Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Drive Letters - inadequate and outdated?

  1. #1


    Portsmouth Hants
    Posts : 772
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center

    Drive Letters - inadequate and outdated?


    C:\ is a strange designation for the boot volume of our Windows system, yet however many different Windows systems we boot into on a single machine, most of them decide that this is where they live. A:\ and B:\ are hardly ever used today. A:\ and B:\ were the designated drive letters for the first and second floppy drives on early PCs. C:\ was used for the first hard drive. Macs and Linux just don't use drive letters - surely it is time for Windows systems to stop using them, isn't it?

    Drive letters are such a dinosaurian hangover from the early days of MS-DOS - isn't it about time that Microsoft dumped them? Long filenames have been available to users of Windows for over a decade and a half, why can't we just use the volume name instead of a drive letter?

    It is so easy to use removable media, virtual, network, and cloud-based drives, the 26 letters of the English alphabet are not enough - or are soon not going to be enough for all the data locations we shall need.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Madrid, Spain
    Posts : 228
    Windows 8.1 x64


    We're lucky they didn't change C: for CXZW&$: in Windows 8 in their effort to make things stupidly worse.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Posts : 17
    Windows 8 Consumer Preview


    Yes, it's high time we got rid of drive letters. I found an option to disable them from being displayed in My Computer but they're still there.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4



    The Contemplator
    (1963-2013)
    Doncaster, UK
    Posts : 638
    Windows 8.1 Pro RTM x64


    By convention, C is reserved for use as the identification letter for the drive/partition containing the current running OS. A and B were/are reserved for floppy drives (even though many systems no longer include them). That leaves the rest (D onwards) for other drives/partitions on your system. If MS decide to get rid of drive letters, we would still need a means by which we can identify a drive. I would have thought that, even with just a total of 26 drive IDs available, that this would be enough for most people.

    To cut a long story short, there has always got to be a way in which drives are identifiable, and to me a simple letter is just as good as any.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Germany/Florida
    Posts : 4,514
    Vista and Win7


    It is so easy to use removable media, virtual, network, and cloud-based drives, the 26 letters of the English alphabet are not enough - or are soon not going to be enough for all the data locations we shall need
    We'll use Kanji -
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Posts : 32
    Windows 8 Home 64-bit


    You don't actually need to assign drive letters any more, but whatever.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Portsmouth Hants
    Posts : 772
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center


    With automounting of VHD and ISO files, plus mapped network shares, and multiple USB and hard drives, what happens when your Z: drive is used up?

    Answer: You get couldn't mount... error messages.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Posts : 17
    Windows 8 Consumer Preview


    Quote Originally Posted by Dwarf View Post
    If MS decide to get rid of drive letters, we would still need a means by which we can identify a drive.
    Yeah, I guess we'd have to give them some sort of name.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dwarf View Post
    I would have thought that, even with just a total of 26 drive IDs available, that this would be enough for most people.
    Isn't that what they said about 512KB of RAM?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dwarf View Post
    To cut a long story short, there has always got to be a way in which drives are identifiable, and to me a simple letter is just as good as any.
    Names are more unique (a single letter is limited to 26 possibilities; a text string can be theoretically infinite) and more descriptive.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


    Portsmouth Hants
    Posts : 772
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center


    Since I multiboot, with my system volume being the same as my Windows 7 x64 boot volume, each time when I install a new Windows system on another partition, for example Windows 8 CP, I have to go to diskmgmt.msc or diskpart to reassign a drive letter for Windows 7 x64 because the new installation hides the system volume by not registering a drive letter for the system volume in the registry. My Windows 7 x64 partition is now usually B:\ because I will certainly never have 2 floppy drives attached. I can't use A:\ because just occasionally I attach a USB floppy drive for some retro-computing task. I can't leave it without a drive letter, because I need to transfer files to and from it, and without a drive letter - it remains hidden to the other system.

    Crazy. Drives could be mounted with symlinks to folders, as in 'nixes such as dev\hda1, dev\hda2, dev\fd0, and given aliases as the user desires, even letters a-z with colons in tow if required.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10


    Posts : 11
    Windows 7 Ultimate x64, Windows 8 CP x64


    Quote Originally Posted by Dwarf View Post
    To cut a long story short, there has always got to be a way in which drives are identifiable, and to me a simple letter is just as good as any.
    Well said
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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Drive Letters - inadequate and outdated?
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