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Windows 7: USB Drive Letter

18 Aug 2010   #11
pmokover

Windows 7
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Elwoodch View Post
if you assign manually a drive letter to a USB device, the next time it will be the same letter again.
I sure do wish that were true but it isn't. It may or may not be assigned the same letter next time. Most likely it will be assigned the lowest available letter at the moment. That is even more true if other USB devices have been connected and disconnected in the interim and even more so if one of them happened to get the same letter as the original device in question (while it was disconnected).

Peter


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
18 Aug 2010   #12
FliGi7

XP / Win7 x64 Pro
 
 

I think the problem we're having here is that this defies the logic of how Windows inherently assigns drive letters. Manually assigning an external drive a letter (especially a letter higher in the alphabet that is not likely to be incrementally assigned) should persist across dis/re-connects (and does, from my experience). So, what you're experiencing is hard to understand and diagnose.

You keep using a combination of the phrase "may not necessarily" for the letter being properly re-assigned, so I'm trying to figure out what is leading you to use this phrase. If the letter has not been re-assigned one time out of 30, then it is very unlikely that there is a problem with the system and rather there has been an anomaly between the two times of connection that doesn't happen as a rule and thus we should try to figure out. However, if the drive letter does not get properly reassigned more often than not, then that is a different process of logic to figure it out. So, what in your experiences, specifically, are leading you to say that it doesn't "necessarily" or "may not" get the letter re-assigned properly outside of the commonly known situations of either a drive with the same letter assigned to it was plugged in during the time the other drive was unplugged or the drive letter chosen was D: which could be the first available/assigned letter to any external device and will thus be re-assigned often.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Aug 2010   #13
pmokover

Windows 7
 
 

I'll try to clarify:

When I said "may not necessarily" what I meant is that occasionally it does get reassigned the same drive letter but most of the time it does not. Most of the time when I dis/reconnect it gets assigned the lowest available letter at that moment (which in my case is usually E). I want this particular external drive to always be N.

To further clarify: If I disconnect then reconnect within a minute or so and do not dis/reconnect any other USB devices in that time my external drive almost always does get reassigned the same drive letter. However, if the time from disconnect to reconnect is a few days (rather than a minute) and I have connected and disconnected other USB devices in that time my external drive almost never gets reassigned N. It gets the lowest available letter.

My objective is to have this particular external drive always be N regardless of anything else that has happened on the PC since the last time.

Peter
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

18 Aug 2010   #14
FliGi7

XP / Win7 x64 Pro
 
 

Just to clarify, you have manually set the drive letter for the specific device through both disk management and the registry (rebooting after you set it) and the drive still does not get re-assigned the letter N if it is plugged back in several days later?

Does it get assigned the proper letter when plugged back in if no other devices have been plugged in between? What specific external drive is this that you are assigning a letter to and what other devices are you plugging in between the time you connect this drive?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Aug 2010   #15
pmokover

Windows 7
 
 

I manually change the drive letter to N using Disk Management. I have not changed the drive letter by editing the registry. My understanding is that whether you make the change using Disk Management it just makes the registry change for you.

If I disconnect the external drive (N) and then reconnect it a few days later it almost always gets assigned the then lowest available letter, not N. Occasionally it has been reassigned N but rarely.

The other USB devices that get connected/disconnected on this PC are other external hard drives and flash drives.

Peter
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Aug 2010   #16
FliGi7

XP / Win7 x64 Pro
 
 

I would recommend making the registry change as it may not be safe to assume that change is already being made as there is obviously some problem with this change persisting. So, do that and reboot and see if that works.

Are you using any two similar (or same model) external drives?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Aug 2010   #17
pmokover

Windows 7
 
 

I tried a couple of times a while ago to make the change by editing the registry but the results were no different. There's no reason I can't try it again.

Yes, I have two similar external drives but they are never used at the same time.

I have found that whenever I connect any USB hard drive or flash drive it gets assigned the lowest available available letter at the moment regardless of what letter it had last time.

Peter
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Aug 2010   #18
pmokover

Windows 7
 
 
Solution

First, thanks to everyone who contributed to this thread. Some great feedback here.

For the bebefit of anyone who may find this thread in the future the best solution as of now seems to be a small utility called "USB Drive Letter Manager" which someone mentioned earlier in the thread. I have been testing it on one of my PCs and so far it does exactly what I want. I have assigned a drive letter to each of several USB storage devices (hard drives & flash drives) and when I connect them to the PC they always get the letter I assigned - regardless of what other USB devices have been connected/disconnected in the interim and regardless of what the other drive letters are available at the moment.

Peter
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Aug 2010   #19
FliGi7

XP / Win7 x64 Pro
 
 

If you have two Western Digital WD1600AAJS external drives and are connecting/re-connecting them at different intervals, you may have this problem. Even though they have different serial numbers, I believe Windows only maintains drive letter associations based on the drive model and volume and not the serial. So, two of the same drives could cause issues like this.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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