I’ve recently noticed that my system has a new local disk, named Q:
While I was curious as to how this disk came about, given that no one else uses my computer, I wasn’t too bothered about it. Last night, while working with a friend, I was asked a question - “What’s that Local Disk (Q:)? I’ve got one on my system too and it popped out of nowhere.”
Naturally, I started digging.
The first place I checked was the Disk Management Utility and what I found there was weird.
The disk isn’t there, but then it is.
I tried to open the disk via Windows Explorer and got an “Access is Denied” error.
I then took a look in the registry, checking HKLM\SYSTEM\MountedDevices and as expected, Q: was there.
So what is this mysterious Q: that’s there, inaccessible and not a partition of any existing physical drives?
At this point, I was totally lost. It still hasn’t hit me that this drive appeared right after installing Office 2010 Beta.
I continued digging and the answer was found on the Microsoft Office 2010 Engineering Blog’s post on a new feature in Office 2010 – Click-to-Run . This new drive that has appeared in the system, is part of the all new “Click-to-Run” feature in Office 2010.
Office 2010 Click-to-Run is a virtualized application that is stored on Microsoft’s servers. Whenever one launches any of the Office applications as “Click-to-Run”, the system will download the necessary components to the virtual disk (Q:).
How does this benefit us?
Easy. Firstly, no updates to install. All updates will be installed on Microsoft’s servers and we’ll always have the most up to date version of Office 2010. In addition to this, since Office 2010 is installed on a server, we’ll be able to take Office 2010 with us anywhere we go. As long as there’s an internet connection, we will be able to use all Office applications that we are licensed to use. This is made possible by both “Click-to-Run” and the Microsoft Office To-Go Device Manager.
So that’s it. More detailed information on “Click-to-Run” and the “Microsoft Office To-Go Device Manager” is available on the Microsoft Office 2010 Engineering Blog.
Now you can rest easy knowing that the drive is there for a reason.