How to assign a USB drive the same letter

We have two seperate near identical external USB drives.

We need to be able to make it so that when these are plugged in they both become drive letter Z.

Currently they both grab different letters.

Does anyone know how we can achieve that?

Thanks,

tppltdAsked:
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RDAdamsCommented:
Do you mean plugged in at the same time?  I don't think the system can allow it.  

You may be able to custom write software to achieve it but I am not sure where you would start.
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LotokCommented:
if you goto disk management and assign the letter does it not retain it?
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LotokCommented:
Just tested it and it retains the letter aftrer disconnected/reconnected.
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z3r3Commented:
Unfortunately you can only force the same drive to be at the same location and not both to the same location (well at least you can't do it reliably with out purchasing software to do it).

You have one of 2 options. Either force a user to run a script or you do it as part of a script that is auotmated to subst the drive letter for another drive.

e.g.
set drive 1 to connect as y:
set drive 2 to connect a x:
have a script to:
subst z: x:\
if %error_level%=0 goto :end
subst z: y:\
:end

or what i do as use this sort of method for backups is set my drives as N and O then I use software encrypton from TrueCrypt to create a virtual drive on each usb hard drive. In a script I attempt to mount the file on both n and o as drive p. I know one will fail but either way i get my drive p up and then run the backup to drive p with ntbackup. I've had this working this way for months without hassles.




@echo off
 
echo "Dismounting secure drive..."
sleep 10
"c:\program files\truecrypt\truecrypt.exe" /q /dp /s
 
echo "Mounting secure drive (O or N)..."
"c:\program files\truecrypt\truecrypt.exe" /q /v o:\backup_volume.tc /p mypassword /lp /s /m rm
"c:\program files\truecrypt\truecrypt.exe" /q /v n:\backup_volume.tc /p mypassword /lp /s /m rm
sleep 10
echo "Mounted. Backup in progress. Please leave window open till dismount occurs!"
 
C:\WINDOWS\system32\ntbackup.exe backup "@C:\data\Full_Backup_To_HDD.bks" /v:no /r:no /rs:no /hc:off /m copy /j "Full_Backup" /l:s /f "P:\Full_Backup.bkf"
 
echo "Dismounting secure drive..."
sleep 10
"c:\program files\truecrypt\truecrypt.exe" /q /dp /s
 
echo "Done!"

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tppltdAuthor Commented:
Thanks for all of the assistance, Can anyone recommend another application that I can do this with?

Ideally open source / freeware.

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RDAdamsCommented:
So you are looking to combine the two drives as one basically?

This is usually done on servers as a RAID configuration.  You can get USB RAID devices that combine the drives in the box as one file space.  http://www.wdmybook.com/en/editions/
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RDAdamsCommented:
http://www.cooldrives.com/qudrusb20rad.html

Do a google search for usb raid 5  There are a lot of options.
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SunBowCommented:
What purpose? I agree with 1st comment RDAdams, where you have two separate drives, and you have two separate filesystems, you do must refer to them uniquely, so they cannot retain same drive letter. Suppose each had a file of same name such a "file.txt", which one will you be editing it both are together, the oldest? no, that only works for other OS. Suppose you use each drive first on another computer, one of you brother, and other of sister, to backup their email or something. Now you attach both to computer at same time, how will you distinguish files of one person from files of another person?

They got some cheap terabyte drives now, maybe it is time to upgrade? What is purpose here?
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z3r3Commented:
Can you please explain why you need both drives to keep the same drive letter i.e. you are running a script or application? Also can you let us know if this is for 1 PC or something for many PCs?

Why I'm asking is my solution above works fine for scripting i.e. automation of backup and other tasks and is fully free, one option uses the builtin OS and the other uses opensource/freeware.

Should you be interacting with users i.e. you plug in drive and the Windows brings up the normal dialog asking users to perform some task i.e. open explorer or take an action. Then you can add a script to that window which you run to automate the setting of the drive location. Pre XP SP2 you could automate the running of script but since SP2 you need the user to choose the option.

With a bit more info I'll be able to assist you further.
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tppltdAuthor Commented:
Basically we need to run a once weekly backup on 1 machine.

This will be a rotation of two USB drives using symantec Backup exec system recovery.

When we connect the drives we need them both to take the same letter (they will never both be connected at the same time)

This is because of the path which the backup uses is not easily changed and we would ideally like something straightforward for the person completing this.
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z3r3Commented:
Ok, that is exactly what we do except we use ntbackup and do backups nightly with everything automated using the script I gave you above. The reason for encryption is twofold -  it protects the data as it moves offsite and two it keeps the drive letters consistent for us. Using an old server we get 16gigs/hr using the std encryption.

If it is a manual backup then just make a link to the script either batch script (subst / truecrypt) which does the letter assignment and then runs the backup application.

Is the above solution not suitable? If not what did you have in mind?
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tppltdAuthor Commented:
I will try this today and let you know the outcome.

Thanks,
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z3r3Commented:
Great, if you run into any hassles let me know. Remember to assign each USB drive to a consistent known drive letters that won't be used for anything else, including network shares!! Otherwise the scripting part won't work.
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