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Windows Tip: Assign Permanent Letters to Removable Drives

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 external 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.

Drives Windows

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

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.

1 Run

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 quick access Windows 10 Computer Management

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 display them in the right pane.

Right-click the drive you want to assign a permanent letter to and then choose Change Drive Letter and Paths from the menu.

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3 Change Drive Letter

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.

4 Change Letter

Now, each time you plug that drive into your PC, it will register with the drive letter you gave it. 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.

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6 Responses to Windows Tip: Assign Permanent Letters to Removable Drives

  1. JayM March 31, 2016 at 7:33 am #

    This IS NOT permanent. Windows will still change them randomly. Again I repeat THIS IS NOT PERMANENT

  2. mini April 27, 2016 at 4:41 am #

    this tutorial is rubbish. i have done this many times, windows still changes the drive letter. this is not permament at all!!!

  3. Ilse May 14, 2016 at 5:20 am #

    Same experience as the other two users. I had changed my drive letter for a USB drive through disk management and it was working great for quite some time when suddenly today the drive letter was changed.

    What I did notice is I had my e-reader connected before I turned on the USB drive (which had the letter assigned). Suddenly my e-reader has the assigned letter from the USB drive.

    So… NOT PERMANENT AT ALL unless you turn on your drive with the “permanent letter” first.

  4. Kumar Abhirup May 31, 2016 at 4:52 am #

    Thanx, this helped me a lot.

  5. Delboy September 13, 2016 at 6:21 am #

    Nope. Windows 10 changes it if I plug in a different usb drive first.

  6. David October 8, 2016 at 12:29 am #

    This doesn’t work at all. You can change the drive letter from there, but if you unplug your unit and plug another one, windows will assign the previous letter to the new unit nonetheless. This is so annoying.

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