Assigning permanent name to external stoage devices used for backup.

Posted on 2006-06-24
Last Modified: 2010-04-03
This is sort of a twist to previous similar questions concerning assigning a permanent name to external storage devices such as a USB drive.

My setup is:
  1)Small Business Server with a 4 port SATA2 PCIX card
  2)6 SATA2 external, portable disks.  I use one of the disks each day to backup my data.
  3)I use the SBS backup process which points to only 1 destination for all scheduled backups (G:\sbsBackup).
     The destination can be changed, but there can be only 1 destination.

I want to uniquely identify each of the drives with a different name (i.e., eSATAmonday; eSATAtuesday, etc.)
After reading some EE questions/answers, I believe the best way to proceed is to mount the drives within a disk.  This will keep the disk drive names unique but each drive would have its own/separate folder.

Is there a way to have one folder (G:\sbsBackup) and mount 6 drives, each drive with a different name, all to the same folder?
Such as eSATAmonday, eSATAtuesday, eSATAwednesday, etc would all would be mounted to the G:\sbsBackup folder.

Or maybe someone has a better way to allow my daily backup to work without having to change the destination each day when I change the backup disk.

Question by:Slator
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LVL 74

Expert Comment

by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 16976332
I'm not sure that I agree with your premise that the best way to proceed is to mount the drives within a disk.  This would normally be a procedure used to ensure that simultaneously connected USB drives would maintain their assigned Drive Letter.

However, I don't think you are simultaneously attaching these drives... and if you are, you shouldn't be.  Therefore, if your first drive attaches as "G:" when you remove it and then plug in the next day's drive it will get assigned "G:" as well.  So you can just configure the SBS Backup Wizard to backup to G:\

LVL 63

Expert Comment

ID: 16977061
I m not sure that you can map drives to subdirectories anymore.
ALso it may not work with your backup program.

I would consider finding a more sophisticated backup program since the one you have is not sophisticated enough for your needs.

Other option is to check to see if you can change the settings and run the backup via a command line or batch file that can be scheduled using the Task scheduler.

WOrst case, you can probalby use NTBACKUP in command line mode in a batch file , scheduled per day.

I hope this helps !
LVL 92

Expert Comment

ID: 16977637
maybe this can help :
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Author Comment

ID: 16983717
Jeff/Tech So Easy:
If I understand you correctly, this would work as long as:
    1) I use the 1st drive letter available for the backup external disk
    2)I do not have other external drives that could/would be added/removed when there
       is not an external backup disk attached to the server.

Let me think on this for a while.  Maybe I am making too much out of this and should just
assign the responsibility to the backup person of making sure the external backup disk has
the correct drive letter assigned.  I guess what I am worried about is that the drive letter
woould be assigned most of the time correctly which would lead to complacency on the
part of the backup person which would lead to a failed backup.


Author Comment

ID: 16983750

Yes you can mount an attached/external disk drive to a folder.

The NTBackup, command line, batch mode is interesting, but I think I want to stay with the SBS Backup Wizard.
Everyone seems to generally agree that if you use the SBS Backup Wizard, you will [definitely] be able to
restore the SBS system in the event of a failure.


Author Comment

ID: 16983933

Follow-up to my previous response.

I tried a variation of your idea but the server would not assign the same drive letter unless the names of the drives
were all the same.  For example:
      For physical Drive#1:    Drive Name = eSATA01  Drive Letter = W:
      For physical Drive#2:    Drive Name = eSATA02  Drive Letter = W:

      If  Drive#1 is attached to the server as eSATA01 (W:)
      Then removed and replaced with Drive#2 (eSATA02)
      The server assigned the 1st available drive letter (i.e., G:) not W:

      If  Drive#2 (eSATA02) is removed before being [manually] assigned to drive letter W:
      AND Drive#1 (eSATA01) is re-attached to the server
      The server assigns drive letter W:, not the 1st drive letter available (i.e., G:).

      If  Drive#2 (eSATA02) is [manually] assigned to drive letter W:
      Then removed and replaced with Drive#1 (eSATA01)
      The server assigns the 1st available drive letter (i.e., G:), not drive letter W:

Apparently, the server remembers the last drive assigned to a drive letter and will
assign the same drive letter (if available) again when the device is re-attached to the server.

The only way (I think) to avoid this behavior would be to name all the backup dives with
the same label name, but I would like to have unique names for each backup drive.  Refer
to my question: eSATAmonday, etc.
NOTE: The person who will be doing the backup is not the best IT person and I would
          like to make the process as [fool/idiot] proof as possible.


LVL 63

Assisted Solution

SysExpert earned 150 total points
ID: 16989456
The only other option I can think of is to use a batch file that would
1) Delete the Drive W: mapping
2) Recreate it for the new drive attached.

I would post a question in the MSDOS TA for more expert help, since I am not sure how it would be possible to map a drive baed on it's name, although it may be easier to do it based on the known Drive letter.

ie. If G: is Monday, then if g:\ exists, map G: to W:
By going through all seven days, it should map the correctly connected drive and you should be all set.

something like
if exist N: (Echo N is available) ELSE Echo N is not available



I hope this helps !

LVL 74

Accepted Solution

Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy earned 350 total points
ID: 16999650

The server will assign the proper drive letter automatically... but you were messing around with W: ????

It will assign the next available letter... G:  So, don't manually assign any letters... just let it be.

Remove one drive and attach the other... it will take it's place.


Author Comment

ID: 16999968

Your solution is too simple.  That's the only reason I can think of to explain why I made the process of changing backup disk drives so complicated.  For some reason I became fixated on using a drive letter near the end of the alphabet (i.e., W:\).  This meant there would always be several unused drive letters available for assignment by the SBS which were ahead of the W:\ (i.e., G:\).

Now that I have my thinking straight, there is a "perfect" drive letter for me: E:\.  It's currently being used by a [spare] WD USB external drive that can be moved to another drive letter.  Since C:\ is the OpSys, D:\ is the CR-ROM and A:\ or B:\ are not assigned automatically by the SBS, E:\ will always be the 1st available letter when I change the backup disks.  The only issue would be if someone removed the backup disk then waited for several hours to attach the new backup disk an someone else attached another external disk before the new backup disk was attached.  THis should not be a problem.

Thanks again,


Author Comment

ID: 16999983
TechSoEasy & SysExpert:

I am going to split the points TechSoEasy/350 and SysExpert/150.  TechSoEasy actually solved my problem, but SysExpert provided some really good information about making a drive letter assignment permanent.

I hope this is OK with both of you.

Thanks again,
LVL 63

Expert Comment

ID: 17002218
Glad you have a working solution now !

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