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
The built-in Disk Managemenu utility in Windows is suffice to achieve what we want. No need to rely on third-party tools.
Follow these steps:
- Plug-in your external USB device
- Press Win+R to open the Run dialog, and type in
- 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
- “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.