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How to change the drive letter on Windows 10

When you set up a brand new PC, you will generally format a hard disk drive or a solid-state drive and divide it into volumes. We use volumes interchangeably with the term ‘drive’ so when you set up a new hard drive, you generally have a C drive, a D drive, and so on.

Change drive letter on Windows 10

Drive letters don’t matter a lot except that most users will install Windows 10 to the C drive and any and all guides (troubleshooting or otherwise) assume the same. That said, if you ever decide you’d like to change the drive letter for a drive, you can.

change drive letter

  1. Tap the Win+R keyboard shortcut to open the run box.
  2. In the run box, enter diskmgmt.msc and tap Enter.
  3. The Disk Management utility will open.
  4. Right-click the drive you want to change the letter for.
  5. Select ‘Change drive letter and paths’ from the context menu.
  6. In the window that opens, click ‘Change’.
  7. In the next window that opens, open the ‘Assign the following drive letter’ dropdown.
  8. Select the letter you want to assign to the drive. Do not use a letter that is already in use.
  9. Click OK, and close all windows.
  10. Accept all on-screen confirmations.
  11. The drive letter will be changed.

Effects of changing drive letter

When you change the letter of a drive, the data on it is not impacted in any way. You won’t lose any of the files, folders, or apps on a drive however, paths won’t update automatically.

What this means is, if you’ve linked to a file on the D drive, and you change the letter for that drive to E, the link to the file will have to be updated and the reference to the D drive will have to be replaced with a reference to the drive’s new letter.

For apps that look in certain locations for files/folders, you will have to update where they look. You can normally do this from an app’s settings e.g., you can tell Chrome where to save downloaded files.

Conclusion

Changing the letter of a drive is easy and it doesn’t generally cause problems on the system. In fact, you can change the drive letter for the drive that Windows 10 is installed on. In some cases, the option to change the drive letter may be greyed out. This generally happens when a drive is read-write protected. In this case, you will have to remove the protection, and then change the drive letter.

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