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How to Re-assign a Drive Letter on Windows (XP, Vista, Windows 7 and 8)

Jim Wilde

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How to change a drive letter

To change an existing drive letter on a drive, on a partition, or on a volume, follow these steps:
  1. Log on as Administrator or as a member of the Administrators group, and in Windows 8 enter the Desktop Mode.
  2. Right-click on the Computer icon on the Desktop and select Manage. This brings up the "Computer Management" dialog, then click Disk Management in the left pane.
  3. Right-click the drive, the partition, the logical drive, or the volume that you want to assign a drive letter to, and then click Change Drive Letter and Paths.
  4. Click Change.
  5. Click Assign the following drive letter if it is not already selected, click the drive letter that you want to use, and then click OK.
  6. Click Yes when you are prompted to confirm the drive letter change.
The drive letter of the drive, the partition, or the volume that you specified is changed, and the new drive letter appears in the appropriate drive, partition, or volume in the Disk Management tool.

At the time of assigning the specific drive letter, the opportunity should be taken to also assign a specific drive name as an additional safeguard against the operating system subsequently changing the drive letter. To assign a specific name whilst working in the Disk Management window, right-click on the target drive and select Properties. In the General tab, simply type the chosen name (take care to ensure that it is unique to the system) then click OK. This same procedure can be followed by right-clicking on the drive in the Windows Explorer main window and choosing either Properties or Rename.
 
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clee01l

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Semi Permanent removable drives (External HDs) can run into conflicts with other removable devices if Windows has already assigned the usual drive letter to another device (thumb drive, memory card, etc.) when the EHD is attached. When a device is attached, windows assigns the next available drive letter unless the the volume name has already been associated with a specific drive letter. For this reason, it is useful to anticipate that Windows might have already assigned D:, E:, F:, etc. to another device. To avoid conflicts, for semi permanent removable drives, assign drive letters that windows will not likely have assigned. You can start at the end of the Drive letter alphabet and use Z:, Y:, X:, etc Or for Vista or later, drive letters A: & B: will never be used by Windows as a 'next available' drive letter.
 

clee01l

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Steps 2 & 3 In Jim Wilde's directions can be simplified to:
  • Click on the Start button in Windows 7, Vista or XP
  • Type the following command diskmgmt.msc in the search text box (Win7, Vista) or Open the "Run" Command Line box (XP) and then hit the Enter key
  • You should see a window like this
 
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