Import drive letters for use after reinstall?


Donk

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After a new installation, is there a way to automatically assign all external hard drives the drive letters they had in the old installation? So that you don't have to manually assign the old letters to each external drive after connecting it again?
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Win 11
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    Manufacturer/Model
    Lenovo IdeaPad 3 17ABA7 Laptop - Type 82RQ (Lenovo IdeaPad 3 82RQ003EGE)
    Memory
    16 GB
It isn't possible to just retrieve old drive letters after a reinstall, Windows will allocate new drive letters, but you can change them afterwards using Change Drive Letters and Paths in Disk Management.
 

My Computers

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    Windows 11 Pro
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    Lafite 14
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    i7
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    16Gb
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    i5
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    8Gb
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    Incompatible device, upgraded to Win 11
Yes yes, that's exactly what I want to avoid.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Win 11
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Lenovo IdeaPad 3 17ABA7 Laptop - Type 82RQ (Lenovo IdeaPad 3 82RQ003EGE)
    Memory
    16 GB
Yes yes, that's exactly what I want to avoid.
Can I ask why does it matter? If it is the matter of telling which one is which, you can name the drive. Under drive properties label.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell G15 5525
    CPU
    Ryzen 7 6800H
    Memory
    32 GB DDR5 4800mhz
    Graphics Card(s)
    RTX 3050 Mobile 4GB Vram
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    Gigabyte M27Q (rev. 2.0) 2560 x 1440 @ 170hz HDR
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    Internal laptop screen: 1920 x 1080 @ 120hz
    Hard Drives
    2TB Solidigm™ P41 Plus nvme
    Internet Speed
    800mbps down, 20 up
  • Operating System
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    Tablet
    Manufacturer/Model
    Lenovo ideapad flex 14API 2 in 1
    CPU
    Ryzen 5 3500u
    Motherboard
    LENOVO LNVNB161216 (FP5)
    Memory
    12GB DDR4
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    AMD Radeon Vega 8 Graphics
    Hard Drives
    256 GB Samsung ssd nvme
Well well, it would be more convenient than manually renaming the labels of each drive, assign a drive letter for each one, etc. with every new installation or another computer, etc.

Why would one copy a piece of text to another file instead of typing it manually in the other file? Or why would one import / export settings?
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Win 11
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Lenovo IdeaPad 3 17ABA7 Laptop - Type 82RQ (Lenovo IdeaPad 3 82RQ003EGE)
    Memory
    16 GB
You shouldnt need to redo the labels of each drive unless your wiping every drive when doing the windows install. The data on them should stay intact as well as the label names. Only the drive letters might change.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell G15 5525
    CPU
    Ryzen 7 6800H
    Memory
    32 GB DDR5 4800mhz
    Graphics Card(s)
    RTX 3050 Mobile 4GB Vram
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Gigabyte M27Q (rev. 2.0) 2560 x 1440 @ 170hz HDR
    Screen Resolution
    Internal laptop screen: 1920 x 1080 @ 120hz
    Hard Drives
    2TB Solidigm™ P41 Plus nvme
    Internet Speed
    800mbps down, 20 up
  • Operating System
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    Tablet
    Manufacturer/Model
    Lenovo ideapad flex 14API 2 in 1
    CPU
    Ryzen 5 3500u
    Motherboard
    LENOVO LNVNB161216 (FP5)
    Memory
    12GB DDR4
    Graphics card(s)
    AMD Radeon Vega 8 Graphics
    Hard Drives
    256 GB Samsung ssd nvme
OK, but that has never been the case here.

So your drive letters and labels are kept on other computers, new installations?
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Win 11
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Lenovo IdeaPad 3 17ABA7 Laptop - Type 82RQ (Lenovo IdeaPad 3 82RQ003EGE)
    Memory
    16 GB
Just like my flash drives, yes. Labels should stay, just not drive letters. As long as I dont wipe them or touch them with the windows installer.

You could also try disconnecting the drives when installing windows. to ensure its not touching them
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell G15 5525
    CPU
    Ryzen 7 6800H
    Memory
    32 GB DDR5 4800mhz
    Graphics Card(s)
    RTX 3050 Mobile 4GB Vram
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Gigabyte M27Q (rev. 2.0) 2560 x 1440 @ 170hz HDR
    Screen Resolution
    Internal laptop screen: 1920 x 1080 @ 120hz
    Hard Drives
    2TB Solidigm™ P41 Plus nvme
    Internet Speed
    800mbps down, 20 up
  • Operating System
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    Tablet
    Manufacturer/Model
    Lenovo ideapad flex 14API 2 in 1
    CPU
    Ryzen 5 3500u
    Motherboard
    LENOVO LNVNB161216 (FP5)
    Memory
    12GB DDR4
    Graphics card(s)
    AMD Radeon Vega 8 Graphics
    Hard Drives
    256 GB Samsung ssd nvme
Just like my flash drives, yes.
And so all other external drives. What might be different with you that makes it work than it does here?

Labels not drive letters.
Excuse me, what's the connection? What should I take from this?
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Win 11
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Lenovo IdeaPad 3 17ABA7 Laptop - Type 82RQ (Lenovo IdeaPad 3 82RQ003EGE)
    Memory
    16 GB
1707312758829.png
The AB Fix it is the label, the D: is the drive letter. Labels should stay the same.

For example, If I have a second internal drive named (labeled) games and reinstall windows, the drive letter might change but the data stays intact and so does the label.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell G15 5525
    CPU
    Ryzen 7 6800H
    Memory
    32 GB DDR5 4800mhz
    Graphics Card(s)
    RTX 3050 Mobile 4GB Vram
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Gigabyte M27Q (rev. 2.0) 2560 x 1440 @ 170hz HDR
    Screen Resolution
    Internal laptop screen: 1920 x 1080 @ 120hz
    Hard Drives
    2TB Solidigm™ P41 Plus nvme
    Internet Speed
    800mbps down, 20 up
  • Operating System
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    Tablet
    Manufacturer/Model
    Lenovo ideapad flex 14API 2 in 1
    CPU
    Ryzen 5 3500u
    Motherboard
    LENOVO LNVNB161216 (FP5)
    Memory
    12GB DDR4
    Graphics card(s)
    AMD Radeon Vega 8 Graphics
    Hard Drives
    256 GB Samsung ssd nvme
The AB Fix it is the label, the D: is the drive letter
Yes, OK, sorry, I am not sure what the means. Just generally an explanation of the difference between drive letter and label? Or is there another connection?
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Win 11
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Lenovo IdeaPad 3 17ABA7 Laptop - Type 82RQ (Lenovo IdeaPad 3 82RQ003EGE)
    Memory
    16 GB
The image I provided is a screenshot. Go to file explorer and click on "this pc." Right click a drive and select properties.

There you can see my screenshot to reference inputting a label.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell G15 5525
    CPU
    Ryzen 7 6800H
    Memory
    32 GB DDR5 4800mhz
    Graphics Card(s)
    RTX 3050 Mobile 4GB Vram
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Gigabyte M27Q (rev. 2.0) 2560 x 1440 @ 170hz HDR
    Screen Resolution
    Internal laptop screen: 1920 x 1080 @ 120hz
    Hard Drives
    2TB Solidigm™ P41 Plus nvme
    Internet Speed
    800mbps down, 20 up
  • Operating System
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    Tablet
    Manufacturer/Model
    Lenovo ideapad flex 14API 2 in 1
    CPU
    Ryzen 5 3500u
    Motherboard
    LENOVO LNVNB161216 (FP5)
    Memory
    12GB DDR4
    Graphics card(s)
    AMD Radeon Vega 8 Graphics
    Hard Drives
    256 GB Samsung ssd nvme
an explanation of the difference between drive letter and label
If you post a screenshot of your File explorer showing all your disks then your own disks can be used as example of drive letters & labels.
That might be more helpful for you.

Why do you assign specific disk/drive letters to lots of disks?
Windows installation assigns the drive letter C:\ to the drive with my OS in it. I assign D:\ to my second drive. That's all I bother with. I let the others use whatever Windows wants at any given time.

Denis
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11 Home x64 Version 23H2 Build 22631.3447
The main 'take-away' I'd add is to install Windows on the only Internal drive in the computer, all others disconnected until after Windows is up and running, will prevent some of the booting issues that have been seen on forums with two or more drives connected. Unless RAID is being used.

For External drives, If they are reconnected in the same order and same ports there may be no issue. And with Disk Management open one can connect a drive and do a Refresh or Rescan to get the list updated. The only thing Disk Management won't show is NAS drives connected to the Router.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Win11 Pro RTM
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    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Vostro 3400
    CPU
    Intel Core i5 11th Gen. 2.40GHz
    Memory
    12GB
    Hard Drives
    256GB SSD NVMe
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro RTM x64
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    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Vostro 5890
    CPU
    Intel Core i5 10th Gen. 2.90GHz
    Memory
    16GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Onboard, no VGA, using a DisplayPort-to-VGA adapter
    Monitor(s) Displays
    24" Dell
    Hard Drives
    512GB SSD NVMe, 2TB WDC HDD
    Browser
    Firefox, Edge
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender/Microsoft Security
The image I provided is a screenshot. Go to file explorer and click on "this pc." Right click a drive and select properties.

There you can see my screenshot to reference inputting a label.
Okey, thank you very much!

Why do you assign specific disk/drive letters to lots of disks?
Because I want to identify them, its content.

Okey, so it seems I had to assign the letters manually.

Alright, thank you very much!
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Win 11
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Lenovo IdeaPad 3 17ABA7 Laptop - Type 82RQ (Lenovo IdeaPad 3 82RQ003EGE)
    Memory
    16 GB
Because I want to identify them, its content.
Better to use names. Then you can forget about drive letters
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Lafite 14
    CPU
    i7
    Memory
    16Gb
    Internet Speed
    150Mbps/39Mbps
    Browser
    Firefox
  • Operating System
    Win 10 Pro
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    PC Specialist
    CPU
    i5
    Memory
    8Gb
    Internet Speed
    150Mbps/39Mbps
    Browser
    Firefox
    Other Info
    Incompatible device, upgraded to Win 11
If you give them each drive labels then they remain constant over time & with different computers.
I have an external drive called TxTools that has had that name for about five years in all the seven/eight computers I have had over that period. I don't care what its drive letter is.
[Saying "calling" them "names" or giving them "labels" means the same thing.]

Denis
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11 Home x64 Version 23H2 Build 22631.3447
Okey, thank you very much!
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Win 11
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Lenovo IdeaPad 3 17ABA7 Laptop - Type 82RQ (Lenovo IdeaPad 3 82RQ003EGE)
    Memory
    16 GB
If you give them each drive labels then they remain constant over time & with different computers.
I have an external drive called TxTools that has had that name for about five years in all the seven/eight computers I have had over that period. I don't care what its drive letter is.
[Saying "calling" them "names" or giving them "labels" means the same thing.]

Denis

You can't have applications use the name of the volume to recognize drives. That just won't do.
What about batch scripts, config files? Drive labels won't work. Labels are useful to the user but mean nothing to the OS.
Many applications in Windows, unlike Linux-GNU, require fully qualified paths (including a drive letter) to run.
Therefore the drive letter must match the assigned path.
 

My Computers

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  • OS
    Win11 All /Debian/Arch
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    ASUSTeK COMPUTER INC. TUF Gaming FX705GM
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    2.20 gigahertz Intel i7-8750H Hyper-threaded 12 cores
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    ASUSTeK COMPUTER INC. FX705GM 1.0
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    24428 Megabytes
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    Intel(R) UHD Graphics 630 / NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060
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    FHD 1920X1080 16:9
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    2 SSD SATA/NVM Express 1.3
    WDS500G2B0A-00SM50 500.1 GB
    WDCSDAPNUW-1002 256 GB
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    Fiber 1GB Cox -us & ADSL Bouygues -fr
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    VMs of Windows 11 stable/Beta/Dev/Canary
    VM of XeroLinux- Arch based & Debian 12
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Insider Canary
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    ASUS X751BP
    CPU
    AMD Dual Core A6-9220
    Motherboard
    ASUS
    Memory
    8 GB
    Graphics card(s)
    AMD Radeon R5 M420
    Sound Card
    Realtek
    Monitor(s) Displays
    17.3
    Screen Resolution
    1600X900 16:9
    Hard Drives
    1TB 5400RPM
The OP did not ask about any of that.
You can have batch scripts recognise a volume label and use that to find out the drive's current drive letter for the rest of the script to use. I run such scripts almost every day.
GetDriveLetter-SubRoutine - my post #5 - ElevenForum


Denis
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11 Home x64 Version 23H2 Build 22631.3447

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