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Forcing a removable drive to keep its drive letter.

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Baba O'Riley, May 3, 2006.

  1. Baba O'Riley

    Baba O'Riley Gigabyte Poster

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    Hi boys and girls.

    I have recently set up an external USB drive to backup my system to a couple of nights a week. I set the drive up with a timer switch to come on shortly before the backup was scheduled to start and switch off again a few hours later so the disk isn't spinning all the time. The drive policy is set to quick removal so as to avoid problems with MFT errors and so on.

    This worked great for a couple of weeks but either something has changed (don't know what) or I was very lucky because in the last week the backups have been failing.

    I worked out it's because when the drive comes on, windows has started to assign a different drive letter to it every time and my backup software (Sonic Backup My PC) can't locate the drive to write to.

    An answer I found on Google was to assign the letter to the drive in Disk Manager, everyone who has suggested this seems to think it would work but it isn't with me.

    I also thought it might help if I "safely remove the hardware" first - another answer Google came up with - but it's still happening.

    Has anyone got any idea what might have made this start to happen and what I can do to fix it?

    Cheers.

    I'm running XP pro for those who want to know.
     
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  2. d-Faktor
    Honorary Member

    d-Faktor R.I.P - gone but never forgotten.

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    [edit] didn't read correctly.

    [edit2] i also posted the disk management option. one thing to remember is that this trick does save the drive letter assignment for the device (i do this myself for a usb memory stick, an external hdd, a digital camera and a cell phone. all have their own drive letter), but it doesn't reserve it. so if another device gets the drive letter first (by normal next letter assignment), then it doesn't work.
     
  3. Baba O'Riley

    Baba O'Riley Gigabyte Poster

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    Thanks D. If I can deciper your edits correctly you've already guessed this, but the disk management route is not working for me.

    This is what's happening in more detail:

    I will assign letter n: to the drive, for example. The next time I connect it, it has assigned itself letter m:. I cannot change the drive letter back to n: as it says the letter n: is being used by another device or network share. If I then choose the option to unassign n: from its current device, it says it was not able to perform the operation.
     
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  4. Baba O'Riley

    Baba O'Riley Gigabyte Poster

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    Just an update and a bit of a bump.

    I tried mapping a network drive to a dummy folder for each available drive letter except one. I thought this would force the drive to use the same letter everytime but it's still trying to use drive letters that have already been mapped which means it's not even showing in My Computer as the Network Drive takes precedence.
     
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  5. Sandy

    Sandy Ex-Member

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    I'll need to check my PC at work - but what I've done there is say if I plug my USB Data Pen in it is ALWAYS drive X: it works every time (I am using XP, and hate it)
     
  6. Baba O'Riley

    Baba O'Riley Gigabyte Poster

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    I'm sure that was the case with me for a while but something's happened to stop it from working.

    Anyway, I've found a solution to it, albeit a clumsy one, and I would be happy to hear a more elegant fix.

    What I've done is mount the drive in a folder on the C: drive, this works every time I switch the drive on and off, but, when the PC went into hibernation and then the drive powered off I got a "delayed write" error the next time I used the PC. So to combat this, I have scheduled a reboot just before the drive powers down, this forces the PC to write any remaining data to the drive and, touch wood, I don't get any errors.
     
    Certifications: A+, Network+
    WIP: 70-270

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