How to keep the same drive letter for eSATA backup swap drives

Posted on 2009-02-12
Last Modified: 2013-11-14
I have a couple of 1TB Seagate FreeAgent external hard drives that I want to use as backup drives for backups on an SBS 2008 server. I want to swap the drive each week so that I can keep ony drive off-site at all times for disaster recovery.

Windows 2008 handles the removal and re-attachment of the drives just fine but it always wants to give the drive the next available drive letter. I want to have the same drive letter assigned to each of the eSATA drives when I plug them in so that the backup jobs see the same drive letter for the backup location.

I know I have seen this documented before but I just can't seem to locate it.

Does anyone have any ideas?

Thanks in advance,

Question by:dcadler
    LVL 58

    Expert Comment


    Have you looked in Computer Management > Disk Management and considered 'fixing' the letter of each drive there? When the drive is connected you can right-click on it, choose the option to Change the Drive Letter and then use the tools to Add/Remove a drive letter as required.

    This is the configuration I have at one of my clients, who uses removable USB drives for backup purposes, and it works well.

    LVL 2

    Expert Comment

    Unsure if this is an option in your case - but this suggestion mimics what I have done in the past:
    If you have a RAID option on the machine,  Setup a RAID 1 mirrored array with 2 drives - and simply removing one drive from the mirror every time.  That way drive letters are not a problem, you always have the most recent copy.  And when you stick the next disk in it auto rebuilds.
    As for the auto assignment to the same drive letter - you can try to create a mounted folder on an existing drive that points to that specific drive - when re-attached it *usually* assigns the correct drive letter.
    (ie - on C:\ create a mountpoint for Drive 1, then one for Drive 2 then drive 3 etc. - make sure the mount point is created *when* the correct drive letter has been assigned )  - this doesn't always work.
    There is also a tool that works under vista (probably works under 2008 but I haven't tried it) that helps you retain drive letters - I haven't tried it with eSATA drives - but it works with USB drives - you might want to give it a shot:
    LVL 74

    Accepted Solution

    SBS 2008's Backup will work just fine with you swapping out drives.  There is no reason though to worry about drive letters because there won't be one assigned.

    Please read up on how SBS 2008's backup works, and I think you'll find that it's much less complicated than you are trying to make it.


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