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Do you run backups to, open files from, or simply use a USB thumb drive? If you do, this guide is for you.

Have you noticed that each time you put your USB thumb drive in your computer, it comes up with a different letter? If you have more than one external drive/camera/portable hard drive then this is likely the case.

This can be frustrating when trying to run backups or opening files in a piece of software to find it can’t find the recent location because the drive letter changed.

Here are the steps you will need to take to assign a permanent drive letter.

NOTE: The instructions are shown here in Vista. I have tested this in XP and the procedure is the same.

? Go to Start > Run (or press “Windows Key+R”)
? Type mmc in the box and hit enter. (Click continue if prompted)

usb drive

? Microsoft Management Console will now open. Select File > New
? Now select File > Add/Remove Snap-in… (or press “Ctrl+M”)
? Select “Disk Management” and click “Add

usb drive

? Select “OK“.
? Select “This computer” and hit “Finish

usb drive

? Now press “OK” on the “Add or Remove snap-ins” screen.
? Now select “Disk Management” from the left menu.

usb drive

? You will now see all of your drives/partitions in the right panel.
? Right click the USB drive you want to assign a permanent letter to and select “Change Drive Letter and Paths…

usb drive

? Click on “Change…

usb drive

? Select a permanent letter (preferably a letter that appears later in the alphabet)
? Click “OK
? It will warn you about making the change – there is little chance programs you use will be affected by this. If they will, you will probably already be aware of this so don’t worry.
? The final step is to select File > Save and save the file in the default directory. Close the Console and you are done.

Test this by ejecting your USB media and putting it back in. It should come up with the new letter you assigned it.

About Rich

Rich is the owner and creator of Windows Guides; he spends his time breaking things on his PC so he can write how-to guides to fix them.

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58 thoughts on “Assign a Permanent Letter to a USB Thumb Drive”

  1. LOC says:

    Tested with Win7 and worked just as explained.  Perfect.  Thanks Rich.

  2. flytandem says:

    instructions worked fine up to “? Right click the USB drive you want to assign a permanent letter to…” At that point I could go no further because there were no usb drives in the list. :(   still stuck with no flash drive showing up when I plug it into the usb port.

  3. Al says:

    Windows 7.  When I did as indicated, the ext. hard drive letter was changed (to E) – no problem.  A few days later, when another usb thumbdrive was present, the ext. HD letter was suddenly F. 
    So I went thru the procedure again – made the Ext HD “E.”  Then tried to permanently assign “G” to the usb thumbdrive.  When I got to your step “The final step is to select File>Save and save the file in the default directory” I noticed there console1 and console 2 as previously saved files (under Admin).
    So my question is: when you say to save it in the default directory, what does that mean?  Can I end up with console 1 and console 2? or save the thumbdrive G in the previously saved Console 1 ?  
    And now, do I try to delete Console1 or console2 or both?
    Really worried I’ve created a monster.   

  4. Dbournot68 says:

    I ‘d like to thank you , and thank you a lot. You helped me solve a headache. I use a 3 TB My Book Essentials external drive for data storage purposes, mainly to storage my music database and .WAV files for use with Virtual DJ, and I got used to reconfigure the drive letter each time I transport my notebook and drive and set up shop at the disco, so Virtual DJ could find the database and indexed files. It was annoying to do that EVERY TIME I disconnected or turned off the noteook or external drive. I sincerely thank you.

  5. Sorin Acela says:

    It DOES NOT work in Windows 7 or 8. The assigned letter will be stolen back by the system when it needs it.

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