Ask Leo! #566 – Life, Chkdsk, Windows 10 Privacy and more…

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Reflections on life

Continue Reading: Reflections on life


What does "Chkdsk cannot run because the volume is in use by another process" mean?

I think I've got a problem with my hard disk, and tried to run Chkdsk, but I keep getting this "Chkdsk cannot run because the volume is in use by another process" error. What's that mean and what do I do to fix it?

Chkdsk is an important and little-understood command-line utility that comes with every version of Microsoft Windows. Its purpose, as its mangled name implies, is to "check" your "disk".

In order to do its work, Chkdsk needs total and exclusive access to the disk it's about to check. If it doesn't have that, "Chkdsk cannot run because the volume is in use by another process" results. ("Volume" in this case really means "the disk that's being checked".)

I'll look at why, what to do, and what it looks like as it happens.

Continue Reading: What does "Chkdsk cannot run because the volume is in use by another process" mean?

Adjusting Windows 10 Privacy Settings

In an earlier article, I covered adjusting the default Windows 10 privacy settings at the time you install or upgrade to it.

The key, as is true for many software installations, is to avoid the default "Express settings" option. Instead, always use custom settings, so as to expose the choices the setup program might be making on your behalf.

But what if it's too late? What if you've already installed Windows 10, and want to adjust the settings after the fact?

I'll explore where those settings are kept and what you can change in your installed and running copy of Windows 10. Regardless of the decisions made at set-up time, you can always change your mind.

Continue Reading: Adjusting Windows 10 Privacy Settings


Backing Up 101

Previous Issue

Glossary Term


A backup is nothing more than an additional copy of data, ideally kept in a different location than the original.

If there's only one copy of something – say a photograph on a mobile phone – then it's not backed up. If that device were to fail or be lost, then the photograph would be lost forever as well.

Computers are excellent at making copies of digital data, and backups are one important use of that functionality.

It's generally recommended that important data be backed up in at least one, ideally more, separate devices or media, such as an external hard disk. In addition, it's recommended that critical data also be backed up in another physical location, such as a different building or by backing it up online.

More than anything, the important concept is that there never be only a single copy of important data. That's not backed up.

See also: back up

Glossary Terms are featured selections from The Ask Leo! Glossary.
Have a term you'd like defined? Submit it here.

Featured Comments

Coping With Change

Eric Brightwell writes:

Whatever happened to "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"?

Following this adage saves a lot of time, as long as you recognise security issues as a less obvious cause of a "broken" system.

Leo writes:

Unfortunately one person's "it ain't broke" is someone else's "this is horribly broken!". There's simply no pleasing everyone.

Nicolas Abonce writes:

I am almost 51, and my rapid answer to "How am I coping with change?" is: "Learning".

Stephen writes:

Change is often seen as a threat. I find it helps always to try to see it as an opportunity. Of course some things that change, apparently unnecessarily, can be frustrating. It would help if those who make the changes - or those who are part of the wider support community - which includes you Leo - could find time to explain better what the changes are, why they have been made, and what the advantages of the 'new' format are. If we can understand better, we can accept better.

I do have sympathy with those who feel that the rolling wheel of change is inconvenient because it stops things that worked well in the past working without some new adaptation. Lets face it a lot of change is driven by people wanting to make money out of us, but let us also remember that there are loads of people out there working to take money or other value from us by exploiting weaknesses in existing software.

Genrally though to stand still is to die. Good design involves building in the flexibility to respond to change.

Leo's Books

Backing Up 101 Saved! - Backing Up with Macrium Reflect - 2nd Edition Saved! - Backing Up with Windows 7 Backup Saved! - Backing Up with Windows 8 Backup
Just Do This: Back Up! The Ask Leo! Guide to Internet Safety The Ask Leo! Guide to Routine Maintenance Maintaining Windows XP - A Practical Guide

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Posted: September 22, 2015 in: 2015
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I'm Leo Notenboom and I've been playing with computers since I took a required programming class in 1976. I spent over 18 years as a software engineer at Microsoft, and after "retiring" in 2001 I started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place to help you find answers and become more confident using this amazing technology at our fingertips. More about Leo.