Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums

Will deleting or changing a drive letter mess up a hdd.

  1. #1

    Posts : 26
    Windows 8.1 Professional

    Will deleting or changing a drive letter mess up a hdd.

    Hello Everyone,

    I am trying to get my external hard drives setup from a freshly rebooted installed computer. I recently placed an external hard drive with all my back up files on my computer, but this drive is not going to be my main drive. I have two others I will be using as a main hdd and a backup drive that are brand new.

    So, the question is, if I were to use a utility like the Windows 8.1 disk management feature to either delete the drive letter or even change it to another one, will that mess up the external hard drive or even lose data? Because until I transfer my files to my backup disk I am afraid of losing my only copy of my files.

    Thank you all for your help.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2

    Posts : 1,034
    Windows 7 x64/ Windows 8.1 x64

    Drive mapping will not allow it, so it will render one drive missing from the drive list, or simply refuse to read it right. That is why you do not mess with drive letter assignments unless you know all of the ones that reside on the current system set up. when adding an external drive also.

    Now you have to go into windows, click on start, then in the search box type disk man.
    Click on create or format partitions.

    Let the window open and look at a drive with the letter you assigned to right click on it.

    Change the drive letter and push it to for example J or K.
    Once done restart the pc, and all drives should show and be accessed without trouble or being asked to format them.

    You may have to disconnect the external drive first from the computer first to get windowsto load, but once done plug the external drive in.
    It should show up as a device in disk manager, so if it does change the drive letter that way to J or K. then restart the system and all should show and work.
    It is asking you to format it to assign a new drive letter since two assignments of drive letter D: exist
    Last edited by archer; 06 Dec 2013 at 08:40.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3

    Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts : 6,490
    Windows 10 Education 64 Bit

    Windows will usually assign the drive letters automatically when you plug an external drive into your PC. The drive letters assigned will be from the list of available drive letters for that PC. My external drives will get different drive letters depending on what PC I plug them into. It does not affect what data is on the drive, or erase anything. The only time you can run into problems is when messing around changing the drive letters manually for an internal drive. Even then Windows won't let you change the drive letter for the partition its installed on as that would hose your install and make it not bootable. To make life simple unplug the external drives until you have your internal drives the way you want them. I've swapped drive letters for my internal Data Drive and optical drive with no ill effects. Just don't mess with any system partitions or hidden partitions. Once you have things the way you want plug the external drives back in one at a time and Windows should automatically assign them the next available drive letters.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4

    Posts : 26
    Windows 8.1 Professional

    Hey Guys,

    Thank you very much for your assistance and help. Just to let you guys know I didn't touch anything until I got a response. So, I Will leave it be, but if I get some courage in the future I will give what archer said a try. Thanks again.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

Will deleting or changing a drive letter mess up a hdd.
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