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Article ID: 307844 - Last Review: May 22, 2013 - Revision: 5.0

This article was previously published under Q307844

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Summary

This article describes how to assign, to change, or to remove drive letters on a drive, a partition, or a volume by using the Disk Management snap-in in Microsoft Windows XP.

The Disk Management snap-in is an administrative tool for managing hard disks and the volumes or partitions that they contain. Use the Disk Management snap-in when you want to add, to change, or to remove drive letters on drives, on partitions, or on volumes on your computer's hard disks, CD-ROM drives, and other removable media devices.

Your computer can use up to 26 drive letters, from A through Z. Use drive letters C through Z for hard disk drives. Drive letters A and B are reserved for floppy disk drives. However, if your computer does not have a floppy disk drive, you can assign these letters to removable drives.

Before you modify drive-letter assignments, note the following items:
  • Changing the drive letter of the system volume or the boot volume is not a built-in feature of the Disk Management snap-in.
  • Many MS-DOS-based and Microsoft Windows-based programs refer to specific drive letters for environmental or other variables. If you modify the drive letter, these programs may not function correctly.

How to assign a drive letter

To assign a drive letter to a drive, a partition, or a volume, follow these steps:
  1. Log on as Administrator or as a member of the Administrators group.
  2. Click Start, click Control Panel, and then click Performance and Maintenance.

    Note If you do not see Performance and Maintenance, go to step 3. Performance and Maintenance appears in Control Panel only if you use Category view. If you use Classic view, Performance and Maintenance does not appear.
  3. Click Administrative Tools, double-click Computer Management, and then click Disk Management in the left pane.
  4. Right-click the drive, the partition, the logical drive, or the volume that you want to assign a drive letter to, and then click Change Drive Letter and Paths.
  5. Click Add.
  6. Click Assign the following drive letter if it is not already selected, and then either accept the default drive letter or click the drive letter that you want to use.
  7. Click OK.
The drive letter is assigned to the drive, to the partition, or to the volume that you specified, and then that drive letter appears in the appropriate drive, partition, or volume in the Disk Management tool.

How to change a drive letter

To change an existing drive letter on a drive, on a partition, or on a volume, follow these steps:
  1. Log on as Administrator or as a member of the Administrators group.
  2. Click Start, click Control Panel, and then click Performance and Maintenance.
  3. Click Administrative Tools, double-click Computer Management, and then click Disk Management in the left pane.
  4. Right-click the drive, the partition, the logical drive, or the volume that you want to assign a drive letter to, and then click Change Drive Letter and Paths.
  5. Click Change.
  6. Click Assign the following drive letter if it is not already selected, click the drive letter that you want to use, and then click OK.
  7. Click Yes when you are prompted to confirm the drive letter change.
The drive letter of the drive, the partition, or the volume that you specified is changed, and the new drive letter appears in the appropriate drive, partition, or volume in the Disk Management tool.

How to remove a drive letter

To remove an existing drive letter on a drive, on a partition, or on a volume, follow these steps:
  1. Log on as Administrator or as a member of the Administrators group.
  2. Click Start, click Control Panel, and then click Performance and Maintenance.
  3. Click Administrative Tools, double-click Computer Management, and then click Disk Management in the left pane.
  4. Right-click the drive, the partition, the logical drive, or the volume that you want to assign a drive letter to, and then click Change Drive Letter and Paths.
  5. Click Remove.
  6. Click Yes when you are prompted to confirm the removal.
The drive letter is removed from the drive, from the partition, or from the volume that you specified.

Troubleshooting

  • When you try to change an existing drive letter, you receive the following error message:
    The volume volume_label drive_letter is currently in use.
    If you continue, the new drive letter will be assigned; but you can still use the old drive letter to access the volume until you restart your computer. The old drive letter will not be available for assignment until you restart.

    Warning: Changing the drive letter of a volume could cause programs to no longer run.
    This error message may appear if there are files that are in use on the drive, on the partition, or on the volume. These files may be in use by you or by other people on the network. To resolve this issue, use one of the following methods:
    • Click No when you receive the error message. Quit all the programs that are using the files on the volume, and then change the drive letter. To do this, right-click the volume, click Change Drive Letter and Paths, and then click Change.
    • Click Yes to continue with the drive letter change.
  • When you try to remove an existing drive letter, you receive the following error message:
    The volume volume_label drive_letter is currently in use.
    If you continue, the drive letter will be freed; however, it will still be available for use until you restart your computer.

    Warning: Changing the drive letter of a volume could cause programs to no longer run.
    This error message may appear if there are files that are in use on the drive, the partition, or the volume. These files may be in use by you or by other people on the network. To resolve this issue, use one of the following methods:
    • Click No when you receive the error message. Quit all the programs that are using the files on the volume, and then remove the drive letter. To do this, right-click the volume, click Change Drive Letter and Paths, and then click Remove.
    • Click Yes to remove the drive letter the next time that you start your computer.

References

For more information about how to use the Diskpart command-line utility to manage your disks, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
300415  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/300415/ ) A description of the Diskpart command-line utility
For more information about how to create mounted drives, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
307889  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307889/ ) How to create and use NTFS file system-mounted drives in Windows XP
For more information about how to configure basic disks, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
309000  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/309000/ ) How to use Disk Management to configure basic disks in Windows XP
For more information about how to configure dynamic disks, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
308424  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/308424/ ) How to use Disk Management to configure dynamic disks in Windows XP
For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
326683  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/326683/ ) The system partition may be assigned a drive letter other than the one that you expect when you install Windows XP

Applies to
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
Keywords: 
kbacwsurvey kbhowtomaster KB307844
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