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How to change a drive letter in Windows

How to change a drive letter in Windows

One activity you will likely have to perform a few times in Windows is changing the drive letter for an external hard drive, a mapped network drive, or a DVD drive. Sometimes when you insert a USB flash drive, a drive letter is not automatically assigned and may not be displayed on your computer.

In these types of cases, you need to change the drive letter for the device and it will normally open. In this article, I will show you how to change the drive letter for these devices using the GUI and also via the command prompt.

Change drive letter through Disk Management

You can open disk management on a Windows PC by right clicking on the icon Computer or up this PC on the desktop and choosing Manage or by clicking Start and typing in diskmgmt.msc .

You will see a list of volumes at the top and disks and partitions at the bottom. Any partition with a drive letter will be displayed in the white area. If you've connected a USB drive and you see it listed, but it doesn't have a drive letter, you can now assign one.

To assign or change the drive letter for a disk or partition, just right-click on it and select Change letter and paths .

A window will appear with the current drive letter, if there is one, and a couple of options. Here you want to click on Change .

Next, you will choose the new drive letter from the drop-down list. You can choose between letters from A to Z.

This is all. Click OK to close all dialog boxes and the drive should now appear in Windows with the new drive letter. If you have problems with the GUI interface or simply feel more comfortable with the command prompt, read the instructions below on how to use diskpart.

Use DiskPart to assign the drive letter

If you need to change or assign a drive letter via the command prompt, you must use the diskpart command. I wrote a little bit about how to use diskpart, which is really useful for many disk management activities.

To get started, open an administrator command prompt in Windows by clicking Start, typing CMD and then right-clicking and choosing Run as administrator .

Now type the following commands, each followed by the key Submit .

 diskpart list volume select volume x assign letter = x 

Above, you will replace x with the volume number in the list that corresponds to the unit you want to edit and with the letter you want to assign to the unit. Here are the commands I ran for an external USB drive:

You will also notice that under the column Guy, the external units will be displayed as removable . This is a good way to check before selecting a volume. You can also figure out which unit is correct by looking at the size and also looking at the column Info . Volume 0 in my case the system partition, so I wouldn't want to accidentally ruin it.

All in all, a fairly simple process and I hope that no problems arise. There are times, however, when things aren't working properly. Here are some possible reasons.

Troubleshooting Unable to change the drive letter in Windows

One problem I have seen is that the Change drive letter option is simply disabled. This can happen for a few reasons. One of the main reasons is the unformatted volume in FAT or NTFS format. For example, if you connect a disk from a Mac computer, you will not be able to change the drive letter unless you format the drive in a compatible format.

Another reason if the drive is set to read-only. If so, you will need Google to change the drive to allow read / write access.

Also, if you don't need any of the data on the volume in question, a simple solution is to delete the volume, which normally never turns off. Once the volume is deleted, you can right-click it again and create a new simple volume. Now you will be able to change the drive letter.

Make sure you read my other tips on how to hide the drive in Windows and how to map a folder to a drive letter in Windows. If you have any questions, feel free to comment. To enjoy!