Assigning a permanent drive letter to an external USB drive, flash drive, or memory stick in Windows

This article provides information about assigning a permanent drive letter to an external USB drive / flash drive / memory stick in Windows Vista (or newer versions).


Article Detail

Note that SyncBackPro/SE/Lite can use the SERIAL and LABEL variables when the drive letter is unknown. See this article for details.

If you'd like Windows to use the same drive letter every time follow these steps:


Plug in the drive that you want to assign a permanent letter. 

- Open the Run dialog (Windows Key+R) and type: compmgmt.msc and hit Enter or click OK

- Expand the item Computer Management (Local) on the left 

- Expand the item Storage then click on the Disk Management item

- When the window fills on the right side, locate your USB drive in the listing on the lower right scrollable box.

- Right-click on the drives box and select Change Drive Letter and Paths...from the pop-up menu

- Here is where you either assign it an unused drive letter or edit the currently assigned drive letter.

- From the Window that appears, you can choose the drive letter to use. Click OK once you've added/changed the drive letter.


Note: if the device you want to allocate a permanent drive letter to currently has that drive letter already, you must assign it a different letter temporarily, close Computer Management, then re-open Computer Management  and re-assign it back to the drive letter you want. It is the act of changing the current drive letter - via Disk Management - that assigns that letter to the device permanently. If you do not make any changes, it will be as if you never accessed the facility at all, and the device will still be dynamically allocated 'next available' drive letter when Windows starts.


You can test the changes by removing the USB device and checking in Windows File Explorer to be sure it is no longer available, then plug it back in and the newly assigned drive letter should now be present (F5 to refresh display).