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Solved Unable to change drive letter


skyzoomer

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#1
A friend is running Windows 8.1. Her external USB hard drive used to be assigned the letter "E". She says that for an unknown reason, that USB hard drive is now assigned the letter "J" but she would like to have it back to the letter "E".

I opened Disk Management and tried to change the drive letter from J to E. When I click the drop down arrowhead, the letter "E" is available so I select it and click OK. Win8.1 then says the drive letter E is mapped to a network or local drive.

When I look at all of the drive letters in Disk Management, the letter "E" is not assigned to anything. Plus the fact that the letter "E" is in the drop down list of available drive letters.

Anyone know why this is happening and how to solve the problem?
 

My Computer

System One

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    Windows 8
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Dell Studio 1537
    CPU
    core 2 duo
    Memory
    4GB

Brink

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mvp
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#2

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skyzoomer

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#3

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Dell Studio 1537
    CPU
    core 2 duo
    Memory
    4GB

Brink

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mvp
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#4
:thumbsup:
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    64-bit Windows 10
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Custom self built
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K OC'd to 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
    Memory
    16 GB (8GBx2) G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    3 x 27" Asus VE278Q
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    250GB Samsung 960 EVO M.2,
    256GB OCZ Vector,
    6TB WD Black WD6001FZWX
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    OCZ Series Gold OCZZ1000M 1000W
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    Thermaltake Core P3
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    Corsair Hydro H115i
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    Logitech wireless K800
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    Logitech MX Master
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    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    Linksys EA9500 router,
    Arris SB8200 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Lumia 1520 phone

skyzoomer

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#5
Hello skyzoomer,

You might see if you may be able to use an option in the tutorial below to change the drive letter. :)

Drive Letter - Add, Change, or Remove in Windows - Windows 7 Help Forums
Hi Brink,

Helpful as always. I'll try the options in the link you provided the next time I have access to my friend's PC. Will post the results.

Thanks,
Skyzoomer

Tried the options in the link:

OPTION 1: Disk Management
Does not show the drive letter E anywhere.

OPTION 2: Regedit
Does not show the drive letter E for any of the listed DosDevices.

OPTION 3: Elevated command prompt
Diskpart "list volume" does not show the letter E.
The USB external drive that was assigned the letter E before, is currently assigned the letter J as volume 10. So I did a "select volume 10" and volume 10 was selected. I typed "assign letter=E" and got the following error message:

Virtual disk service error:
The specified drive letter is not free to be assigned.

ADDITIONAL INFO:
Looking in Win8.1's computer, there is a local drive with the letter E. When I click on it, an error message pops up as follows:

E:\ is not accessible.
The volume does not contain a recognized file system.
Please make sure that all required file system drivers are loaded and that the volume is not corrupted.

Any ideas?
Thanks,
Skyzoomer
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Dell Studio 1537
    CPU
    core 2 duo
    Memory
    4GB

Brink

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mvp
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#6
Are you able to change the drive letter from J to E in the registry? It doesn't matter if there's not an E listed before doing so.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    64-bit Windows 10
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Custom self built
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K OC'd to 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
    Memory
    16 GB (8GBx2) G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    3 x 27" Asus VE278Q
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    250GB Samsung 960 EVO M.2,
    256GB OCZ Vector,
    6TB WD Black WD6001FZWX
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    OCZ Series Gold OCZZ1000M 1000W
    Case
    Thermaltake Core P3
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master
    Internet Speed
    1 Gb/s Download and 35 Mb/s Upload
    Browser
    Internet Explorer 11
    Antivirus
    Malwarebyte Anti-Malware Premium
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    Linksys EA9500 router,
    Arris SB8200 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Lumia 1520 phone

skyzoomer

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Posts
40
#7
Are you able to change the drive letter from J to E in the registry? It doesn't matter if there's not an E listed before doing so.
I will try that the next time I have access to my friend's PC. I think it will probably say the same thing as Diskpart did though.
...................................

Since option-3 said:
..... Virtual disk service error:
..... The specified drive letter is not free to be assigned.
I think the solution might be to delete the letter E as being a virtual disk. Have been Googling but the solutions using Disk Management wouldn't work since there is no letter E shown for a drive in Disk Management. Any ideas on how to delete the local drive that is assigned the letter E when it is a fictitious drive?

Thanks,
Skyzoomer
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Dell Studio 1537
    CPU
    core 2 duo
    Memory
    4GB

Brink

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mvp
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#8

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    64-bit Windows 10
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Custom self built
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K OC'd to 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
    Memory
    16 GB (8GBx2) G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    3 x 27" Asus VE278Q
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    250GB Samsung 960 EVO M.2,
    256GB OCZ Vector,
    6TB WD Black WD6001FZWX
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    OCZ Series Gold OCZZ1000M 1000W
    Case
    Thermaltake Core P3
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master
    Internet Speed
    1 Gb/s Download and 35 Mb/s Upload
    Browser
    Internet Explorer 11
    Antivirus
    Malwarebyte Anti-Malware Premium
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    Linksys EA9500 router,
    Arris SB8200 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Lumia 1520 phone

jumanji

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Posts
80
#9
Hi skyzoomer,

Looks like the drive letter E got locked to a non-existent drive - Windows not releasing it even after removing the mapped drive which earlier had that drive letter E.

You may need to do a drive cleanup to get the drive letters released.

Follow this procedure:

Download v 0.8.1 of the drivecleanup.zip from Drive Tools for Windows. ( Later versions should also work, but I haven't tried any of it.)

Unzip it to a folder, say drivecleanup.

You will have two folders Win32 and x64 each containing DriveCleanup.exe for 32 bit and 64 bit respectively.

Remove all USB storage devices from your system (except your Keyboard and mouse). Also disconnect internet.

Right click on the DriveCleanup.exe and run as administrator. (Use the *.exe file appropriate for your bit version of Windows.).

After the clean up act, reboot.

( When you plug in your USB devices after this cleanup these will be installed afresh. What you have done is to remove all non-present devices and drive letters associated with them and start with a clean slate. )

Now assign drive letter to the external drive.( A drive letter will automatically get assigned to a plugged in drive but you should be able to change it to any free letter available. All drive letters except those taken by your internal drive/s should now be available. )
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 7 Ultimate 32bit

skyzoomer

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Posts
40
#10
Hi skyzoomer,

Looks like the drive letter E got locked to a non-existent drive - Windows not releasing it even after removing the mapped drive which earlier had that drive letter E.

You may need to do a drive cleanup to get the drive letters released.

Follow this procedure:

Download v 0.8.1 of the drivecleanup.zip from Drive Tools for Windows. ( Later versions should also work, but I haven't tried any of it.)

Unzip it to a folder, say drivecleanup.

You will have two folders Win32 and x64 each containing DriveCleanup.exe for 32 bit and 64 bit respectively.

Remove all USB storage devices from your system (except your Keyboard and mouse). Also disconnect internet.

Right click on the DriveCleanup.exe and run as administrator. (Use the *.exe file appropriate for your bit version of Windows.).

After the clean up act, reboot.

( When you plug in your USB devices after this cleanup these will be installed afresh. What you have done is to remove all non-present devices and drive letters associated with them and start with a clean slate. )

Now assign drive letter to the external drive.( A drive letter will automatically get assigned to a plugged in drive but you should be able to change it to any free letter available. All drive letters except those taken by your internal drive/s should now be available. )
Hi Jumanji,

Will give drivecleanup a try after trying Brink's suggestion of "This PC > Eject". Will ask my friend to do a full backup of the system drive first as a precaution. Will post results.

Thanks much for helping out,
Skyzoomer
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Dell Studio 1537
    CPU
    core 2 duo
    Memory
    4GB

skyzoomer

Member
Member
Posts
40
#11
Looks like the drive letter E got locked to a non-existent drive - Windows not releasing it even after removing the mapped drive which earlier had that drive letter E.

You may need to do a drive cleanup to get the drive letters released. .... snip ....
Hi Jumanji,

Will give drivecleanup a try after trying Brink's suggestion of "This PC > Eject". Will ask my friend to do a full backup of the system drive first as a precaution. Will post results.

Thanks much for helping out,
Skyzoomer
Hi Jumanji (and Brink),

My friend had a second drive letter locked to a fictitious drive. Her "layflat USB3 drive enclosure" was causing the problem. It was drive E, then became drive J, and now was drive K. Drive letters E and J were locked to fictitious, non-existent drives.

I went over to my friend's home yesterday. I disconnected all USB cables except the wireless receiver for the keyboard & mouse. I ran the latest version of drivecleanup. I expected it to give me a chance to run a test to determine which drives to clean up but it just did the clean up without operator intervention and removed a whole bunch of drivers. Was worried that it removed drivers that are needed but things turned out OK.

Connected the USB cables for the printer and a known good USB3 docking station. Tested both plus the internal optical drive that's connected via a SATA cable to the motherboard and all worked fine.

It looks like drive letters E and J that were locked to the fictitious drive were released. My friend did not want me to connect the bad layflat USB3 drive again so was unable to verify if it could be assigned the letter E. But plugging in a USB thumb drive, it was assigned the letter E so I'm pretty sure the fictitious drive letters E and J were released.

My friend is going to buy a new USB3 docking station and a new bare drive. When they arrive will see if it can be assigned the drive letter E but I'm confident that it will be OK. Will post if problems persist but if no follow up post in a month, then the fictitious drive letters problem was fixed. (Today's date is 5/12/16)

Thanks much for your excellent tip. Looks like things are all good now.
Skyzoomer
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Dell Studio 1537
    CPU
    core 2 duo
    Memory
    4GB

Brink

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mvp
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23,452
#12
That's great news Skyzoomer. I'm glad it worked out. :)
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    64-bit Windows 10
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Custom self built
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K OC'd to 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
    Memory
    16 GB (8GBx2) G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    3 x 27" Asus VE278Q
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    250GB Samsung 960 EVO M.2,
    256GB OCZ Vector,
    6TB WD Black WD6001FZWX
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    OCZ Series Gold OCZZ1000M 1000W
    Case
    Thermaltake Core P3
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master
    Internet Speed
    1 Gb/s Download and 35 Mb/s Upload
    Browser
    Internet Explorer 11
    Antivirus
    Malwarebyte Anti-Malware Premium
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    Linksys EA9500 router,
    Arris SB8200 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Lumia 1520 phone

jumanji

Member
Member
Posts
80
#13
Glad to see the solved tick mark on this thread. I am also happy to note that it is going to help many others. :)

14-05-2016 21-11-39.jpg


Note: It is only a drive cleanup and not a driver cleanup. It only removes "all currently non present USB Storage Devices, Disks, CDROMs, Floppies, Storage Volumes and WPD devices from the device tree. Furthermore it removes orphaned registry items related to these device types" It is an absolutely safe maintenance tool. Though I do not have any drive letter assignment problems, I have been using it regularly to keep my Windows clean - as far as drive letter assignment is concerned - since it also removes all orphaned registry entries and keeps the registry clean to that extent.
 
Last edited:

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 7 Ultimate 32bit