Assigning Drive Letters

I have my hard drive partitioned into a number of separate "drives" for a number of reasons. Windows NT can see most of these drives and allocates them drive letters sequentially so that the same drive always gets the same drive letter, or so I thought. I had the misfortune on a couple of occasions to have only some of the drives recognised. My E, F, G, H, and I drives were gone and my zip drive and cd rom drive were labelled E and F instead of J and K. Nothing that was on any of the drives that had "disappeared" was accessible from Windows NT.

I tried everything that I could think of to rectify this and ended up wiping the operating system off of the computer and reinstalling it. This took several hours and I eventually had everything up and running again almost the same as before. This was just fine until a couple of reboots later and the drives disappeared again.

This time I figured out the simple solution that I should have used in the first place and got everything back the way I wanted it in just a couple of minutes. I found the option to fix this problem in the Disk Administrator.

To access the disk administrator you must be logged on with administrator access. From the start menu select Programs then Administrative Tools then select the Disk Administrator. All of the partitions on your drive will be shown here both the ones that NT recognises and the ones it doesn't. You can't do anything with the partitions that aren't recognised but in my case half of the ones that were recognised didn't have drive letters.

The first thing that you have to do is to select a partition for which you want to assign or change the drive letter association. In my case I started by changing the drive letters for the zip drive and cd rom drive to what they were supposed to be and then went back and assigned drive letters to all of the "missing" drives.

From the Tools menu select the Assign Drive Letter option and then select the drive letter that you want to assign from the list and click OK. Drive letters that are already assigned will be missing from the list because you can't assign the same drive letter to two different partitions or drives.

These drive letter changes take effect immediately so the missing drives were instantly visible. All that remained to be done was to start the services that needed files on the "missing" drives and I could continue working without even needing to reboot. I really wish I'd thought of doing this before wasting most of a day reinstalling but at least I may have saved you from the same thing.

Of course there is also another use to which you can put this facility and that is to change the ordering of your drive letters from their default sequence to the sequence of your choice. Of course you will not want to do that if you're running multiple operating systems as there is not a similar facility in either Windows 98/ME or OS/2.


This article written by Stephen Chapman, Felgall Pty Ltd.

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