Drive Letter Assignment For Usb Drives

Faced with such problem: when you connect  any external USB hard disk /  flash drive the system doesn’t assign any letter to it. I. e. the disk appears in the Device Manager, butdoes not appear in Windows Explorer. To make the disk available in the system, a letter has to be assigned to it manually every time in the Disk Management console, that becomes annoying. It seems that some feature of automatic detection of partitions on the external hard disks fails.

How to solve this problem?

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

Or from the command line:

sc query vds

If the service is stopped, start it from the graphical snap-in or this way:

net start vds

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

Note. When the automount is enabled, Windows automatically mounts file systems of new disks connected to the system and assigns disk letters to the partitions. If the automount is disabled, Windows detects new disks, but doesn’t automatically mount them or assign any letters to the new volumes.

Open the command line with the administrator privileges and run the following commands:


Within diskpart, make sure if the automatic mounting of new volumes is enabled:

DISKPART> automount

As we can see, the automatic mounting is disabled. Let’s enable it:

DISKPART> automount enable

Exit diskpart


Note. By the way, automount is also responsible for assigning the same letters to the partitions on the external drive as they were during the previous connection (if these letters are not busy). To clear the saved associations, use the command

Restart your computer and verify if the letters are assigned to the external drives.

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If you use multiple USB drives, you’ve probably noticed that the drive letter can be different each time you plug one in. 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. This can be annoying—especially if you use backup tools or portable apps that prefer to have the same drive letter every time.

To work with drive letters, you’ll use the Disk Management tool built into Windows. In Windows 7, 8, or 10, click Start, type “create and format,” and then click “Create and format hard disk partitions.” Don’t worry. You’re not going to be formatting or creating anything. That’s just the Start menu entry for the Disk Management tool. This procedure works the same in pretty much any version of Windows (though in Windows XP and Vista, you’d need to launch Disk Management through the Administrative Tools item in the Control Panel).

Windows will scan and then display all the drives connected to your PC in the Disk Management window. 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 the “Assign the following drive letter” option is selected and then use the drop-down menu to select a new drive letter. When you’re done, click “OK.”

NOTE: We suggest picking a drive letter between M and Z, because earlier drive letters may still get assigned to drives that don’t always show up in File Explorer—like optical and removable card drives. M through Z are almost never used on most Windows systems.

Windows will display a warning letting you know that some apps might rely on drive letters to run properly. For the most part, you won’t have to worry about this. But if you do have any apps in which you’ve specified another drive letter for this drive, you may need to change them. Click “Yes” to continue.

Back in the main Disk Management window, you should see the new drive letter assigned to the drive. You can now close the Disk Management window.

From now on, when you disconnect and reconnect the drive, that new drive letter should persist. You can also now use fixed paths for that drive in apps—such as back up apps—that may require them.

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