Windows 7 doesn't remember drive letter assignments on rotated removable drives

Hi all,

We have 10 removable drives (Addonics Diamond SATA system) which we are using for backup, we are assigning them the same drive letter (P:) as the backup software is set up to write to that drive letter, but each time we swap out a drive and put the next one in, the drive letter defaults back to the next available drive letter, which happens to be E:

This is on a Windows 7 64 bit system. How can we fix this so the drive letter P: on each of the 10 drives is remembered?

Cheers,
Richard
stretchrAsked:
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tygrus2Commented:
Windows may remember if you set the drive to another letter. But you first have to do the same for all 10 and not have two at once. After it has been set for each of the 10 then it should remember the next time you put drive 1 in.
stretchrAuthor Commented:
All 10 drives have been set to the same letter after each was rotated in, but when put in again, the drive letter is not remembered.
DavidPresidentCommented:
The devices you are doing probably have crappy firmware where the bit that identifies the device as a hot swap disk isn't getting set by the firmware, so windows isn't dealing with it properly.

You'll probably have to write a powershell or vbs script to do this automatically, after you check to see if there are any firmware updates.   Lots of ways to do the script, but probably easiest thing is to write a script that tests for disk Q, and if it exists, dismount and remount as P:\

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stretchrAuthor Commented:
The Addonics cradle is attached to an Adaptec AAR-1220SA controller, and the drives have a GPT partition, if any of that helps.
DavidPresidentCommented:
That is the problem with a "cradle".  How could the adaptec controller possibly differentiate between one in a cradle and one that is not in a cradle.   Some controllers  have a configurable parameter to set the hot swap bit.  I have no idea if this particular model does, but it is probably no big deal to go through the BIOS entries and see if there is a hot-swap setting.
stretchrAuthor Commented:
The adaptec is configured as hot-swap, or what we are doing would not be working at all.
DavidPresidentCommented:
Not true.  the O/S will detect new hardware that does not have the hot swap bit.  Example - fibre channel SAN devices.  In any event, there is code you can run to query the offset, but it is moot point, the hardware is what it is.   Only way I know to get around this would be to write a script that just fixes the problem and maps the disk to P if any disk maps to Q.
btdownloads7Commented:
The firmware doesn't matter -- you can't assign the same drive letter to multiple drives. Windows will only remember the last drive that you assigned, and the next one will be assigned automatically. To make sure that I'm right, pick one of the flash drives and assign it to P:, then plug in the next one and assign it to O:. No matter how many times you swa them, they will keep their letter assignments. If you plug any other srive in, it will automatically be assigned the next free letter. Now Get a 3rd drive and assign it to P:. Now, you can swap the 3rd drive (P:) and the 2nd drive (O:) and they will always keep their letters, But if you plug the 1st drive back in, it will be auto-assigned a letter.

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acl-puzzCommented:
Alternative solution (the better solution) would be to mount it as a folder in a partition on your hard disk. You could also use your drive to share files across a network.

Here is how you could set it all up:
1. Plug your USB drive into your computer.
2. Click on the Start menu, then right-click on My Computer and select Manage.
3. When the Computer Management window opens, expand the entry labeled Storage and choose Disk Management.
4. Find the entry for your USB drive, right-click it, and select Change drive letters and paths.
5. Now click on the Add button, and select Mount in the following empty NTFS folder. You will now browse to the directory to which you want to mount the drive. If you haven’t created a directory, you may do so now.
6. When done, you can now remove the drive letter which is automatically assigned to the drive and click OK. Your USB drive now has a permanent home inside your hard drive (C:).

The really nice thing about this tip is that if you ever unplug your USB keychain drive, the folder will still appear inside your hard drive directory, but you will not be able to open it.
stretchrAuthor Commented:
acl:
first of all, it's not a USB drive - it's a hot-swap SATA drive, so it shows up in Windows as a hard drive, not removable.
Secondly, would the mount as folder method mean I can mount each of the 10 drives in the same empty folder on C: such that I just point the backup software to write to that folder and it just writes there, no matter which physical drive is in the cradle at the time?
btdownloads7Commented:
@acl-puzz: your suggestion is in no way different from assigning letters -- you cannot assign the same letter (or the same folder) to more than one drive, and have Windows remember it. So the original problem will remain, wchich is whenever the next flash drive is plugged in, it will be auto-assigned a lettter, and not the folder that was created.
stretchrAuthor Commented:
it's too much bother trying to write a script, so thinking of just reconfiguring the backup software to write to E: which is the next generally available drive letter,and which is what each removable drive defaults to when it gets dropped in.
stretchrAuthor Commented:
No workable solution provided in full. Advice given was used to come to a different conclusion.
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