Don't you hate it that it is not possible to assign a drive letter to an USB device in Windows using Microsoft tools ? Let me correct that, it is possible to assign drive letters to USB devices under some circumstances using Disk Management. This is however not working for all USB devices.
A far superior solution is to use a software called USB Drive Letter Manager which is highly configurable automatically solving possible conflicts between USB devices and network drives. The reason for such a conflict is that Windows XP assigns the first available drive letter to a device that gets connected without checking first if there is a network share on that drive letter.
USB Drive Letter Manager runs as a service in Windows and loads the configuration every time a device is connected to Windows. You would therefor first download and unzip the software to a location on your hard drive and install the service using the _install.cmd file.
Once the service is running you can stop, start and uninstall it using the files located in the same directory. Edit the file USBDLM_sample.ini afterwards which is the configuration file for the USB Drive Letter Manager. Once you are done editing it you remove the _sample part of the filename and save it into the same directory.
There are lots of ways to configure this file and I would like to show only a few possible scenarios. The excellent help file, available in English and German, explains everything in details.
One possibility would be to assign a range of drive letters to USB devices and / or exclude drive letters who will never be assigned to those devices.
The option above would assign the letters X,Y and Z to USB devices that are connected to the computer.
This would exclude drive letters E,F and G from being assigned to USB Devices. You can naturally increase both by adding more lines like Letter4= and so on.
While this is already helpful it does not assign a drive letter permanently to a specific USB device. To do that you have to tweak the configuration further.
One possibility would be to assign a drive letter to an USB device of a specific size.
;USB drives above 20GB at U:
This would assign the drive letter U to an USB device with at least 20 Gigabytes of storage. Please note that the first line is simply a comment and the second line has to use a unique number between 1 and 99 plus one without a number.
The software checks if each DriveLetters configuration is true or false and will use the first true one.
The best solution to assign a specific USB device to a drive letter would be to use the devices serial number in the configuration. To find out about the serial number you use the script ListUsbDrives_To_Notepad.cmd which is located in the root directory of the application as well.
The script will create a new text file listing all of your devices including your hard drives. Browse to the USB drive and look for the lines Ctrl DevID= or Friendly Name=. You can use both to assign a drive letter to that USB device. This would look like the following:
I don't want to detail more of the options but just name a few that could be useful. It is as well possible to assign drive letters by USB port, Volume Label, drive type, device type, bus type, partition number, existance of a file and letters by active user.
I have not encountered a problem working with USB Drive Letter Manager yet and was able to assign specific drive letters to all of my USB devices. I can help if you encounter problems or have difficulties writing the configuration, just drop me a line in that case then.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.