Out of drive letters!

My PC is now so stuffed with drives, I’ve gone external.

But that’s not enough. I’ve now run out of drive letters, so every usb (or firewire) drive plugged in becomes an effort of letter re-assignment in Drive Management.

Tis enough to drive someone balmy!
How’s your PC?

Without having seriouslly looked at what your drives are, I would say, pci card, jbod… That will open up a few, lol!!! I would say run less virtual drives, but then again the MB I just got runs 3 pata so 6 drives, so I could be in the same boat!!! (just kidding, my cases only take 4 full size). Aree all your networked conections nessasary?

Actually, I’ve now mounted the storage partitions in empty NTFS directories on the Main WinXP drive & removed drive letters for alternate OS partitions :wink:
But I’m still on the Ragged edge!

Pity I can’t remove drive letter assignments for the swap partitions … hmm maybe software raid :wink:

I … think that’s rather personal … but of course they are necessary!

debro, you still have drive B unused! :slight_smile:

Drive A & B are reserved for Floppy Drives only & cannot be assigned :iagree:
Not really sure why I have an “A” drive, since there is no floppy drive in this machine …

Note Check bios for non-existant 1.44MB floppy in configuration.

They canot be assigned for physical drives (HDD/DVD) but I think you can re-assign one or two of your USB Storage Devices to A or B. :wink:

That drive list is sick :bigsmile: Gates never saw this coming. Bet there is a program out there to add more.

I have the same problem. Can anyone point me to a program that will allow me to add more than the a-z? :slight_smile:

There are several: Linux, OpenBSD, NetBSD, Unix, Solaris, …

Oh, you we’re looking for [B]Windows[/B] programs?! :stuck_out_tongue:

The drive-letter idea wasn’t that great to begin with in the old DOS days, and Unix-like operating systems have never had drive-letters. It’s possible to mount drives on top of directories (folders) in Windows XP (and other NT based OS’es), but people have gotten used to doing it the old way - me included! :doh: :o

Absence of drive letters boggles the mind

The solution is to free up drive letters by mounting the drive/partition in an empty folder on one of the other HD’s (your main HD perhaps?) :wink:

Right-Click “My Computer”->Manage->+ storage->Disk Management->

Select the NON-Essential partition you want to reassign (aka storage partitions, etc)
Right click->Change drive letters and paths->Add-> Mount in the following empty NTFS folder->Browse->New folder (or select one you’ve already made)->OK->OK


Select the NON-Essential partition you just reassigned.
Right click->Change drive letters and paths->Select the old drive letter->Remove->OK.


You will NOT lose any data doing this
This only changes the the location that windows accesses it from.
No changes are written to the partition or drive, no reformatting, no repartitioning, no destruction.

You can also do this removable disks & optical drives.

You cannot change the drive letter of your C drive, or any partitions with Swap files on them.

why all the swap’s?


  1. Repartition your drives removing seperate partitions. Use folders instead.
  2. Network to shared drives instead of assigning letters to them
  3. Remove virtual drives
  4. Create new letters to use


If you just have sooo many drives … and some of them are as fast, or even faster than your windows HD … why not :wink:

And then your swap file isn’t competing with windows, or programs running from the HD either :stuck_out_tongue:

I understand having one swap file(which is crap anyway compared to ram) on a seperate partition on a seperate drive isolated from any other disk I/O but other than that see no point in multiple swap files.

The basic setup is to have 1 HD in a machine - Swap file shares accesses with windows IO = ultra crap.
Next best is to have 2 HD’s with OS on primary, and swap file on the secondary = good.
If you have 3 or more drives, you can spread the Swap file around to any/all of the NON-OS HD’s, which minimises the chance that the HD is being used at the same time as the swap file = slight speed increase.
Swap file spread across 2 HDs = 1/2 the chance WinXP is using the swap file at the same time you’re using the HD :wink:

Of course … you’re only using the swap file when you run out of ram … so there’s not much point buying another HD to increase your swap speed :wink: Just buy some more ram :wink:
But, if you have many HD’s for storage … why not?

" Swap file spread across 2 HDs = 1/2 the chance WinXP is using the swap file at the same time you’re using the HD"

With your above case scenario in which you have swap files allocated to more than one drive you’re working under an assumption that Windows will always make the right decision as to what drive to use to maximise performance/throughput. :disagree: While I applaud your confidence in M$, I think it’s unfounded. :bigsmile:

" Of course … you’re only using the swap file when you run out of ram"

That’s a common misconception…

No matter how much ram you have there will be programs that call the swap file by design. Windows will also use swap while still having abundant physical memory left as seen under performance tab of task manager.

You can install more memory and help minimise swap file use but it will still be used to some extent if available. You could disable swap if you have a lot of physical memory but sooner or later a program will call for a swap file and if it’s not there the system will crash or an out of memory error message will pop up.

The whole swap file ‘where to put excersize’ is so much of a non issue and waste of time fretting about too much IMO.

As for drive letter problems:

It seems you have another PC networked from the look of it with networked drives showing. You could dump more of your drives over to that machine and mount the drives to folders as you have already done so on main machine.

You could create a dedicated NAS box quite cheaply and use Raid 5 or such which will free up several drive letters and organise the confusing mass/mess of drives that you have. :wink:

You ‘can’ use drive letter “B” for physical HDD’s via a registry hack that I’ve read about in the past although I’ve never tried it. Google may help find it. It’s far easier though to map one of your network drives to that letter which is what I have done.

The whole swap file ‘where to put excersize’ is so much of a non issue and waste of time fretting about too much IMO.

good point, most swap file use with adequate ram is just reserved surplus addressable
memory when programs ask for much more than they need.

windows doesn’t really ever write anything to the drive

start program, it says I need a gig, windows gives it 500 megs and reserves another 500 megs in swap, something to that effect, durn msmvp’s way of explaining it

That is correct. Many programs (aka M$ products) allocate massive amounts of memory, most of which is paged. Of course, such programs only use the virtual ram once they run out of physical memory …

Generally windows flogs your HD’s when switching between programs, to maximise the real RAM available.
If your HD’s are being constantly flogged, you either have a virus, or you obviously need more ram.

I don’t credit M$ with enough programming ability to spread your pagefile usage around intelligently, or even keep dibs on partition/HD usage statistics.
However, if you have several small page files (aka 128-256MB) windows will be FORCED to spread it’s memory allocation across multiple page files/partitions, which can only help.

I’m no expert on such matters but I don’t believe it would help.:slight_smile:

At some point of usage you’ve created exactly the problem you’re trying to escape from and added a possible new one as well. ie it’s doubtful that you have 2-3-4 or more drives dedicated for only swap file use, ie they are likely partitioned and shared for other use such as storage or veiwing video via channel BT :wink: or capturing to, network access etc etc, ie in use.

By having your page file spread across multiple drives at some point the writing or access of those drives is going to be during a paging operation, just as it would with it being on drive C: and using windows. You’re now possibly dealing with drives that may indeed be storing huge sequential files or such as storage drives tend to. Paging to the same drive while reading or writing such files is probably worse than the page file being only on drive C: while writing/ reading to an unencumbered drive. The drive heads also have to cross partition boundaries and any free space in between during multiple use of the affected drives causing delay and head thrashing.

The added twist to your configuration that I can see is that it almost guarantees that 2,3,4 or more drives ‘could’ be in use at a time under windows processes. This is almost certainly going to bog the system down at some point of usage and may even saturate the system bus to which the drives are attached, especially if you add another task at the wrong time. Such depends on what the drives are attached to, the available bandwidth, what else is attached to the same bus etc etc. It’s doubtful that you can get multiple individual drives to give their best performance while working simultaneously ie burst rates and sustained reads/writes will drop so it defeats the pupose.

I can remember doing what you have in the early 386-486 days out of necessity because drives individually were so small and available space was always a problem. It was inevitable that several drives were often in simultaneous use and swap file and even installs were across multiple drives. It wasn’t an ideal situation then and I doubt it is now. Back then a dedicated drive for only swap file use and or creating ram drives were a better alternative to a multi drive swap file layout.

Another possible issue I wouldn’t want to have is a lot of drives being unable to spin down when otherwise not in use, saving power, heat and noise.

To each his own :slight_smile: