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Drive letter assignment; missing drive letter

I have F: mapped to the server. When I insert a thumb drive into USB, it does not initially appear. If I "disconnect" the F: drive, then thumb appears with F: assigned. (A: through E: are already in use with removable drive.) Can I force the thumb drive to be asssigned a higher letter, or does hardware have precedence over a mapped drive?

After I remove the thumb drive, the F: does not appear in the list of available drives to be mapped, so I can't remap to the server. Is there a way to regain access to the F: drive letter?

Thanks!
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willef
Asked:
willef
1 Solution
 
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
With the thumb drive installed, go to Disk Management  (right-click on My Computer; select Manage; then click on Disk Management).   Then right-click from within the thumb drive's display on the right side, and select "Change Drive Letter ...".    Choose an out-of-the-way drive letter that won't interfere with your mapped drives (perhaps "T" for Thumb !).

From now on, whenever you insert the drive, it will be assigned that letter.
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
... you could, alternatively, reassign the mapped drive ==> but I've found it's more reliable to simply keep your removeable USB drives assigned "out of the way" drive letters.
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alextoftCommented:
This occurs because the USB drive is installed by the System user automatically. It knows nothing whatsoever about User drive mappings at all. As gary says, you can reassign the drive letter using disc management. It will remember the drive letter only for that device though. Plug a different one in and you'll have the same problem again.

We have several thousand PC's at work with which we had that exact issue. Students with potentially hundreds of different types of usb sticks, external drives etc etc... Fortunately there's this handy utility which can take care of things for you, give it a few drive letters and USB drives of any make/model will always be assigned the letters you specified.

http://www.uwe-sieber.de/usbdlm_e.html

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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Alex - nice utility; particularly if there are many different devices involved.   Not sure I want yet-another-service running all the time for this; but for a situation such as you've described it does seem like a good solution.    I teach a couple of classes at the local college, and what they've done to avoid this issue is simply map all of the network shares to higher letters -- so the USB devices never conflict.   Bottom line:  there are various ways to skin this cat -- but the key thing is to avoid conflicting drive letters.
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tfjeffCommented:
we've had various discussions about this...usually end up telling people to map their network drive to a different letter as mentioned by gary.  Here is an example:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Operating_Systems/WinXP/Q_21744846.html


"and here's what microsoft has to say about it:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/297694/en-us"

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willefAuthor Commented:
So far so good - I chenged the Thumb to T:.

Now, how do I regain access to the F: letter? If I try to Map Drive, F: is not available in the list of letters.
Thanks!
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FhMoTaCommented:
See if there is an entry and try removing the drive letter that was assigned to it under.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\MountedDevices
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willefAuthor Commented:
Although Gary had a great answer, I meant to split the points to some of the other great answers too! I thought a screen normally popped up to allow for that, after I clicked on "Accept".
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
... just ask a moderator to re-open the question (post a note in Community Support) and then you can close it again with the split you meant to use.
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