How To Change External Hard Drive and Flash Drive Letters

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Sometimes it is necessary to change the drive letter of an external hard drive or flash drive. This is especially true in earlier operating systems such as Windows XP where an overlap can occur between the E: and F: drive letters if they are mapped to a network drive.

Changing a drive letter can also be a great way to organize a drive by specific categories. In many cases, people will label a “Jobs” drive the J: drive, or a “Music” drive the M: drive. This allows them to quickly remember which drive letter their drives are assigned too when doing transfers or drive selections.

Whatever the reason may be for changing your drive letter, the process is extremely easy to do in Windows 7 using the Disk Management utility. Just remember, you cannot change the drive letter of your primary system drive through the Disk Management utility, only external drives that do not contain system information.


This article illustrates how to change the drive letter of external hard drives and flash drives using the build in Disk Management utility in Windows 7

How To Change External Hard Drive and Flash Drive Letters:

1. Right click on Computer and select Manage.

Step 1

2. Select the Disk Management utility in the left hand navigation.

Step 2

3. Right click on the drive you wish to format and choose Change Drive Letter and Paths…


4. Select the Change… button.


5. Choose a new drive letter from the dropdown (Note: if the drive letter is already in use, it will not be displayed)


6. Select Ok to approve the new drive letter.


7. Confirm the drive letter change by selecting Yes. (Warning: If you’ve installed programs on this drive it is not a good idea to change the drive letter as the program installation will reference the original drive letter the application was installed on).


8. After a few seconds the drive should be remounted with the new letter. The changes should be reflected in your computer as well.



Changing the drive letter is an essential tool to have in your repertoire for organization as well as troubleshooting. It is also a good tip to know if someone else changed the drive letter and you are attempting to troubleshoot why their applications no longer run properly.


Craig Chamberlin

Craig received his degree in Informatics with a cognate in Business from Indiana University: South Bend in 2008. Craig lives with his wife and daughter in South Bend, Indiana near Notre Dame. Craig is currently employed by Precision Electric, Inc. and acts as the chief Information Technology Manager. With a passion for teaching and technology, he founded The PCMichiana Tech Help Show in Fall 2009. His focus is teaching users of all backgrounds how to learn technology while having fun.

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