Change Your Drive's Letter In Vista

In Vista, you can use the Disk Management console to manage the drives on your computer. One of the things you may want to do at some point is change the drive letter assignments. You can assign any letter between C and Z to a hard disk drive while letters A and B are reserved for floppy disk drives.

To access the Disk Management console, right click Computer and select Manage. Under Storage, click Disk Management. The drive configuration of your computer will be displayed in the details pane. You can change the drive letter by right clicking any volume and selecting Change Drive Letter and Paths. Click the Change button and use the drop down arrow to select the drive letter you want to assign to the volume. Click OK. Click Yes to confirm your actions.

Two points you must keep in mind when performing this procedure. You cannot change the drive letter assigned to the boot or system partition using this method. Second, some programs may refer to specific drive letters for environmental variables. Changing the drive letters may result in such programs not functioning correctly.

[tags]diana huggins, windows, microsoft office, drive letter, vista[/tags]

Article Written by

  • Anonymous

    Well, this feature is available from Windows XP. This is not new on Vista. Seems that MS marketing is so good that they put the never used old features as “new” ones in Vista.

  • Eric

    So how do we change the drive letter assigned to the boot or system partition ?

  • http://none Allen

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.
    I just got a new notebook with Vista. Great machine, Vista takes getting used to. I have an external drive that was H and now it is E. I have looked for this answer but not found it. Thanks again.

  • Chris

    My new Vista HP SmartCenter computer runs like a top but when I plugged in an external drive or flashstick, it assumed the E: drive, previously occupied by the CD/DVD ROM. When I disconnect the external, the E: drive now just goes away and disc management says that the CD/DVD ROM can’t connect (of course, since it’s no longer assigned a drive letter). Sytem restoring to an earlier date doesn’t help either. How do I get the computer to recognize the CD/DVD ROM again, and how do I keep this from happening again? When I first brought this problem to the “Geek Squad” they said the optical drive had gone bad on the CD/DVD and got HP to replace the entire computer. The new one developed the same issue (lost CD/DVD ROM) after I plugged in my flashdrive. Just can’t believe it’s 2 bad optical drives in a new computer. Please help. Many thanks. Chris

  • SAN

    Thank you for ur help!

  • Signal

    Yes, this isn’t anything new.

    I’ve always used it in XP to assign my DVD, card readers, and other partition letters. They all tend to get automagically assigned whenever I reinstall.

    One problem with the Vista though is if you have two partitions on your boot drive (C and D lets say) you can not reassign D.

    Even though it isn’t your boot or system partition and there are no page space files on it, you will get the error.

    This didn’t happen in XP.

  • Robert Kennedy

    What happens if I change my drive name but not its letter. For example if drive C: is titled Local (C:) and I change it to Boot (C:) does this effect any programs that use drive C: because of the name change?


  • ants

    Perfect exactly what I was looking for. Thanks

  • http://none Eric Fox Fraschilla

    Hey I used diskpart in vista to shrink my drive 1024mb and convert it to fat and assign a drive letter with the computer management console thanks you your the greatest :-{) mustache lmao

  • Dave

    My new Vista system doesn’t assign a drive letter to the old external drive I plugged in. The drive appears in the disk management window, but the pull down menu does not include “assign/change drive letter”. The drive doesn’t show up in “Computer”, though it shows as working normally in device manager. Any thoughts from anyone? Thanks in advace.

  • J

    Just what I was looking for. Thanx

  • Dennis Rogerson

    The drive letters have dissapeared,I have checked under disk management and they are not in that file,however they show up in Device Manager, with an error CODE 39.
    I did look inside the PC and removed the video card and replaced it,with the same card. I am running Vista ,also I am tole remeving the Video causes this to have an effect with the drives. I have restored to an earlier time ,that was not successful in repairing it.

    Can you help


  • joe

    Great info. I have an external 500 GB HD that has over 300GB of files on it, I just got a replacement internal 1TB drive, and wanted to name the new drive with the “old” external drives letter, so I do not have to go into each program that I use settings and change the destination drive of output files.
    thanks for the info!

  • Felix

    Just the type of answer i was lookin for. I used to update my ipod from the mp3 collection in my ext hard drtive. It was default drive F. all of a sudden it assumed drive g. so the entire collection in itunes got mixed. now to thanks to this.. i can set it back to the old letter. thanks a bunch guys!!

  • flash gordon md

    sadly, in my version of vista home premium, right-clicking “computer” doesn’t give me a management option.

    i hate OS’s that treat me like i’m a 3 year old.

  • mat

    thanks a lot, thanks so much… that helped me a lot :)

  • Donovan

    This article never says that this feature is new to vista. Everything about vista is ddifferent from XP so some ppl require some info to get used to vista. and flash gordon open my computer and on the right side there is a list of folders right click computer there and you will see the option manage.

  • ingo

    Thanks, but can me help somebody for also changing the drive letter of the SYSTEM-VOLUME %SystemRoot%
    I tried different possibilities like HKEY_ or bcdedit etc.
    Im my multibootsystem the current VISTA always names the/her %SystemRoot% = C:
    I´wd like to run my Vista with driveletter D:
    Please help me

  • John

    It worked! I needed to change a drive letter for Ex-HD so I wouldn’t have to reload my iTunes music library. Perfect instruction; easy to follow, and worked first time. I used to visit Lockernome regularly up to a few years ago, but lost touch. Now I’m using Vist 32bit and V. Glad I found you again. Lockergnome has always been the best source for tech info. BTW, FYI, I think Vista is a great system…keep it properly maintained, updated, virus free, backed up, and it works gggrrrrrr88888! Just for the hell of it, I’m going to install Linux on a spare computer that was has been running XP just to see how it works. C U later. Thanks.

  • Luke

    Thanks a million, I have all of my iTunes music stored on an external, and i recently bought a usb jumpdrive and vista reassigned the jump drive (g:) and the external drive which was (g:) was assigned to (h:) and iTunes got all retarded and said it had NO IDEA where my music went. Stupid computers.

  • Disappointed

    I’ve got to ask: has anyone else here seen instances of their computer randomly changing the drive letter of external harddrives and/or thumbdrives when they are plugged in or safely removed? “Baffling” is the nicest word I can use to describe this phenomenon – one of many that have caused much wanted stress and high blood pressure here in the middle of Mid-Term season…

  • p liu

    I have 2 drives that I assigned differently on XP before. Now with Vista, I was able to assign one of them to the old drive letter but the other refused to be changed with “incorrect
    parameter” error. I did some search and tried to eliminate the entry in Regedit to no avail.

    Any solution or any other application that allows me to do the same?


  • A guy

    Thanks for your guide. I use my 80 GB ipod classic as an external Hard-Drive. I have several programs installed on it and all of a sudden the PC changed its drive letter for my ipod rendering all my programs useless. Thx again.

  • Katies

    Hi there,

    Aha, this answers some questions I’ve been having. But still unclear on one bit.

    Running Vista Home Basic. I have two data storage USBs and one dongle. Now my DVD drive has stopped running DVDs, and keeps saying ‘no disk in drive e’. Still runs CDs, though. Have reallocated drive letters, but it’s still not recognising DVDs. Do I need to change drive letters somewhere else apart from in Computer Managment?

    Thanks so much for your help.

  • Nils

    Hey guys,

    What do i do if i follow procedures and the error-msg “The parameter is incorrect” keeps popping up?

    I want to change the letter of one of my external drives and it doesn’t seem to work. It’s just a basic, simple volume that says healthy (primary partition).
    I’ve tried closing down processes which i thought were using the disk (like iTunes) and might interfere, but no succes.
    The funny thing is, it does remove the current letter when i try to change, but then i can’t add another. That first letter stays in the ‘savely remove hardware’-app and comes back to the HD when i turn it back on.

    Does the ‘savely remove hardware’-app cause the problem? If so, how do i turn it off.

    BTW, i’ve done this before with other disks and had no problem at all…

    Thanx for any help on this!

  • Ruish

    Thanks and very helpful!
    There is some problem about vista volume driver and that’s if to insert flash drive in it changes the previous volume of the other driver? It result to error message with could end on blue screen crash. I spent my time on managing even uninstalling some software like Quick Time player etc. still couldn’t manage to get rid of error message. Finally I found your guide very helpful.
    Thanks a lot

  • Niall

    Awesome. you’ve saved me hours of heartache with itunes as i had before. cheers

  • marc van bekkum

    thank you so much!!!!!

  • anne

    perfect. thank you!

  • Ross Hewitt

    Thanks Diana, very simple to follow and very handy….got itunes working again from my external hard drive :)