Windows will assign drive letters to external flash drives, SD cards, and other removable storage devices dynamically as you plug them in. If you use a lot of different external storage devices throughout the day, having different letters assigned each time can become annoying and make things feel unorganized. Here’s how to assign permanent letters to each device to make things easier.
Windows progresses through the alphabet (sans A and B) to assign drive letters to devices as you plug them in. So if you plug in a USB flash drive to get data from it, it might be F: but the next time you plug it in, it might be E: or G: depending on the order you plug them in.
The neat thing is you can assign a permanent letter to a USB drive directly with Windows 7, 8.1, and Windows 10. It’s an easy process, and there’s no need to install any third-party utility.
Assign a Specific Drive Letter in Windows
1. To set this up, plug in the drive that you want to assign a permanent letter. Then open the Run dialog (Windows Key+R) and type: compmgmt.msc and hit Enter or click OK.
Or, right-click the Start button to bring up the hidden quick access menu in Windows 10 or 8.1 and select Computer Management.
2. Once that’s open, choose Disk Management in the left pane under Storage. It will take a few seconds while Windows looks for the drives currently connected to your PC and displays them in the right pane.
3. Right-click the drive you want to assign a permanent letter to and then choose Change Drive Letter and Paths from the menu.
4. A dialog box will open up and here you just need to click the Change button. Then make sure that Assign the following drive letter is selected and choose the letter you want to give it. Click OK and close out of Computer Management.
Now, each time you plug that drive into your PC, it will register with the drive letter you gave it.
microsoft, Windows 10, Windows 7
When assigning your drive letter, make sure to choose a letter toward the end of the alphabet list. For example, X, Y, or Z — otherwise Windows has the tendency to eventually assign a different letter. Also, keep in mind that it will only be the assigned letter on the computer you changed it on. If you take your external drive to a different PC, Windows will give it a different dynamic letter.
Windows assigns drive letters by progressing through the alphabets. Apart from letters A and B, drives are named C, D, etc. You have no doubt seen that the letters for the partitioned drives on your system do not change. If you have a DVD drive, it’s letter doesn’t change either but the same doesn’t hold true for USB drives. Windows assigns the drive letter to a USB drive dynamically so that a drive that was labeled F drive might later be labeled G if another drive(s) is connected. Normally this isn’t a problem unless you need the USB drive to always be assigned specific letter to keep certain paths functional. Here’s how you can assign a permanent drive letter to a USB drive in Windows.
This trick requires no third party apps and will work in Windows 7 and above. You must have your USB drive connected to your system to assign it a permanent drive letter.
Open the Start Menu and type ‘compmgmt.msc’ in the search bar and open the Computer Management window. In the left pane, expand ‘Storage’. Click on Disk Management and wait for the right pane to populate. Select the USB drive you want to assign a permanent letter to, right-click it, and select ‘Change Drive Letter and Paths…’ from the context menu.
In the dialogue box that opens, click change which should open an action box called ‘Change Drive Letter or Path’. Select the drive letter you want to assign it, and click OK to save the changes.
That’s all takes. This should work so long as the USB drive you’re using is 100% compliant with USB standards.