Question Can you assign 2 letter drive names in Windows 10?

Mar 20, 2019
3
0
10
0
to Avoid all of the forthcoming questions why anyone would ever want to or need to do this, let me explain.

I’m not using partitions. I’m not using more than 8 drives at any given time. But I do have at least 30 drives which I need access to from time to time. And now I need to add more. A few of these drives are as small as 500gb, but most are much larger.

In my main system, I always have 4 (internal) dives, OS, scratch1, scratch2, frequently used data. I also have an optical drive. So that’s 5 drive letters always.

I frequently use a 4 drive memory card reader. While it’s not important that these drives use consistent drive letters, if they share a previously used drive’s letter if I put that drive back into the system, the system doesn’t know what drive it was and assigns it the next available letter. Or worse, I have use disk manager to get it active. So add 4 more drives for a total of 9 that need to be reserved.

I have 2 nas (raided) network drives. So add 2 more for 11 letters being used.

I have a series of 4 to 10TB usb3 drives which I use for the bulk of data drives. I do photo and video work and try to keep my original datafiles and project files on hard disks for at least 10 years. For some clients, it goes back further. Video files nowadays are huge. Even my raw image files are 45-60MB. All of the usb drives are copied manually as a backup. So a single drive needs 2 different drive letters, one for the original data and one for the backup. Besides the older small drives, even just 6 usb data drives and their duplicates take up another 12 letters. So now we are up to 23 drive letters, plus a few older 500, 750 GB dives I haven’t put on usb.

Why do I use usb3 drives? They are inexpensive and are huge. I can plug them in whenever I need to go back to a project and pick up right where I left off as long as the drive letter is the same as it was the last time I used it. If it’s different, sometimes it’s quite an impossibility to remap intermediary files required for a project. And this creates a host of problems.

While I’m working on a project I copy my files and work on them on scratch internal sad drives. 5400 rpm drives are fast enough to work with image files but too slow for 4k video when applying effects and such. The scratch drives makes things run faster. The original files never get modified as work is fine non-destructively.

Hopefully, I’ve prompted the endless curiosity questions about why I would ever need more than 24 drive letters so someone can provide a knowledgeable answer to my question.

Does windows support 2 character drive names? If so, how does one go about assigning a 2 byte drive name?
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
My first thought was to suggest getting a drive caddy/tray system that will permit hot swapping drives in and out as circumstances dictate.

Might help in some ways and make things worse in other ways.

And do reconsider, as suggested by @13th, the work flow. All too likely for some mix up or other issue to make a real mess of things and data will be lost.

Caddy or not.

Backups - yes. Verified recoverable backups - yes again!
 
Mar 20, 2019
3
0
10
0
My first thought was to suggest getting a drive caddy/tray system that will permit hot swapping drives in and out as circumstances dictate.

Might help in some ways and make things worse in other ways.

And do reconsider, as suggested by @13th, the work flow. All too likely for some mix up or other issue to make a real mess of things and data will be lost.

Caddy or not.

Backups - yes. Verified recoverable backups - yes again!
What is the difference between what I have now vs hot swapping. I just plug in the correct usb drive. Why is that any different than swapping?

Before usb3, was was using caddy’s with SATA drives. I the usb to be easier.

I’ve got every file backed up. There are no “mix ups” that can cause data to be “lost” other than me manually deleting files. But the files are read only. So how are these files going to get lost exactly? I’ve been operating this way for 17 years. Files are bigger, larger drives are required. But I’ve yet to get mixed up to ruin any data. Hard drives have failed and I’ve easily recovered the data with the backups I’ve mentioned making for all data.

If windows doesn’t support 2 byte drive names or there isn’t a OS solution to my problem, then yes, I’ll need to rethink how I do things only because I’ve run out of letters. But I don’t need to rethink out of a fear of losing any data.
 

13thmonkey

Titan
Moderator
There's a bit of 'you wouldn't want to start from here', but that's life, 17 years ago, even 10 years ago this would not have been foreseen as a problem.

You could get a set of DAS devices, like this https://www.scan.co.uk/products/4-bay-icy-box-ib-3640su3-external-jbod-system-for-35-sata-hdds-with-usb-30-and-esata-host, remove your disks from their cases. Run it in JBOD mode and use storage spaces to make a single virtual thin provisioned disk with or without mirroring, and then use folders and a single or couple of drive letters. You can add more disks to increase the actual capacity, without going through the pain of rebuilding the array. As it's running in JBOD it's portable and you aren't reliant on a chipsets raid controller etc. Any win 10 machine that appropriately up to date can understand the storage space.
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
Chiming in with the "No".
You can mount drives without a drive letter, but there is no capability for 2 letter drive names in the Windows ecosystem.


"All of the usb drives are copied manually as a backup. "
Good on ya for backing up, but "manually"? That is precisely what good backup software does. All automated, on a schedule you set.

The only time I've had to manually touch my backup procedure recently, was to recover from a dead drive back in December.

And done right, that "backup" does not need a drive letter.
All of my house systems - 5 systems, 11 drives...all backup nightly or weekly to a single folder and its subfolders on my 4 bay NAS box. No "drive letter" needed.
Recovery is as easy as click click...tell it where the Image is and the target drive to recover to.
Also, you can trivially make multi day backups. For my main system, I can recover a particular file or drive from its condition of any day in the last 14 days.

Lastly, there are any number of NAS boxes that can appear to your main system as a single drive letter. The 8 drives in or attached to my Qnap NAS appear to the PC as a single mapped drive letter.
 
Reactions: TJ Hooker

Similar threads


ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS

Latest posts