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August 3, 2020

New Build 20175 Settings-based Disk Management Tool


Starting last Friday (July 24) I read a number of reports online about a new Disk Management tool making its debut in the Settings app in Dev Channel Build 20175. I trace most of these reports back to Mayank Parmar’s WindowsLatest story This is Windows 10’s upcoming Disk Partition Management Tool. But it was Sergey Tkachenko’s story dated July 27 Windows 10 Receives New Disk Management Tool in Settings that provided the instructions I needed to try — but ultimately fail — to launch this new facility on either of my two Dev Channel test PCs. Let me explain.

Introducing ViVe and ViVeTool

According to its author Albacore aka thebookisclosed (whom eagle-eyed readers will recognize as the author of the excellent GitHub-based Managed Disk Cleanup tool): “ViVe is a C# library you can use to make your own programs that interact with Windows 10’s A/B feature mechanism.” That said, ViVeTool is “both an example of how to use ViVe, as well as a straightforward tool for power users which want to use the new APIs instantly.” In fact, ViVeTool is the mechanism whereby Dev Channel users can try to turn on potential or emerging features in current builds (such as 20175). But the phrase in the ViVe description — that it allows programs to “interact with Windows 10’s A/B feature mechanism” — provides me with the clue as to why Sergey and Mayank were able to get the new Manage Disks and Volumes tool working in Settings and I was not. If their test machine(s) were on the A fork, mine were on the B (or perhaps vice versa).

The ViVeTool incantation looks like this in PowerShell (the relevant line for cut’n’paste purposes for other hardy adventurers is “.\ViveTool.exe addconfig 23257398“):

New Disk Managment Tool.vivetool invocation

On both forks of the A/B versions for Build 20175, this produces the following output if one clicks Start → Settings → System → Storage, and then scrolls down to the bottom of the Storage pane:

New Disk Managment Tool.MD&V-menu-itemNote the “Manage Disks and Volumes” entry just past the mid-point of the preceding list.

Looking For Manage Disks and Volumes on My Test PCs

On Sergey’s and Mayank’s test machines the Manage Disks and Volumes item works when highlighted and clicked. It’s shown in the lead-in graphic for this story, cheerfully lifted from the WindowsLatest story linked in the first paragraph in my story here. Alas, on both of my test machines, selecting this item resulted in a Settings crash’n’close that left the following traces behind in the Reliability Monitor:

New Disk Managment Tool.relmon-error

Instead of the new utility opening in Settings, the app crashes with a “stopped working” error. I can only assume it’s calling something it can’t find.
[Click image for full-sized view.]

I guess that happens sometimes, when you try to exercise A/B functionality from the wrong side of the fork, so to speak. I’ll keep trying, though, in hopes this new capability will appear in both forks going forward (perhaps in a future Dev Channel build, one reckons). Other readers running Build 20175 may want to try it for themselves. Just don’t be surprised if you find yourself “forked,” as happened on my test machines. That’s the way things go sometimes, here in Windows World!

Author: Ed Tittel

Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran. He’s a Princeton and multiple University of Texas graduate who’s worked in IT since 1981 when he started his first programming job. Over the past three decades he’s also worked as a manager, technical evangelist, consultant, trainer, and an expert witness. See his professional bio for all the details.

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