today's new build is available for PC and has the version number of 14931In her blog post, Windows Insider head Dona Sarkar mentions the previously announced new app updates for Skype Preview, Maps and today's Feedback Hub. There's also one more interested new feature:
We now have native support for USB Audio 2.0 devices with an inbox class driver! This is an early version of the driver that does not have all features enabled, for e.g.: only playback (render) is supported with this version. Recording (capture) support is scheduled to arrive in later iterations. We encourage you to play with the driver and let us know what you think (using the Feedback app).
PC users who use third party drivers for your USB Audio 2.0 device can switch over to Microsoft's early drivers with a workaround.
There are a couple of PC fixes in this build:
  • We fixed the issue causing people to experience a black screen when signing out and switching to another user account and unable to log in to that account.
  • We fixed the issue causing the built-in Windows 10 apps such as Calculator, Alarms & Clock, and Voice Recorder to not work after updating to a new build.
There's also a few know issues:
  • While using Narrator and Groove Music, if you navigate to the progress bar while a song is playing then Narrator will continually speak the progress of the song e.g. update with the current time of the progress bar every second. The result is you will be unable to listen to the song or hear any other control you navigate to.
  • Oracle VM VirtualBox will crash on launch after upgrading to this build.
  • components may not work after upgrading to this build. To get it working again, go to "Turn Windows features on or off", scroll down and check the right optional component and click ok. After a reboot, the optional component will be enabled again.
  • For keyboard users, using tab to navigate the Settings app will not work in this build. The arrow keys should work as a temporary workaround.
  • Tencent apps and games will cause your PC to bugcheck (bluescreen).
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