Change the drive letter of a drive

Disk letters in Windows come and go. Quite annoying, because sometimes you wish, for example, that your USB backup hard disk always has the same drive letter assigned. Which can.

In 99.9 percent of cases, Windows assigns the letter c to the system partition. That has always been the case, and actually logical. The very first PCs were not equipped with a hard disk, but with floppy drives. The first disk drive was assigned the letter A by the operating system (then DOS). More advanced PCs even had two floppy drives: A and B. A and B were reserved for floppy drives. When the hard disk came out for the PC, it was simply assigned the next free letter in the alphabet: C. And that C has stuck to this day. The point is of course that there are now many more disk drives in and around a computer. Usually, in addition to the C drive, there is also a data partition (or even a separate drive for it). It is then assigned the letter D and so on. The point is that Windows just continues to type on its own. So if you have a C and a D partition and you insert a USB stick, it will automatically receive drive letter E. An external hard drive? That will be F. Only the letter assignment changes quite often. Annoying, because if, for example, you let a backup program copy your documents to disk F by default and that letter changes when you disconnect the disk, then little will be backed up.

Change drive letter

You can also choose a drive letter yourself. In this example, let's get started with an external Blu-ray drive. That's right: when connected, it will also be assigned the letter E again if none of our other drives are connected. To change that, in Windows 10, click the right mouse button on the Start button and then on Disk Management. Click in the window Disk Management with the right mouse button on the block with the description of the drive. In the opened context menu, click on Change drive letter and paths.

Choose a letter

In the window that opens, click Modify. Then select one of the available letters via the selection menu. In this example we are going for the letter R. Click on OK.

Sometimes Windows is stubborn

You will now see a warning box informing you that some programs that rely on drive letters may not work properly (very occasionally you need to restart your computer to assign a drive letter exclusively, which happens when the drive is in use). That is exactly the reason that you want to 'fix' the drive letter to your own choice. Consider the example just mentioned of a backup program that expects an external drive with a specific drive letter. Of course it is not wise to change the drive letter of, for example, your C drive, that is asking for trouble. It is practical to use the change drive letters only for external drives and USB stick. And especially for the ones you use a lot and want to recognize easily. Incidentally, Windows wouldn't be Windows if it sometimes stubbornly mixes up letters at its own discretion. Experience shows that this mainly happens when you plug in a new external disk drive (or a stick). So after connecting it, check the status of your 'fixed' external stations and the letters you have assigned!

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