How to Prevent Drive Letters from Changing After You Add a Hard Disk or a CD-ROM

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Article ID: 282530 - View products that this article applies to.
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SUMMARY

This article describes how to configure your computer so that drive letters are less likely to change after you add a new hard disk or CD-ROM. When you add a new hard disk or CD-ROM to your computer, the drive letters that are assigned to your drives may be changed. For example, if you are using one hard disk with one partition and one CD-ROM, typically, your hard disk is drive C, and your CD-ROM is drive D. However, if you add a new hard disk, your CD-ROM drive letter may change to E. After a drive letter on your computer changes, programs that are configured to locate information on a specific drive may not work properly, and may need to be reinstalled. Because drive letter changes may create problems, it may be useful to configure your computer so that drive letters are less likely to change after you add a new hard disk or CD-ROM. The following topics are included in this article:
  • Computer Has One Hard Disk and a CD-ROM
  • Computer Has Two or More Hard Disks and a CD-ROM
  • Notes

MORE INFORMATION

IMPORTANT: You should read this article completely before you begin so that you do not miss one or more important steps that must be done in a specific order.

To configure your computer so that drive letters are less likely to change after you add a new hard disk or CD-ROM, use the appropriate method:

Computer Has One Hard Disk and a CD-ROM

If your computer has one hard disk and a CD-ROM:
  1. Install one of the versions of Windows that is listed earlier in this article. For information about how to install an operating system, view the documentation that is included with your operating system.

    IMPORTANT: After you install your operating system, do not install any other programs. Instead, continue to the next step.
  2. Start your computer normally, and then change the CD-ROM drive letter to T:
    1. Click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then double-click System.
    2. Click the Device Manager tab, and then double-click the CD-ROM branch to expand it.
    3. Click your CD-ROM, click Properties, and then click the Settings tab.
    4. Click T in the Start drive letter box, and then click T in the End drive letter box.
    5. Click OK, click Close, and then click Yes when you are prompted to restart your computer.
IMPORTANT: If you add a new hard disk that is set to use an extended partition instead of a primary partition after you use the preceding steps, your drive letters should not change. It is important to note that only the first hard disk in your computer should be set to use a primary partition, and all other hard disks should be set to use an extended partition. For additional information about how to set a hard disk to use a primary partition or an extended partition, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
255867 How to Use Fdisk and Format to Partition/Repartition a Hard Disk
If you want to add a removable media drive such as a CD-ROM, DVD, or CD-RW drive and prevent drive letters from changing, read the "Notes" section of this article before you install any programs.

Computer Has Two or More Hard Disks and a CD-ROM

If your computer has two or more hard disks and a CD-ROM:
  1. Before you install an operating system or any programs, set your first hard disk to use a primary position, and all other hard disks should be set to use an extended partition. After you create partitions on your hard disks, format them.For additional information about how to partition and format a hard disk, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    255867 How to Use Fdisk and Format to Partition/Repartition a Hard Disk
  2. Install one of the versions of Windows that is listed earlier in this article. For information about how to install an operating system, view the documentation that is included with your operating system.

    IMPORTANT: After you install your operating system, do not install any other programs. Instead, continue to the next step.
  3. Start your computer normally, and then change the CD-ROM drive letter to T:
    1. Click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then double-click System.
    2. Click the Device Manager tab, and then double-click the CD-ROM branch to expand it.
    3. Click your CD-ROM, click Properties, and then click the Settings tab.
    4. Click T in the Start drive letter box, and then click T in the End drive letter box.
    5. Click OK, click Close, and then click Yes when you are prompted to restart your computer.
IMPORTANT: If you add a new hard disk that is set to use an extended partition instead of a primary partition after you use the preceding steps, your drive letters should not change. It is important to note that only the first hard disk in your computer should be set to use a primary partition, and all other hard disks should be set to use an extended partition. For additional information about how to set a hard disk to use a primary partition or an extended partition, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
255867 How to Use Fdisk and Format to Partition/Repartition a Hard Disk
If you want to add a removable media drive such as a CD-ROM, DVD, or CD-RW drive and prevent drive letters from changing, read the "Notes" section of this article before you install any programs.

Notes

  • A second, third, or fourth hard disk does not need to have a primary partition. Instead, a second, third, or fourth hard disk can use an extended partition with logical drives in that partition.
  • If you want to add a removable media drive such as a CD-ROM, DVD, or CD-RW drive and prevent drive letters from changing, you must assign (reserve) a drive letter for the device. This process is similar to the process that is listed in step 2 of the "Computer Has One Hard Disk and a CD-ROM" section, except you may have to expand a different branch in Device Manager, and you will use the next letter in the alphabet. For example, if you want to add a DVD to your computer and you have already made your CD-ROM drive T, you would assign the letter U to your DVD drive. It is critical that you assign drive letters to your removable media drives after you install an operating system but before you install any programs. The following types of removable media drives should have an assigned drive letter before you install any programs other than the operating system:
    • CD-ROM
    • CD-RW
    • DVD
    • Zip
    • Jazz
    • Smart Media Card
    IMPORTANT: The main idea is to keep your removable media drive letters towards the end of the alphabet, and to assign drive letters to your removable media drives after you install an operating system but before you install any programs. Also, if you add a removable media drive after you have installed programs, assign a drive letter to the drive before you do anything else. For example, if your CD-ROM is drive T, your DVD is drive U, you have installed some programs and now want to add a CD-RW drive, you should make the CD-RW drive V before you install any new programs.
For additional information about related topics, click the article numbers below to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
271673 Windows Millennium Edition Cleanhd.txt File Contents
255867 How to Use Fdisk and Format to Partition/Repartition a Hard Disk
221829 How to Install Windows 98 on a Computer with No Operating System

Properties

Article ID: 282530 - Last Review: January 29, 2007 - Revision: 1.3
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 98 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 95
Keywords: 
kbhardware kbhowto kbui KB282530

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