How to create and use NTFS mounted drives in Windows XP and in Windows Server 2003

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INTRODUCTION

This article describes how to create a mounted drive by using Disk Management in Microsoft Windows XP and in Microsoft Windows Server 2003.

A mounted drive is a drive that is mapped to an empty folder on a volume that uses the NTFS file system. Mounted drives function as any other drives, but they are assigned drive paths instead of drive letters. When you view a mounted drive in Windows Explorer, it appears as a drive icon in the path in which it is mounted. Because mounted drives are not subject to the 26-drive-letter limit for local drives and mapped network connections, use mounted drives when you want to gain access to more than 26 drives on your computer. For example, if you have a CD-ROM drive with the drive letter E, and an NTFS volume with the drive letter F, mount the CD-ROM drive as F:\CD-ROM. You can then free the drive letter E, and gain access to your CD-ROM drive directly by using F:\CD-ROM.

You can also use mounted drives when you need additional storage space on a volume. If you map a folder on that volume to another volume with available disk space (for example, 2 gigabytes), you extend the storage space of the volume by 2 gigabytes (GB). With mounted drives, you are not limited by the size of the volume in which the folder is created.

Mounted drives make your data more accessible and give you the flexibility to manage data storage based on your work environment and system usage. These are additional examples by which you can use mounted drives:
  • To provide additional disk space for your temporary files, you can make the C:\Temp folder a mounted drive.
  • When space starts to run low on drive C, you can move the My Documents folder to another drive with more available disk space, and then mount it as C:\My Documents.
Use the Disk Management snap-in to mount a drive on a folder on a local volume. The folder in which you mount the drive must be empty, and must be located on a basic or dynamic NTFS volume.

MORE INFORMATION

How to create a mounted drive

To mount a volume:
  1. Click Start, click Run, and then type compmgmt.msc in the Open box.
  2. In the left pane, click Disk Management.
  3. Right-click the partition or volume that you want to mount, and then click Change Drive Letter and Paths.
  4. Click Add.
  5. Click Mount in the following empty NTFS folder (if it is not already selected), and then use one of the following steps:
    • Type the path to an empty folder on an NTFS volume, and then click OK.
    • Click Browse, locate the empty NTFS folder, click OK, and then click OK.
    • If you have not yet created an empty folder, click Browse, click New Folder to create an empty folder on an NTFS volume, type a name for the new folder, click OK, and then click OK.
  6. Quit the Disk Management snap-in.

How to remove a mounted drive

To remove a mounted volume:
  1. Click Start, click Run, and then type compmgmt.msc in the Open box.
  2. In the left pane, click Disk Management.
  3. Right-click the partition or volume that you want to unmount, and then click Change Drive Letter and Paths.
  4. Click the mounted drive path that you want to remove, and then click Remove.
  5. Click Yes when you are prompted to remove the drive path.
  6. Quit the Disk Management snap-in.

Troubleshooting

  • When you attempt to mount a volume on a folder on an NTFS volume, you may receive the following error message:
    The folder you specified is not empty. A volume can be mounted only at an empty folder.
    This message is displayed when the folder in which you want to mount the volume is not empty. To resolve this issue, create a new empty folder in which to mount the volume, or delete the contents of the folder, and then mount the volume.

  • When you attempt to mount a volume on a folder on an NTFS volume, you may receive the following error message:
    The path provided is on a file system that does not support drive paths.
    This message is displayed if the volume is not formatted with the NTFS file system. To resolve this issue, make sure that the volume in which you want to host the mounted drive is an NTFS volume.

REFERENCES

For more information about how to change drive letter assignments, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
307844 How to change drive letter assignments in Windows XP
For more information about how to configure basic disks, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
309000 How to use Disk Management to configure basic disks in Windows XP
For more information about how to configure dynamic disks, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
308424 How to use Disk Management to configure dynamic disks in Windows XP

Properties

Article ID: 307889 - Last Review: October 11, 2007 - Revision: 3.6
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Web Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard x64 Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise x64 Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter x64 Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition for Itanium-based Systems
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition for Itanium-Based Systems
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition (32-Bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 Datacenter Edition (32-Bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard x64 Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise x64 Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 Datacenter x64 Edition
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
Keywords: 
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