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Windows 7: Drive letters keep changing

09 Dec 2016   #1
Sylveon Fetish

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit SP1
Drive letters keep changing

I am having an issue when plugging in external hard drives where the drive letters keep changing every time I plug it in. It is only certain drives that do this but the number of drives that do this is increasing. Now there is only three or so external hard drives left that still don't do this.

for instance, a drive with the volume label 'Screenshot Converted' has always given I: when plugged in is now the latest to show up as H:. All drives that do this, regardless if F: - L: will randomly but frequently show up as H: and I am constantly going into Computer Management/Disk Management and changing them back to their original drive letter. All these drives have different volume labels so I don't know why Windows is "forgetting" the drive letters. Also this causes all properties, such as "Quick removal" or "performance" to revert to default due to the fact that it is no longer the correct drive letter. H: is only for flash drives

I Googled the problem but only results on how to change the drive letter showed up. There is nothing regarding Windows doing it on its own.

Does anybody know what the problem could be?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Dec 2016   #2

win 8 32 bit

When you connect a drive windows writes a signature so it know what the disk is so either you have cloned the drive or the signature has been written by another system it will only give same drive letter if its free so if it doesnt refresh after having one drive connected it may still think its there and keep the drive letter forcing the other down one
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Dec 2016   #3
Sylveon Fetish

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit SP1

I have done neither. I don't even know how to clone a drive and this is the only computer that these drives have been in and the designated drive letter for each of these drives are free but the problem still happens.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

10 Dec 2016   #4

win 8 32 bit

Check the signatures see if any are the same

How to Check Disk Signature of a disk on Windows

You can check the disk signature through diskpart.exe command.

1. Goto command prompt
2. Type, diskpart and select the disk

DISKPART> select disk 0
Disk 0 is now the selected disk.
DISKPART> detail disk
Disk ID: 90719071
Type : Unknown
Bus : 0
Target : 0
LUN ID : 0
Volume ### Ltr Label Fs Type Size Status Info
---------- --- ----------- ----- ---------- ------- --------- --------
Volume 0 C NTFS Partition 233 GB Healthy System

Disk ID is also called Disk Signature
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Dec 2016   #5

Windows 7 HP x64

Sorry to tell you, but sadly I don't think there's a way to permanently assign a drive letter to a certain drive, it seems that's just how Windows works. First come, first serve. If you have drive with a letter F, unplug it and plug in a USB flash drive, or insert a memory card into a memory card reader, it is likely to mess it up, especially if you use many different drives, it seems as if it just runs out of letters to assign, and tries to re-use them.

It hasn't been much of an issue for me, the drive letter for my external drive doesn't change by itself very often nowadays. Probably because I only constantly plug in the same 3-5 devices.

What I used to do in the past, is assign one of the latter letters that Windows wouldn't even get near to, when assigning letters to drives automatically. e.g. W for my WD Elements, S for my Seagate, etc.

Hope this helps, even a little.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Drive letters keep changing

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