How to assign permanent letters to drives on Windows 10

You can assign drive letters manually, and in this guide, we show you how on Windows 10.

assign static drive letter usb

On Windows 10, when connecting a removable storage device or an internal hard drive, the system detects and assigns a drive letter automatically to make it usable. However, when reconnecting an external drive (such as a USB flash drive or SD or microSD cards), the system can end up assigning a different letter, which can be annoying.

If you want to see the same drive letter on a particular device, you can manually assign a permanent letter to any drive connected to your computer, and on Windows 10 , you can do this in at least three different ways, using Disk Management, Command Prompt, or PowerShell.

Using this approach will prevent Windows 10 from assigning a new letter or trying to set a letter already in use, which can cause conflicts. Also, it helps to select a drive letter that makes more sense to you.

In this Windows 10 guide, we walk you through several methods to manually assign a permanent letter to a drive, as long as you're connecting the drive to the same device and the letter isn't already in use.

How to assign a drive letter using Disk Management

How to assign a drive letter using command prompt, how to assign a drive letter using powershell.

To manage drive letters with the Disk Management tool, use these steps:

  • Open Start .
  • Search for Create and format hard disk partitions and click the top result to open the Disk Management experience.
  • Right-click the drive and select the Change Drive Letter and Paths option.
  • Click the Change button.
  • Select the Assign the following drive letter option.
  • Use the drop-down menu to assign a new drive letter. Quick tip: To avoid the system trying to assign the same letter to another drive, it's a good idea to start adding letters in backward order. For instance, instead of using D, E or F, it better to start with Z, Y or X when assigning a new letter.
  • Click the OK button.
  • Click the OK button again.

Once you complete these steps, the drive will permanently retain the assigned letter, even after reconnecting it. However, if you connect the drive to another device, it may receive a different letter.

While the easiest way to assign a new drive letter is to use Disk Management, you can also use DiskPart in Command Prompt to perform the same task.

To assign a drive letter using Command Prompt, use these steps:

  • Search for Command Prompt , right-click the result, and then select the Run as administrator option.
  • Type the following command to start DiskPart and press Enter : diskpart
  • Type the following command to list all the available volumes and press Enter : list volume
  • Type the following command to select the volume (drive) to assign a new letter and press Enter: select volume 3 In the command, make sure to change "3" to the number that represents the drive on your device.
  • Type the following command to assign a new drive letter, and press Enter : assign letter=Z The command assigns the letter "Z" to the drive assuming it's available. However, you need to make sure to change the letter for the one that you want to use.

After completing these steps, similar to Disk Management, every time you reconnect the storage to the same device, Windows 10 should assign the same letter automatically.

Alternatively, you can also use PowerShell to change a drive letter on Windows 10 using these steps:

  • Search for PowerShell , right-click the result, and then select the Run as administrator option.
  • Type the following command to list the available drives and press Enter : Get-Disk
  • Type the following command to assign a permanent letter to the drive and press Enter : Get-Partition -DiskNumber 1 | Set-Partition -NewDriveLetter Z In the command, make sure to change "1" to the number that represents the drive that you want to modify, and change "Z" for the new letter that you want to use.

Once you complete the steps, the drive will be accessible through File Explorer using the letter that you assigned, and Windows 10 won't try to change it.

Updated March 7, 2019: We revised this guide to make sure it's current with the latest version of Windows 10.

More Windows 10 resources

For more helpful articles, coverage, and answers to common questions about Windows 10, visit the following resources:

  • Windows 10 on Windows Central – All you need to know
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Mauro Huculak is technical writer for WindowsCentral.com. His primary focus is to write comprehensive how-tos to help users get the most out of Windows 10 and its many related technologies. He has an IT background with professional certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA, and he's a recognized member of the Microsoft MVP community.

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assign static drive letter usb

How-To Geek

How to change a drive letter on windows 10 or windows 11.

You can change your drive letters in Windows 10 and 11 using the Disk Management utility.

Quick Links

What changing a drive letter does, how to change a drive letter, how to fix programs broken by changing a drive letter.

Changing the letter of a drive is easy on Windows 10 and Windows 11, but you should do it as soon as you add the drive to prevent future hassles. Find out how to change a drive letter here.

Windows assigns drive letters alphabetically --- starting with C --- when they're initialized. If you want to change a drive letter, you should do it before you install anything on the drive. Changing a drive letter after programs are installed could break them since there will be references to an installation location that is no longer there.

Windows has gotten pretty smart about updating shortcuts so that programs work after changing a drive letter. Most of your applications' shortcuts will probably be automatically corrected. Unfortunately, Windows isn't as good about updating file associations. You'll have to manually set the default apps associated with files to fix file associations if they were broken by changing the drive letter.

It is possible to change the boot drive letter to something else, but we don't recommend it. Changing C:\ to another letter is likely to result in severe issues, like a PC that cannot boot into Windows at all. Even if it were able to boot, there would be a huge number of programs that would not be able to run.

Technically speaking, while they are commonly called drive letters, each letter actually refers to a partition on a disk. If you have multiple partitions on a single disk, you will need to assign a letter to each partition to make them all accessible. If a disk has just a single partition, it will just have a single letter pointing to that partition. (However, you do not have to assign a letter to each partition. Partitions without drive letters will not appear in File Explorer and elsewhere.)

Changing a drive letter is pretty simple. Click the Start button, type "Disk Management" in the search bar, and then hit Enter.

The program name displayed in the search will not be Disk Management. It will be "Create and format hard disk partitions."

You could also hit Windows+X or right-click the Start button, and then click "Disk Management."

Identify the drive you'd like to change in the Disk Management Window. In this example, we'll change the letter of the D:\ drive to J:\. You can right-click the drive on the text list, or on the menu below. Either works.

Select "Change Drive Letter and Paths" in the right-click menu that appears.

In the window that pops up, click "Change."

Select whatever letter you want from the drop-down menu. Then click "Ok."

Two popups will warn you about changing your drive letter. Click "Yes" on both of them, and then restart your computer.

Once Windows has restarted, the drive letter should be changed.

There are a few ways you can fix a program broken by changing the drive letter.

Fix The Shortcut

If you're lucky, the only thing that is broken is the shortcut. Fix a shortcut by right-clicking the shortcut on your desktop, and then click Properties.

You need to change the target of the shortcut to the new drive letter.

For example, if GIMP was previously installed at " D :\GIMP 2\bin\gimp-2.10.exe," and you changed the D drive to J, change the target of the shortcut to " J :\GIMP 2\bin\gimp-2.10.exe."

Finalize the change by clicking "Apply" and then "Ok."

Reinstall the Program

Reinstalling the program will generate new entries in the registry, so everything on the computer will know where to look for the program. Some installers won't like reinstalling directly over existing files, so you may need to rename or delete the old installation first.

Change the Drive Letter Back

If you changed the drive letter of a drive with a lot of programs installed, it might be easier to change the drive letter back. Changing the drive letter back should automatically fix any programs and file associations that were broken.

Edit the Registry

You can break programs, or even Windows itself, by editing the registry. Be careful, and learn about how to edit the registry before you try it. Make sure you backup the Windows registry first. You should not attempt this method unless you have no other options.

Windows, and a lot of programs, track where programs are installed via the Windows registry. It is possible to manually adjust the registry to fix broken programs. Keep in mind that there could be dozens of registry entries you need to edit. A program like GIMP can have registry entries for the context menu, for the "Open With" menu, for any file associations, and for the location of its executables. Other programs may only have a few entries related to where it is installed.

If you're not deterred, here's how you do it.

First, you need to know where the program was previously installed. In this case, the program was installed to the "D:\GIMP 2" folder, and the executables were found the "D:\GIMP 2\bin" sub-folder. It is now located at "J:\GIMP 2" instead.

We need to update the registry to reflect the change in location. Click the Start button, type "regedit" into the search bar, right-click Regedit, and click "Run as administrator."

In Regedit, hit Ctrl+F to bring up a search window. Type in the old location for the program you're trying to fix --- "D:\GIMP 2" for our example --- then click "Find Next."

Once Regedit has found something with "D:\GIMP 2" as part of a path, it'll show it to you. Here is an example from the GIMP search.

To actually change them, double click the name of the registry entry you want to modify. Then change the drive letter to J, or whatever you chose. If you didn't otherwise move the folder, leave the rest of the path alone. Then click "Ok."

You'll need to repeat this multiple times. To find the next result using your search term, you can hit the F3 key. There will be a popup once you've found all of the entries.

Changing drive letters can be a simple way to customize your PC. Do it before you install anything on the drive, however. You'll prevent any problems before they occur, and probably save yourself quite a bit of troubleshooting.

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Change a drive letter

  • 4 contributors
Applies To: Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows Server 2022, Windows Server 2019, and Windows Server 2016

If you want to change a drive letter assigned to a drive, or you have a drive that doesn't yet have a drive letter, use Disk Management to change it. You can also mount the drive in an empty folder so that it appears as a folder. For more information, see Mount a drive in a folder .

If you change the drive letter of a drive that already contains Windows or apps, apps might have trouble running or finding the drive. We suggest not changing the drive letter of a drive that already contains Windows or apps.

The following steps show how to change the drive letter.

Open Disk Management with administrator permissions.

In Disk Management, select and hold (or right-click) the volume on which you want to change or add a drive letter and select Change Drive Letter and Paths .

Screenshot showing the Disk Management window with the Change Drive Letter and Paths feature selected.

If you don't see the Change Drive Letter and Paths option or it's grayed out, the volume either isn't ready to receive a drive letter or it's unallocated and needs to be initialized . It might also be that the drive isn't accessible, which is the case with EFI system partitions and recovery partitions. If you've confirmed that your volume is formatted with a drive letter that you can access but you're still unable to change it, that's beyond the scope of this article. We suggest contacting Microsoft Support or the manufacturer of your PC for more help.

To change the drive letter, select Change . To add a drive letter if the drive doesn't already have one, select Add .

Screenshot of the Change Drive Letter and Paths dialog.

Select the new drive letter and choose OK . Then select Yes when prompted about how programs that rely on the drive letter might not run correctly.

Screenshot of the Change Drive Letter or Path dialog that shows how to assign a new drive letter.

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Additional resources

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  • Free Partition Software

Three Easy Ways to Change USB Drive Letter in Windows 11, 10, 8 or 7

Top three ways about how to change USB drive letter are listed in this post. You can pick the one that you like.

assign static drive letter usb

The reasons for changing drive letter for USB device

You may want to change USB drive letter in Windows 11, 10, 8, or 7 under the following conditions:

☞ The USB device, like external hard drive is not recognized in Window Explorer out of drive letter conflict. To resolve the problem, you can reassign drive ☞ letter to the USB drive. ☞ T he USB drive letter keeps changing every time it was connected to your PC. You can assign a permanent drive letter to the USB drive . ☞ You just don’t like the drive letter that has been assigned automatically to the USB drive and want to change it .

How to: Change USB drive letter in Windows 11/10/8/7 easily

Next, there are three ways about how to change drive letter for USB flash drive, USB external hard drive, etc. will be displayed. Pick up one way as you like.

Method 1. Change USB drive letter via Disk Management

Method 2. change usb drive letter using cmd, method 3. change usb drive letter with a free 3rd party gui tool.

Disk Management is a Windows built-in tool, allowing you to manage disk and partitions conveniently. Follow the steps given below to change drive letter of USB drive in Disk Management.

Step 1. Press Windows + R in Windows 11/10/8/7, input “ d iskmgmt.msc ” and hit Enter key to open Disk Management.

Step 2. Right-click the USB partition that you want to change the drive letter and choose Change Drive Letter and Paths... .

assign static drive letter usb

Step 3. In the pop-up window, click Change… . If your USB drive is not showing up in drive out of drive letter missing, you can click Add to assign a drive letter to it.

assign static drive letter usb

Step 4. Choose a new drive letter from the list and click OK .

assign static drive letter usb

Note: If the USB drive is formatted with a file system incompatible with Windows OS, like Ext4 or is write-protected, you can find that “ Change Drive Letter and Paths ” option greyed out.

assign static drive letter usb

To resolve the problem, you can format your USB drive with a file system recognized by Windows 10 /11 or remove write protection at first. Or you can try Method 2 or Method 3 to change the drive letter for your USB drive.

You can also change drive letter for USB drive from Command Prompt through the following steps:

Step 1. Pres s Windows + R simultaneously, input cmd, and click OK .

Step 2 . Type diskpart and hit Enter .

Step 3. Run commands listed below in order.

▪ list volume ▪ select volume n ▪ assign letter= m ▪ exit ▪ exit

assign static drive letter usb

If you find out Change Drive Letter and Paths greyed out and are unfamiliar with Command Prompt, you can try a 3 rd party partition manager for Windows PC, AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. It can change drive letter for USB drive even when it is write-protected or not formatted with NTFS or FAT file system. Now, free download it and take a closer look at how it works.

Step 1. Install and run the partition manager. In the home interface, right-click the partition whose drive letter needs to be changed and go to Advanced > Change Drive Letter .

assign static drive letter usb

Step 2. In the pop-up window, choose a new drive letter for your USB drive and click OK .

assign static drive letter usb

Step 3. You’ll go back to the main interface automatically. Click Apply and Proceed to commit the operation.

assign static drive letter usb

✍ Notes: ✌ You can get more functions, like quick partition, partition recovery, etc., if you upgrade to AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional . ✌ To more easily identify USB drive, like external hard drive, you can also choose to change name of USB drive.

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How to assign a drive letter in Windows 10

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Step-by-step instructions for assigning a specific drive letter to an external drive, SD card, or hard drive partition in Windows 10.

When you connect a new drive to your PC, Windows automatically assigns the next available letter after C, which is normally used for your system drive. So an external hard drive or USB thumb drive could end up as D, E, F, or whatever, depending on how many drive letters are already being used.

This is all well and good, but what if you want to assign the drive a letter? Maybe you want to use M for your music files or X for your top-secret X-Files. Here’s how in Windows 10.

  • Ensure that the drive you’re relettering isn’t in use and that no files from that drive are open.
  • Right-click on the Start button.
  • Click Disk Management to open the Disk Management console.
  • Right-click the volume that has the drive letter you want to change.
  • Click Change Drive Letter And Paths.
  • Click the Change button.
  • Choose from a list of available drive letters. (Don’t use A or B, which have historically been reserved for floppy drives and can sometime confuse older software.)
  • Click Yes if a popup windows appears asking if you really want to do this.
  • Close the Disk Management console.

You may need to restart your machine for the change to take effect, but once you do the drive will use the new letter.

More Windows tips…

  • How to turn on or off hibernate in Windows 10
  • Regain hard disk space by using Windows Update Cleanup in Windows 7 and 8.x
  • Restore a Windows XP backup in Windows 8
  • How to replace SkyDrive with Libraries in Windows 8.1
  • Pro tip: Use an optical Recovery Drive in Windows 8.1

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Assign Static Drive Letter to USB

Every time we plug in USB to a new computer, the drive letter changes automatically, at first it may confuse us and it will take some time to response. Where's my USB drive, I remember it's E: Drive on my laptop, but it becomes G: Drive on my desktop, can I assign static drive letter and drive label to my often used USB?

Yes, of course. There're many ways to assign static drive letter to USB, we're going to share 2 most adapted methods: Disk Management and Partition software.

Free Download

Windows 10 Disk Management

Disk Management in Windows 10 has a lot of functions to manage disk, for sure, it's an easy job for this default partition manager to assign static drive letter to USB.

change_drive_letter_and_paths

  • Press Windows + R to open Run Window, and type "diskmgmt.msc", and press Enter to run Windows 10 Disk Management;
  • Roll Down to find USB Drive, and right-click on that Disk, and select "change drive letter and paths" from the menu;
  • Click "Change" in the pop up dialog box;
  • Assign the following drive letter, and choose one letter near to "Z" from the given list, it's a widely used trick to assign drive letter according to the initial letter of your name, James, Karoline, Michelle or Michael, for example, maybe not apply for Alex, Benny, or Clinton.
  • Click "OK" and "Yes" to assign static drive letter on USB.

Partition Software to Assign Static Drive letter

Here's another way to assign static drive letter to USB if you hired third party partition software in Windows 10, most of the partition manager are capable of changing drive letter, Macrorit Partition Expert is one of them, with which you can easily assign static drive letter and change label to personize your USB, and steps are followed:

change drive letter

  • Run Partition Expert, or click here to download Partition Expert Portable Edition ;
  • Right-click on USB Drive, and choose "Change Drive Letter";
  • Click on letter to confirm, and click "OK" to close this window;
  • Right-click on USB again, and choose "Change Label";
  • Type "Whatever you want", and click "OK"; At last, click "Commit".

Other ways to change drive label in Windows 10

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Windows 10 fails to assign drive letter to external USB hard disk drive on plugin

I have a correctly formatted (Master Boot Record, FAT32) 500 GB SATA 2.5 inch drive in an external hard drive enclosure, connected by USB chord.

This drive automatically mounts flawlessly to my Ubuntu laptop, but when plugged into my Windows 10 laptop, it only registers the presence of a USB device that can be "safely removed," it doesn't assign a drive letter.

This is terribly inconvenient, as you might imagine.

How do I figure out if this is possible, and if it is, how do I fix it?

  • external-hard-drive

Kile Kasmir Asmussen's user avatar

3 Answers 3

That sounds like a volume flag is set. Try this procedure to let Windows assign a letter automatically. 1. Open a CMD prompt with Administrator previlege . 2. Type in DiskPart and hit Enter. 3. Run the following commands one by one. Case insensitive.

Identify your external drive from the given list manually. Assume it's disk # (a number), and run

Done. Now on every Windows system it should be assigned with a letter automatically and show up in Explorer.

iBug's user avatar

  • Yep, the DiskPart is a great utility, only needs a very carful handling. But does it exist under Win 10? technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc766465(v=ws.10).aspx –  Ale..chenski Feb 1, 2017 at 23:35
  • Why do you think it doesn't exist in Win10??? It's ever been there since WinXP (or even earlier!). It's a command-line utility, which means it has no GUI. –  iBug Feb 2, 2017 at 2:46
  • just asking... utilities may come and go. Search is gone. Webcam is gone. It is not a given that a vending kiosk as W10 has any utilities. –  Ale..chenski Feb 2, 2017 at 3:03
  • System utilities never go. Like servicing sc.exe , Net Shell netsh.exe , Net User net.exe and Task Scheduler sched.exe (previously at.exe ). –  iBug Feb 2, 2017 at 3:09
  • This worked for me, except I had to do list volume then select volume # , otherwise the attribute command would return "No volume selected." –  McGuireV10 Aug 29, 2017 at 15:07

This issue drove me wild for half a year. I tried everything including the answer above, which was close but didn't resolve it. In the end it turned out to be that the volume was marked hidden. This is how I resolved the issue:

  • Click the start menu or press the windows key
  • Type diskpart and press the enter key
  • Click yes in the dialog that pops up
  • Type list volume into the diskpart window and press the enter key
  • Identify the volume that is causing the issue and note the volume number

Type the following into the diskpart window (replace X with the volume number from the previous step):

If the hidden attribute is yes then this is your problem. Simply type:

Then press the enter key and windows should automatically assign a drive letter.

If it doesn't it might be that automount is disabled or stuck you can try fixing that with:

kaan_a's user avatar

  • Thanks, I've solved the problems using automount disable and then automount enable –  drypatrick Sep 6 at 7:41

Just to add to kaan_a's answer :

With Windows 10 DiskPart, when you execute

A table will appear and show as "INFO". This will show the status of the volume and, in the example attached, which happened to me, it showed as "Hidden".

EXAMPLE

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for browse other questions tagged windows-10 hard-drive usb external-hard-drive ..

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How to assign drive letter to external hard drive in Windows 10

I've read other posts regarding this, the last being to start Disk Management, click on the external hard drive and select new simple volume and assign letter.  When I click on the external hard drive (which obviously does show up in disk management, but not in "My Computer"), I do not have the option to "select new simple volume and assign letter".  When I click on the volume tab, and then populate, I get all the information related to the drive, but no option to assign a letter.  Under the General tab, it says the device is working properly.

I previously used this drive on this computer, but needed to use it to download Dishnet DVR recordings from a receiver that was being replaced.  I did that and then transferred those recordings to the new receiver.  The external hard drive is now empty.

I'm sure the problem is that a letter needs to be assigned.  I just can't figure out how to do it.  Any help would be appreciated.

Report abuse

Replies (6) .

MightyMiro_WD

Hi @littleangelbsb1!

I'm sorry to hear about your issues, I know this could be very frustrating experience.

Since there is no data left on the drive and you want to reformat it as well (since you've wanted to go with "select new simple volume and assign letter") you can try to do that via CMD rather than do this in Disk Management. Just follow these steps:

1. Press 'Win + X', and click/tap on Command Prompt, or Command Prompt (Admin) to open it in Administrator mode.

2. After that type 'list disk', press Enter.

3. Type 'select disk X (where X is the number your drive shows up as)', press Enter and type 'clean', press Enter.

4. After that type 'create partition primary', press Enter, type 'format quick fs=ntfs', press Enter, type 'assign letter=F (or the letter you want to assign to the drive)', press Enter and lastly - type 'exit'.

Hope this helps and let me know how it went. :)

3 people found this reply helpful

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Normally, when you plug in an external HDD, if it is detected, it MUST be displayed both in the My computer and disk management also. As you say that the external hard drive is not detected in the My Computer, there is a good chance that either you are selecting the wrong disk in the device manager or Simply the disk does not gets read properly.

Hence, as of now, please re-connect your external hard drive to a different USB port and check if it helps. Or, you can also use a different cable and connect the hard drive to the computer and check if it helps. Also, you may plug in the Hard drive to a different computer and check if you are able to rename the same in that computer.

Please let us know if the issue is resolved or you need any further assistance.

Have a good day!

Thank you for your response; however, after pressing Win + X, choosing command prompt (admin) and typing "list disk", I get a message "list is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file.  Same with choosing command prompt (not as admin).

I did see "Disk Management" in the list after pressing WIN + X, and found the drive in that list, but again, it has no letter assigned to it.  Is there something I can do here?

2 people found this reply helpful

Thanks for your reply; however, I did choose the correct disk.  It is definitely the one I see in disk management - probably need to format it, but can't find an option to do that.  Any ideas?

1 person found this reply helpful

MightyMiro_WD,  I tried your step by step instructions and everything was good until I typed "assign letter"; at that point it said I had to select a volume.  I know the volume of the partition on which I want to assign a letter, however, I do not know the correct command to put it in.

Can anyone help me out with the command for "select volume"?

5 people found this reply helpful

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Assign Permanent Drive Letter to USB Devices in Windows

Windows assigns drive letters to external USB devices in the order they are available and connected. If you have two hard disk drives and a disc drive ( ODD ), drive letters C, D, and E respectively would be assigned to them. When you connect a new external device, it is automatically assigned the next free drive letter: ‘F’. Generally it isn’t a problem, but if you have a backup software automatically backing files to an external hard disk or program running from the drive, this can cause issues. One way to fix this problem is by assigning a permanent drive letter to a device. Once assigned, no matter in which order you plug-in your device, it will always mount on the letter you chose.

Assigning a permanent drive letter to USB Devices

Disk Management Windows 7

  • Plug-in your external USB device
  • Press Win+R to open the Run dialog, and type in  diskmgmt.msc
  • All devices currently connected via the USB is listed in the Disk Management Console. Locate your USB drive, right-click on it, and choose “Change Drive Letters and Paths…” from the pop-up menu.
  • In the new dialog that opens, click on Change button – this will open another dialog

Change Drive Letter

  • “Assign the following drive letter:” option is pre-preselected, in its corresponding dropdown choose one of the unused drive letter. Choose one that’s high enough that it won’t be ever used by Windows.
  • Click OK, and confirm the warning that prompts you about the fact that some programs or shortcuts might stop working if you change the disk’s drive letter.

That’s it. You’re all set.

Test if the changes work by removing the USB device. Plug it back in, and then open Computer in Explorer to see the newly assigned drive letter in use with the device.

This method will work with all USB drives, flash drives, memory stick, phones and cameras.

Related tips:

  • Encrypt a USB Flash Drive using TrueCrypt on Windows
  • Format Your USB Drive as NTFS
  • Automatically Back Up Your Flash Drives and Memory Cards
  • Windows Experience Index Editor
  • Set a Doodle as Your Permanent Google Icon

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Home » Tech Tips » Windows » How to Assign or Change Drive Letter in Windows 11?

How to Assign or Change Drive Letter in Windows 11?

Windows by default uses C drive (C:) for hosting system and application files. You can choose different drives like D: instead of C: while installing Windows on your computer. Similarly, it is also possible to manually change the installed app’s location , though generally users install apps on C: drive. Did you anytime think of changing the existing drive letters in your system? Here is how you can do that in Windows 11 PC.

Default Drive Name Assignments in Windows 11

Let us say, you have two partitions C: and D: volumes on your hard disk. Here is how the default drive letter assignment in Windows work:

  • A: – floppy disk drive for IBM computers (obsolete)
  • B: – floppy drive for MS-DOS and Windows computers (obsolete)
  • C: – Windows and app installation files
  • D: – storage space partition
  • E: – the letter after your storage partition for CD drive (if CD/DVD drive is available)
  • F: onwards – removable storage disks like USB and external hard disks

When you have more partitions on the hard drive, system will use the next drive letters like E: or F: when you insert an external drive. For example, when you have C: and D: drives on your hard disk and insert an USB drive , it will take the letter E: or later.

Changing Drive Letters in Windows 11

It is not necessary to live with the assigned drive letters forever on your system. You can either reduce / increase the drive’s space and assign new letters or simply change an existing drive’s letter. For example, you have 400GB D: drive which you can simply change to F: drive. Alternatively, you can divide it into 200GB + 200GB drives and name them as G: and H: drives.

Windows 11 makes it easy to change the drive letters from the Settings app without using registry or changing system files. However, you can also do the same from Computer Management as with the case in Windows 10 .

1. Change Drive Letter from Windows 11 Settings

If you want to change the assigned drive letters for any partition on your hard disk except C drive then this is the option you should proceed with.

  • Press “Win + I” keys or use Windows Search to find Windows Settings app.
  • Once you are in the Settings app, go to “System” tab and then click on “Storage” option.

Go to System Storage Settings

  • Go down to the bottom of the “Storage” settings section and click on “Advanced storage settings” available under “Storage management” section.

Advanced Storage Settings

  • This will expand the section and click on “Disks & volumes” option.

Go to Disks and Volumes

  • The “Disks and volumes” section will show all your existing drives and click on the one you want to change the letter name. it will show two buttons – “Explore” and “Properties” and click on the “Properties” button.

Open Disk Volume Properties

  • On the next screen, you can see the buttons for “Change label” and “Change drive letter”.

Select Change Drive Letter

  • Click “Change drive letter” button and select your favorite letter from the dropdown to assign.

Change Label for C Drive

The dropdown will show all letters except C: and the current volume. In the above example, we want to change the D: drive and the system shows A to Z letters except C and D. Since D is the current volume, it is not shown in the list. But C is not shown because it is a system volume partition and you cannot change the drive letter for C. You will not see “Change drive letter” button when selecting properties of C drive. However, you can assign A and B for drive letters which were once reserved only for floppy disks. Since floppy disk is obsolete Windows allows you to assign those reserved drive letters A and B also.

2. Change Drive Letter from Disk Management in Windows 11

Though changing drive letter is easy with Windows Settings, it does not allow changing C drive letter. You can use Disk Management app for changing any drive letter with additional features.

  • Press “Win + R” keys to Run prompt .
  • Type compmgmt.msc and press “OK” button.

Open Disk Management App in Windows

  • This will open Computer Management app and select “Disk Management” from the sidebar available under “Storage” section.
  • You will see all the drives available on your computer and select C or D or any drive that you want to assign a new letter.
  • Go to “Action > All Tasks > Change Drive Letter and Paths…” menu.

Change Drive Letter in Disk Management

  • On the pop-up that appears, click on “Change…” button.

Select Change Button

  • Click on the dropdown against “Assign the following drive letter:” option.
  • Select your favorite letter and click “OK” button.

Assign New Drive Letter

Here you will see all the drive letters except D which is already assigned to another partition volume on the hard disk. Though it is possible to change drive letter for C, we do not recommend as it can affect the installed programs on your computer. Most programs by default install under “Program Files” section in C drive. Changing the drive letter may affect the installed programs and they may stop working. In such a case, you need to uninstall and reinstall the program on the new drive again. This will be a big task if multiple programs stopped working. Therefore, choose the system drive when you clean install Windows first time and stick with that. If you are using preinstalled Windows on C drive, then continue to use that without changing. You can change all other drives using Disk Management or Windows Settings app.

If you want to create parition, select the volume and right click on it. From the menu, select “Shrink Volume” option and select the reduced size for your volume. The remaining size will become unallocated for which you can assign a new label and letter as explained above. Learn more about how to create disk paritions in Windows computer .

Assigning Drive Letter to Removable Disks

As mentioned, Windows will assign the available drive letter for removable disks after the current partition volumes. The problem is when you have multiple removable disks, the assigned letters will change every time which may confuse you. The good part is that you can assign a drive letter as explained above for your removable USB or external hard disk. Windows will remember the assigned letter and use the same whenever you insert the external drive. However, make sure to use the letters clearly away from the current and CD/DVD drives. For example, you can use X or Y or even A or B which are generally not assigned.

About Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at WebNots are team of experts led by Nagasundaram Arumugham . We love to build websites, find tech hacks and share the learning with community.

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  Windows OS Hub / Windows 10 / Windows Doesn’t Automatically Assign Drive Letters

Windows Doesn’t Automatically Assign Drive Letters

How to manually assign a permanent drive letter in windows, changing drive letter via cmd or powershell, windows doesn’t save an assigned drive letter for connected usb drives.

If the drive doesn’t appear in Windows Explorer, it will have to manually assign a drive letter through the Disk Management snap-in ( diskmgmt.msc ). To do this, open the Computer Management console (via the Win + X menu) and go to the Storage section -> Disk management . In the list of drives, locate the connected removable USB drive. As you can see, the disk is online, it has one healthy partition with the NTFS, but it is not assigned a drive letter. To assign a drive letter to it, right-click on the partition and select “ Change Drive Letter and Path “.

Computer Management Change Drive Letter and Path

In the window that appears, click the “ Add ” button, select “ Assign the following drive letter ”, select the letter you want to assign to the drive (for example, H: ) in the drop-down list, and click OK.

Assign the following drive letter to the usb flash drive

Make sure that Windows detects the partition (s) on the connected USB drive and the partition is formatted with the NTFS, FAT32, or exFAT file system. If the file system is detected as RAW, or the disk is not partitioned, most likely the USB flash drive is just a new one, or the partition table is damaged and you have to repair the file system first.

If the disk is new and no partitions have been created on it, it appears in the console as Not initialized with an Unallocated area. To initialize such a disk:

initialize new disk in windows

  • Select the partition table for your disk: MBR or GPT; You can convert MBR-disk to GPT without data loss .

create partition on disk

If the disk is offline, right-click on it and select Online .

make disk online on windows

You can assign or change a drive letter from the command prompt using the Diskpart tool or using PowerShell.

Open the elevated command prompt and run the command:

List the volumes on the disks:

In this example, the TestDisk volume is not assigned a drive letter (empty in the Ltr column)

Select this volume (Volume 4 in our example):

Assign a drive letter Q: to this volume:

DiskPart successfully assigned the drive letter or mount point.

End the diskpart session:

assigning drive letter using diskpart cmd

You can also change or assign a drive letter using the PowerShell cmdlets from the built-in Disk Management module .

List drives:

List partitions on the specified disk:

get-disk 1|Get-Partition

Assign the letter Q: to partition 2 on disk 1:

Get-Partition -DiskNumber 1 -PartitionNumber 2 | Set-Partition -NewDriveLetter Q

using powershell to assign drive letter to the partition on the USB drive

After that, the connected USB disk appears in the File Explorer with the assigned drive letter.

Sometimes after disconnecting a USB device or restarting the computer, a drive letter is not automatically assigned to it. I have to assign the letter again manually through Disk Management, and that becomes annoying.

It seems that some feature of automatic detection and mounting of new partitions on the external storage devices is not working in Windows. How to solve this problem?

First of all, make sure that the Virtual Disk service is running. You can check the status of this service in the services management console ( services.msc ).

start virtual disk service

Or check the service state using PowerShell :

get-service vds

check virtual disk service running via powershell

Check if the problem persists. If it does, make sure that the automatic mounting of new volumes is enabled.

Open the command prompt as administrator and run the following commands: diskpart Within diskpart , make sure that the automatic mounting of new volumes is enabled: DISKPART> automount

As you can see, the auto-mounting is disabled. Let’s enable it: DISKPART> automount enable

Exit diskpart DISKPART> exit

Enable automount with diskpart

You can also enable automatic mounting of new partitions using the command:

MOUNTVOL /E

Make sure the NoAutoMount DWORD parameter (with a value of 1) is not created under the reg key HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\mountmgr . If this registry parameter is created, Windows doesn’t assign drive letters to newly connected devices.

list of saved drive letters assigned to disk in windows registry

Restart your computer and verify if the drive letters are assigned to the external USB devices.

If not, check if the “hidden” and “do not assign a drive letter” attributes are set for the partition on the USB drive. Run the Diskpart command prompt and enter the following commands:

  • List the disks: list disk
  • Find the disk number assigned to your USB flash drive (in this example 1) and select it: select disk 1
  • List the partitions on the disk: list part
  • Select the desired partition: select partition 2
  • Check the partition attributes: attributes volume

volume attributes

  • End the diskpart session by typing: exit

After that, this partition on the USB flash drive should be automatically assigned a drive letter on any computer.

Please note that the old Windows versions only see the first partition on USB sticks with multiple partitions. The ability to create multiple partitions on removable USB drives appeared only starting from Windows 10 build 1703. Previously, in order to make second and subsequent partitions on the USB flash drive were accessible in Windows, you had to use a trick to make Windows detect removable USB flash drive as an HDD .

If your USB flash drive doesn’t appear in the Disk Management console, try using a different USB port or cable. Try to connect the USB flash drive directly to the computer (without the USB hub), check whether the power is on and whether it is detected on other computers.

IdFix: Preparing On-Prem Active Directory Sync with Azure

Install and configure a read-only domain controller (rodc) on windows server 2019/2022, related reading, using wpad (web proxy auto-discovery protocol) on windows, zabbix: how to get data from powershell scripts, tracking printer usage with windows event viewer logs, how to use ansible to manage windows machines, installing language pack in windows 10/11 with powershell, 26 comments.

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Thanks, this worked great! 

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Finnally something that worked. 4  of my 9 USB keys no longer mount on my computer but worked on my wife’s so I knew it was a Windows problem. Gave up a year ago trying to solve the problem because none of the solutions on the web worked – and there are tons of them. So after loading Win 10 thought I would see if my keys worked they still didn’t so I did a google and this solution pooped up.  

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This fix worked like charm. Thanks for posting friend.

' src=

Great help! Thank a lot!

' src=

Very helpful! Thank you very much!

' src=

You rock!!!!  Been fighting this on a SBS 2011 server.  Enabling automount did the trick. Thanks SO much!!

' src=

Well done – automount worked like a dream in Windows10 Anniversary edition (on my laptop). Many thanks.

' src=

Good Job. Thank you verry much.

' src=

Virtual Disk service is running aoutomount is anabled already disk drive is showing in device manger but drives still not shown in my computer

win 7 ultimate service pack 1 fully updated

' src=

I had exact problem and this solution helped me.

' src=

Thanks a lot! It solved my problem!

' src=

every thing checked and correct but nothing is working for me windows 10 64 bit pro and USB flash drive is 16 GB Sandisk 3.0

And USB Drive is showing in Disk Management with its full capacity.

' src=

After reinstalling Windows my Data disk for some reason became hidden.. I couldnt figure out why it wouldnt auto mount but this solved it. Literally the only page on the internet that had the solution thanks fellas 🙂

' src=

Thank you, mine was fixed in diskpart

' src=

Thank you very much! I resolved my issue by setting the attribute of my disk. Thanks!!!

' src=

Thanks for the post, the part about the hidden drive attribute helped. No idea how it got set to Yes but I cleared it and it mounts fine again.

' src=

Thank you very much!. I was also able to resolve this by changing attributes of the external SSD.

' src=

Thank you very much. It solved my issues with the windows media creation tool

' src=

Excelent way of dealing with this issue!, Thank you very much!

' src=

Thanks, It’s working! It solved my problem!

' src=

Widows is the stupidest OS I have ever used. (For some reason I have to use it sometimes.) I formatted a brand new SSD on Windows (NTFS). Then I used this SSD on my Linux Mint without any problem for weeks. My colleague copied some data from it to his MAC. There were no problems. And now I plugged in again to that Windows shit, and it sees RAW fs. Why anybody pays a dollar for this OS, I really do not understand.

' src=

Great article! But all the measures above were fine and not the problem with my USB, a S$47 SanDisk 64GB stick (bought in Singapore but no warranty as I don’t live in Singapore and can’t get there at the moment….) My problem was that it just wouldn’t assign a drive letter. I was about to throw it in the bin. It said Healthy in Disk Management, you just couldn’t browse it. I assigned a drive letter and then the stick immediately opened in File Explorer. I restarted the computer, plugged in the stick and it again automatically recognised!

' src=

This solution does not work when i connect my tablet (Samsung Galaxy, model SM-T580, Android 7). Windows 10 sees it, I can transfer files between tablet and pc but only manually. If I want to use XCOPY in a .bat file, to copy hundreds of pictures every week, I can’t because there isn’t any Drive letter assigned to tablet. Any thoughts???

' src=

Worked fine for Seagate External 1 gb drive accidently formatted.

' src=

Thanks for the awesom tips. It worked. My external Hard disk’s volume was “hidden”!!!!

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IMAGES

  1. How To: Assign a letter to a USB drive

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  2. How To Assign A Static Drive Letter To An External Hard Drive Or USB

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  3. Assign Static Drive Letter to USB in Windows 10

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  5. How to assign static drive letter to USB drive

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  6. How to format a USB flash drive on Windows 10

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COMMENTS

  1. How to Assign a Persistent Drive Letter to a USB Drive in Windows

    If you'd like to assign a static letter to a drive that's the same every time you plug it in, read on. Windows assigns drive letters to whatever type of drive is available---floppies, internal hard disks, optical drives, SD cards, and external USB drives.

  2. Windows Tip: Assign Permanent Letters to Removable Drives

    1. To set this up, plug in the drive that you want to assign a permanent letter. Then open the Run dialog ( Windows Key+R) and type: compmgmt.msc and hit Enter or click OK. Or, right-click...

  3. How to assign permanent drive letters to removable USB hard drives

    3 Answers Sorted by: 23 You can do this in Computer Management without external tools. The interface is slightly different in Windows 7 but the location is the same. Start -> Type compmgmt.msc and press Enter -> Storage -> Disk Management or Press Win + x and then press k to choose Disk Management. Share Improve this answer Follow

  4. How to assign permanent letters to drives on Windows 10

    Open Start. Search for Create and format hard disk partitions and click the top result to open the Disk Management experience. Right-click the drive and select the Change Drive Letter and...

  5. How to limit Drive Letters Windows assigns to new removable USB drives

    Mount the external drive you want to assign a permanent letter to. Click the Windows icon and start typing "format". Select "Create and format hard disk partitons, Control panel" when Windows suggests it. The app opens a window titled Disk Management. Select the external drive from the list, right-click, and select "Change Drive Letter and ...

  6. usb

    The short answer is that there is no way to have a USB drive always get the same drive letter when attached to multiple systems. To get the same drive letter you'd have to use a script to do this on insertion of the drive into the computer.

  7. How to Change a Drive Letter on Windows 10 or Windows 11

    You could also hit Windows+X or right-click the Start button, and then click "Disk Management." Identify the drive you'd like to change in the Disk Management Window. In this example, we'll change the letter of the D:\ drive to J:\.

  8. Change a drive letter

    In Disk Management, select and hold (or right-click) the volume on which you want to change or add a drive letter and select Change Drive Letter and Paths. Tip If you don't see the Change Drive Letter and Paths option or it's grayed out, the volume either isn't ready to receive a drive letter or it's unallocated and needs to be initialized.

  9. How to Permanently Assign Drive Letter with Ease

    1. Hit Windows Key + X on your keyboard, and select Disk Management from the menu. 2. Right click the USB drive to which you want to assign a persistent drive letter and select "Change Drive Letter and Paths." 3. In the pop-up window, click "Change". 4.

  10. Change and Assign Drive Letter in Windows 10

    1 Open an elevated command prompt. 2 Type diskpart into the elevated command prompt, and press Enter. (see screenshot below) 3 Type list volume into the elevated command prompt, and press Enter. 4 Make note of the volume number (ex: 5) for the drive letter (ex: "F") of the drive (volume) you want to change.

  11. Three Easy Ways to Change USB Drive Letter in Windows 11, 10, 8 or 7

    Step 1. Press Windows + R in Windows 11/10/8/7, input " diskmgmt.msc " and hit Enter key to open Disk Management. Step 2. Right-click the USB partition that you want to change the drive letter and choose Change Drive Letter and Paths.... Step 3. In the pop-up window, click Change… .

  12. How to Assign a Persistent Drive Letter to a USB Drive in Windows

    Right-click the USB drive to which you want to assign a persistent drive letter and then click "Change Drive Letter and Paths.". The "Change Drive Letter and Paths" window the selected drive's current drive letter. To change the drive letter, click "Change.". In the "Change Drive Letter or Path" window that opens, make sure ...

  13. How to assign a drive letter in Windows 10

    Right-click on the Start button. Click Disk Management to open the Disk Management console. Right-click the volume that has the drive letter you want to change. Click Change Drive Letter And Paths ...

  14. Assign Permanent Drive Letters To A Removable USB Drive ...

    In the left pane, expand 'Storage'. Click on Disk Management and wait for the right pane to populate. Select the USB drive you want to assign a permanent letter to, right-click it, and select 'Change Drive Letter and Paths…' from the context menu. In the dialogue box that opens, click change which should open an action box called ...

  15. Assign Static Drive Letter to USB in Windows 10

    Press Windows + R to open Run Window, and type "diskmgmt.msc", and press Enter to run Windows 10 Disk Management; Roll Down to find USB Drive, and right-click on that Disk, and select "change drive letter and paths" from the menu; Click "Change" in the pop up dialog box;

  16. Windows 10 fails to assign drive letter to external USB hard disk drive

    1. Open a CMD prompt with Administrator previlege. 2. Type in DiskPart and hit Enter. 3. Run the following commands one by one. Case insensitive. List Disk Identify your external drive from the given list manually. Assume it's disk # (a number), and run Select Disk # Select Partition 1 Attribute Volume Clear NoDefaultDriveLetter Done.

  17. How to assign drive letter to external hard drive in Windows 10

    1. Press 'Win + X', and click/tap on Command Prompt, or Command Prompt (Admin) to open it in Administrator mode. 2. After that type 'list disk', press Enter. 3. Type 'select disk X (where X is the number your drive shows up as)', press Enter and type 'clean', press Enter. 4.

  18. Assign Permanent Drive Letter to USB Devices in Windows

    Follow these steps: Plug-in your external USB device. Press Win+R to open the Run dialog, and type in diskmgmt.msc. All devices currently connected via the USB is listed in the Disk Management Console. Locate your USB drive, right-click on it, and choose "Change Drive Letters and Paths…" from the pop-up menu. In the new dialog that opens ...

  19. How to Assign the Same Drive Letter for USB Drive in Windows

    Launch the Registry Editor ( regedit.exe) Go to the MountedDevices registry branch below: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\MountedDevices Rename the \DosDevices\G: value to \DosDevices\R: Exit the Registry Editor. Next time when you connect the same drive, Windows assigns it the R: drive letter if it's free. USB Drive Letter Manager (USBDLM)

  20. How to Assign or Change Drive Letter in Windows 11?

    Go to "Action > All Tasks > Change Drive Letter and Paths…" menu. Change Drive Letter in Disk Management. On the pop-up that appears, click on "Change…" button. Select Change Button. Click on the dropdown against "Assign the following drive letter:" option. Select your favorite letter and click "OK" button.

  21. Windows Doesn't Automatically Assign Drive Letters

    To assign a drive letter to it, right-click on the partition and select " Change Drive Letter and Path ". In the window that appears, click the " Add " button, select " Assign the following drive letter ", select the letter you want to assign to the drive (for example, H: ) in the drop-down list, and click OK.