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mike1137 01. Apr 2015 09:06 PM

phantom hard drive
Windows has installed a hard drive on my system that doesn't exist in real life. I can't get it removed as I am told I don't have privileges, one of my friends told me that this is a registry issue, I am however a bit daunted at the possibility of using regedit. This is a 64-bit Windows 7 computer I have besides the C and D partition drive a second hard drive installed in the case, I also have six external hard drives hooked in through USB drives. Does anyone have any ideas on how to rid myself of this phantom drive.

Remah 01. Apr 2015 10:03 PM

There is more than one reason for this so it would help to know more detail such as what drive letters are allocated on your computer.
  • Some Microsoft Office editions create a Q drive.
  • Removable devices can leave a drive letter allocated
  • It could be a virtual CD/DVD drive
  • etc

You can check how drive letters are allocated to actual devices using the disk management utility: Control Panel | Administrative Tools | Computer Management | Disk Management. If your "phantom" drives appears in this list then it is a very different issue than if it does not.

mike1137 01. Apr 2015 11:50 PM

Yes it is letter Q, I have micro office but only the word portion that came loaded W/ the computer. It isn't a removeable drive nor CD/DVD. It does show in the comp manage disk manage section you mentioned.

Remah 02. Apr 2015 01:01 AM

You have Microsoft Office Click-To-Run (CTR) - here's an overview for the 2010 version. It does not matter how many modules of Microsoft Office you are running.

CTR does not install itself in the usual manner using an MSI installer. Instead, CTR runs and is installed in a separate virtualized environment that does not affect any normal install of Microsoft Office. The Q drive is the "virtual file system drive" necessary for this virtualized environment to store the Microsoft Office CTR programs, add-ons, and configuration information:

Click-to-Run uses virtualization technology to run an Office product in a self-contained, virtual environment on the local computer. This isolated environment provides a separate location for the Office product files and settings to be stored so that they donít change other applications that are already installed on the computer.
The Q drive appears in disk management because it is not a true "phantom" drive assignment. It provides access to real data even though it is not data that is normally accessible to you.

You can remove the Q drive by editing the registry but that prevents CTR running. If you are happy with that outcome then it is better to uninstall CTR rather than using RegEdit.

If you want to continue to use CTR then you will have to put up with the Q drive.

Remah 02. Apr 2015 11:41 PM

For anyone who is interested in CTR, this Overview of Click-to-Run for Office 365 setup architecture is useful.

I was trying to understand why I don't have a Q drive when I use Office 365 which is also CTR. There must be some difference in the installation and possibly, if I could work out what it is, that could be used to get rid of the Q drive in the preinstalled edition.

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