This article tells what drive letter is and how to deal with multiple drive letter chaos problem.

Drive letter is identifier of disk storage device in DOS and WINDOWS systems. Drive letter is usually indentified by 26 English characters plus colon “:”. The early PC is generally installed with two floppy drives due to historical reasons, so “A:” and “B:” are used to stand for floppy drive. Size of early floppy drive includes 8 inch, 5 inch, 3.5 inch and so on. English letter used to refer to hard disk partition starts from letter C: to letter Z:.

For UNIX and LINUX systems, there is no concept of drive letter, but the concepts of directory and path are the same with DOS and WINDOWS systems.

1.Resolve Drive Letter Chaos

The phenomenon of dive letter chaos may appear after you finished the following operations: converting partition format, upgrading computer, using virtual drive, installing several hard drives and so on. What should you do to deal with this phenomenon? I believe the following methods provided in this article will help you a lot.

Shielding Hard Disk

After you determine master disk and slave disk between two disks and connect them correctly, you can start your computer and enter BIOS setup. You can shield the slave disk by setting slave parameter item to “NONE” in “Standard CMOS Features” option. Then you may set the master disk as bootable hard disk in “Advanced BIOS Features” and save settings before you restart your computer.

In this way, hard disk drive letter will be arranged according to master-salve disk partition sequence. The disadvantage of this way is that the slave disk can only be correctly used under Windows, but it can’t be recognized in pure DOS mode.


After you set master-slave relationship between two hard disks and connect them correctly, you can divide the whole slave disk into logical partitions with the help of a piece of partition software. Then drive letter of the slave disk will rank behind that of master disk in order.

Win 9x

Using Letter Assigner

Using Letter Assigner can specify any hard drive letter. After Letter Assigner is launched, the 26 English letters from “A ~ Z” are listed at the bottom of the tool bar. Among them, yellow characters means that they are currently available while gray characters means that they can’t be chosen currently. You may select the drive letter you want to modify in main interface and choose a new drive letter from the drive letter column.

Then you can perform saving file command and restart computer. During the operating process, if you want to discard the changes, you can perform editing and restoring original drive letter operation or press “Ctrl + Z“. In general, system drive letter can’t be changed, or it may cause system boot error. When you modify system drive letter, Letter Assigner will pop up a prompt window.

System Setting Method

In Windows 2000/XP/2003

It’s easy to modify the disordered drive letters in Windows 2000/XP/2003 by using the system built-in “Disk Management” program. You can click “Start – Run” and enter “diskmgmt.msc” to start “Disk Management“. Then let’s try to modify drive letter together.

change drive letter Windows 2000/XP/2003

Step 1, as the above image shows, you should right click the hard drive whose drive letter needs modifying. Then you should choose “Change Drive Letter and Paths” option. You should notice that when you change drive letter of the hard drive, system disk drive letter can’t be changed and is not allowed to be modified arbitrarily. Or the system can’t boot.

change drive letter and path

Step 2, you can press “Change” in the pop-up “Change Drive Letter and Paths” dialog box. In the next window, you should specify a new drive letter for this hard drive.

Note: If the drive letter you want to specify is occupied by another disk partition, you can modify that disk partition which occupies the letter and specify another drive letter to it in order to release the drive letter occupied by the partition.

In Windows 9X/Me

In Windows 9X/Me, generally you can adjust hard disk drive letter by setting master-salve jumper of hard disk and BIOS or using third party tool, Letter Assigner. We only need to click the certain disk partition that we want to change in the program and specify drive letter in toolbar.

After you finish adjusting, you should press “File – Save” to store the settings. And then you should restart computer. You should notice that Letter Assigner can’t achieve modifying Windows system partition. When you perform improper adjustment, Letter Assigner will pop up warning message to remind you.

At this time, you shouldn’t continue changing drive letter. If you use virtual hard disk (VHD), Letter Assigner allows you to specify virtual hard disk drive letter in the way of identifying disk partition label “MS-RAMDRIVE“.

Note: In all common Windows systems, you can use the “Change Drive Letter” function in MiniTool Partition Wizard to add a new drive letter to a partition easily.

Using Partition Magic

Using Partition Magic can realize repartitioning hard disk, formatting hard disk, copying partition and other operations. The operating method is as follows:

You should run Partition Magic and right click the partition whose drive letter will be changed. You should choose “Advanced – Change Drive Letter and Paths” and then choose a new drive letter in the pop-up “Change Drive Letter and Paths” window. Then you may click “OK” button and select “General – Apply” command. Finally, you should restart computer according to the prompts.

Other Methods

(1)Windows 2000/XP

Generally, there is no drive letter chaos problem in Windows 2000/XP, but the premise is that only one hard disk is installed when you install Windows 2000/XP. The second disk should be installed after finishing installing Windows 2000/XP. If you install Windows 2000/XP after adding a second hard disk, then drive letter chaos problem will still appear. What’s worse, it’s permanent. Even if you remove the second hard disk, this problem can’t be solved.

However, we can enter “Control Panel – Administrative Tools – Computer Management” window and select “Disk Management” under “Computer Management“. Then you can right click the appropriate partition and perform “Change Drive Letter and Paths” command. You should click “Change” button and re-assign a drive letter. Then you can repeat this command on other partitions.

(2)Windows 9x/Me

There is a simple way to solve drive letter chaos problem in Windows 9x/Me. You just need to set the first disk to “User” or “Auto” and set the second disk to “NONE” in BIOS setup program. In this way, although BIOS can’t identify this hard disk, Plug and Play feature in Windows 9x/Me can automatically detect the second hard disk and assign drive letter. The drive letter chaos phenomenon doesn’t exist any longer. Of course, the second hard disk can’t be seen in pure DOS mode.

(3)Format Disk

You can select “Change current fixed disk drive” option when you perform Fdisk command to partition. Next, select the second disk and delete all partitions on it. Then you should choose “Create Extended DOS Partition” to assign all space to extended partition. You should partition again, that’s to say, you should create extended partition rather than primary partition. Finally, you can format the partition.

Setting Property Method

In Windows 98/Me OS, when you use virtual drive software, it’s easy to cause physical drive letter chaos and affect normal operation of some CD-ROM programs. In view of this, we suggest that you should modify the physical dive letter according to the following setting property method.

First, you should open Control Panel in Windows system and double click “System” icon. In pop-up “System Properties” interface, you should click “Hardware” and then click “Device Manager” option. Next, you should open “DVD/CD-ROM drives” item. Then you should choose the physical drive on which drive letter is disordered. Next, you can right click this physical drive and perform “Properties” command in the pop-up shortcut menu.

In the pop-up property setting page, you may specify “Start drive letter” in “Reserved drive letter” setting item as the original drive letter used by the physical drive. After finishing the above settings, you should click “OK” to exit property setting interface. The physical drive letter will not be disordered after you restart your computer.

2.Drive Letter Missing

Drive letter missing phenomenon appears because computer installed with Windows 98 OS needs drive program. You can find that computer system in multimedia classroom is Windows XP, but this system doesn’t need USB flash disk to drive program. Then you may open “My Computer” and find there is no USB flash disk drive letter in it. The problem is still not solved though you replace the USB interface. If you carefully observe, you can find out that although there is no USB flash disk drive letter in “Explorer”, there is the hardware identification in system tray.

Therefore, we enter USB flash disk drive letter in the address bar of “Explorer” window. After pressing “Enter“, a dialog box pops up to inform us that the operation has been canceled due to restrictions on computer and we need to contact the administrator. Is this drive letter restricted?

Solving method: you should right click “My Computer” and select “Manage” in the pop-up shortcut menu. After entering “Computer Management” window, you should open “Storage/Removable Storage” and then click “Disk Management“. You will see that the state of USB flash disk is “Healthy” at the right side of Window. This indicates that there is no problem with USB flash disk. You may right click USB flash disk drive letter in the window, choose “Change Drive Letter and Paths” in the shortcut menu. Then you should click “Change” button in the appeared dialog box and select an unused drive letter for USB flash disk.

You can exit “Computer Management” interface after clicking “OK“. When you restart your computer, USB flash disk drive letter appears again. And the problem is solved successfully.

  • linkedin
  • reddit