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January 21, 2010

Change the drive letter of an external hard drive

Why would you want to do this? Maybe the drive letter has changed because you’ve added a new drive and your iTunes collection is now broken! The easiest solution is to force Windows to use a particular letter for the drive and it can be done as follows:

Please note: The tutorial requires an administrator account to perform. If you receive any errors, it probably means you don’t have the rights.

Computer Management

Click on the start menu and select control panel (either start->settings->control panel or start->control panel)


Once the control panel has loaded, you need to go to administrative tools and click on Computer Management.

You should see a window like this appear:


Now go to DISK MANAGEMENT, which is under storage. You may need to click on the + symbol if there are no entries under storage. If you receive an error about rights, it means unfortunately your windows account doesn’t have administrator rights and you will need to login using a different user or speak to the person who setup the PC.

If everything went to plan, you should have a screen like the following:

Change the drive letter

On the right hand side, you should see your external hard drive. Right click over it to display the context menu (as below). NOTE: Please make sure you are not changing your system drive or other internal drives as this will cause problems with your machine setup.

The next screen should show the current drive letter, make sure it is highlighted and press change. You should then be given an option to change the drive letter, change this to the one you wanted (for example the original letter). If the letter you require isn’t available, it is probably used by another drive, follow these instructions to change that drive first to another letter and then come back to the drive you need to change.

Once you have selected the letter you want, click on OK and you will receive a warning message saying “Changing the Drive letter of a volume might cause programs….” As long as you haven’t changed your system drive (i.e. C drive), you will be ok to click “YES”. And that’s it. On the screen now, you should see your external hard drive listed with the letter you selected. If you go back into explorer/my computer the external drive should have the new drive letter. Any programs which used the hard drive under the old letter name should now work.


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