How to remove drive letters in Windows

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 13, 2018

Windows assigns drive letters to internal and external hard drives, optical drives, Flash memory cards and other devices automatically when it recognizes them.

The main reason for that is that it allows users of the system to interact with the devices directly; it would certainly be inconvenient if users had to assign drive letters to new devices manually, or even each time devices get connected.

Sometimes, however, you may not want drive letters assigned to devices automatically or at all. A common scenario is a partition of a different operating system that you don't want to access; another, that encrypted drives or partitions don't require a drive letter until they are mounted as you can't interact with the unmounted drives.

Remove drive letters using Disk Management

windows disk management

All versions and editions of Windows include the Disk Management tool. Disk Management is the primary tool of the Windows operating system for managing drives and other storage devices. It provides options to add, change or remove drive letters, shrink or extend volumes, or attach virtual hard drives.

Windows supports quite a few ways to launch the Disk Management tool; the most convenient options in my opinion are the following two:

  1. Use Windows-R to open the runbox, type diskmgmt.msc and hit the Enter-key on the keyboard.
  2. Use the Windows-X menu and select Disk Management. (Windows 8 and newer only)

The Disk Management interface may take a moment to load. It lists all available volumes and disks in its interface on start, and you may interact with the volume listing or the visual representation of each disk.

I find it easier to work with the disk list in the lower half of the Disk Management interface, but any action available there is also available in the volume listing.

Disk Management lists disks, partitions, and drive letters. It is easy to spot partitions with drive letters and those without.

To interact with a partition right-click on it in the Disk Management interface.

disk management

A right-click displays the context menu. You may use it to execute all supported operations; select "change drive letter and paths..." in this case to remove the drive letter from the partition.

Disk Management lists assigned drive letters of the volume in a new window when you select the option. The interface lists options to add, change or remove the drive letter.

To remove it, select it and then the remove button to execute the action.

remove drive letter

Disk Management displays a warning prompt when you select remove:

Some programs that rely on drive letters might not run correctly. Are you sure you want to remove this drive letter?

Removal is not an issue if the volume is not used but it may cause issues if it is used by programs, for instance for data storage. Select yes to continue with the execution or no to cancel it.

Disk Management closes the prompt automatically and visualizes the change in its interface. If you selected remove, the drive letter should no longer be attached to the volume. The change is reflected in Explorer and other file browsers as well.

You may add drive letters to volumes using the same step by step guide. The only difference is that you need to select add and pick one of the available drive letters.

Removing drive letters using the command prompt

mountvol command prompt

You need elevated rights to remove a drive letter using the command prompt:

  1. Tap on the Windows-key to display the Start Menu.
  2. Type cmd.exe, hold down the Shift-key and Ctrl-key, and select the item from the list of results.
  3. Confirm the UAC prompt.

You can use the command mountvol to interact with volumes. A good starting point is the command mountvol /? which lists all supported parameters and all volumes similar to the listing that you get when you run the Disk Management interface.

Use the /D parameter to remove a drive letter from the selected volume. The command mountvol d: /D removes the drive letter from volume D:

Use the command mountvol d: VolumeName To reassign a drive letter. VolumeName begins with \\ and all available volumes are listed when you run mountvol /?.

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How to remove drive letters in Windows
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How to remove drive letters in Windows
Windows assigns drive letters to internal and external hard drives, optical drives, Flash memory cards and other devices automatically when it recognizes them.
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  1. Dan Donx said on January 15, 2023 at 10:29 am

    What mental age of reader are you targeting with the first sentence? 10?

    Why not write an article on how to *avoid* upgrading from W10 to W11. Analogous to those like me who avoided upgrading from 7 to 10 for as long as possible.

    If your paymaster Microsoft permits it, of course.

  2. Dexter said on January 15, 2023 at 11:14 am

    5. Rufus
    6. Ventoy

    PS. I hate reading these “SEO optimized” articles.

    1. cdr said on January 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      I used Rufus to create an installer for a 6th gen intel i5 that had MBR. It upgraded using Setup. No issues except for Win 11 always prompting me to replace my local account. Still using Win 10 Pro on all my other PCs to avoid the bullying.

  3. sv said on January 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    bit pointless to upgrade for the sake of upgrading as you never know when you’ll get locked out because ms might suddenly not provide updates to unsupported systems.

    ps…. time travelling?
    written. Jan 15, 2023
    Updated • Jan 13, 2023

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2023 at 5:49 am

      This happens when you schedule a post in WordPress and update it before setting the publication date.

  4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2023 at 8:24 am

    Anyone willing to downgrade to this awful OS must like inflicting themselves with harm.

  5. basingstoke said on January 16, 2023 at 11:18 am

    I have become convinced now that anybody who has no qualms with using Windows 11/10 must fit into one of the following brackets:

    1) Too young to remember a time before W10 and W11 (doesn’t know better)

    2) Wants to play the latest games on their PC above anything else (or deeply needs some software which already dropped W7 support)

    3) Doesn’t know too much about how computers work, worried that they’d be absolutely lost and in trouble without the “”latest security””

    4) Microsoft apologist that tries to justify that the latest “features” and “changes” are actually a good thing, that improve Windows

    5) Uses their computer to do a bare minimum of like 3 different things, browse web, check emails, etc, so really doesn’t fuss

    Obviously that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s also the category that:

    6) Actually liked W7 more than 10, and held out as long as possible before switching, begrudgingly uses 10 now

    Have I missed any group off this list?

    1. Heinz Strunk said on September 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      You have missed in this group just about any professional user that uses business software like CAD programs or ERP Programs which are 99% of all professional users from this list.

      Linux doesn’t help anyone who is not a linux kid and apple is just a fancy facebook machine.

  6. ilev said on August 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Microsoft has removed KB5029351 update

    1. EP said on August 24, 2023 at 9:21 pm

      only from windows update though
      KB5029351 is still available from the ms update catalog site

  7. Anonymous said on August 24, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    1. This update is labaled as PREVIEW if it causes issues to unintelligent people, then they shouldn’t have allowed Preview updates ot install.

    2. I have installed it in a 11 years old computer, and no problems at all.

    3. Making a big drama over a bluescreen for an updated labeled as preview is ridiculous.

    This is probably another BS internet drama where people ran programs and scripts that modified the registry until they broke Windows, just for removing stuff that they weren’t even using just for the sake of it.
    Maybe people should stop playing geeks and actually either use Windows 10 or Windows 11, but don’t try to modify things just for the sake of it.

    Sometimes removing or stopping things (like defender is a perfect example) only need intelligence, not scripts or 3rd party programs that might mess with windows.

  8. john said on August 24, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Windows 11 was a pointless release, it was just created because some of the Windows team wanted to boost sales with some sort of new and improved Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft cannot support one version well let alone two.

    1. John G. said on August 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm

      Windows 11 is the worst ugly shame by Microsoft ever. They should release with every new W11 version a complete free version of Starallback inside just to make this sh** OS functionally again.

  9. EP said on August 25, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released a statement regarding the “unsupported processor” blue screen error for their boards using Intel 600/700 series chipsets & to avoid the KB5029351 Win11 update:–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–Error-Message-of-Windows-11-Update-KB5029351-Preview-142215

  10. EP said on August 29, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    check out the following recent articles:

    Neowin – Microsoft puts little blame on its Windows update after UNSUPPORTED PROCESSOR BSOD bug:

    BleepingComputer – Microsoft blames ‘unsupported processor’ blue screens on OEM vendors:

  11. Leonard Britvolli said on August 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    While there may be changes or updates to the Windows 10 Store for Business and Education in the future, it is premature to conclude that it will be discontinued based solely on rumors.

  12. sembrador said on September 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    My advice, I left win 15 years ago. Now I’m a happy linux user (linuxmint) but there is Centos, Fedora, Ubuntu depending on your needs.

  13. EP said on September 6, 2023 at 11:55 am

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released new BIOS/firmware updates for their Intel 600 & 700 series motherboards to fix the “UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR” problem (Sept. 6):–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–caused-BSOD-on-MSI-s-Intel-700-and-600-Series-Motherboards-142277

  14. Raphael Benzo said on September 24, 2023 at 9:52 pm

    I try to disable the Diagnostics Tracking Service (Connected Devices Platform User Services) but it wont let me disable it, any help will be greatly appreciated.
    Tank you for your help

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