More drive-naming secrets

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More drive-naming secrets
Rick Heckbert

Reader Rich Heckbert provides some more elucidation about drive letters and so forth.


One area the tip about Drive-naming secrets failed to cover is what happens when there are two physical drives present in a system.

Having two or more drives, all with extended partitions, can be very confusing as the drive letters seem to jump back and forth almost at random.

Hopefully, this tip will clear it up.

In the case of two or more drives, the first partition on the first drive will be assigned the letter C. The first partition on the second drive will then be assigned the letter D (and E: and F: if there are more than two drives present). The system then assigns drive letters to the extended partitions, starting with the first drive. Once all the BIOS controlled drives are assigned letters, the system then starts assigning letters to driver-controlled devices such as CD-ROMS, ZIP Drives, SCSI Devices, Tape Drives, etc.
This table summarizes what happens:

First partition primary drive				C:		
First partition second drive 				D:
Primary drive extended partition first volume		E:
Primary drive extended partition second volume		F:
Second drive extended partition first volume		G:
Second drive extended partition second volume		H:
CD-ROM drive						I:

Thanks, Rick. We got a lot of feedback on that tip, and we'll provide more of it in future tips.

To get the info straight from the horse's mouth on how Windows 2000 assigns drive letters, click on this link.

Did you like this tip? If so (or not) why not let us know? Send an email to us with your comments, or submit a tip of your own.


This was first published in January 2001

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