In order for Windows programs to access data on a hard drive partitio, the partition has to be formatted and assigned a drive letter by Windows. This has been true ever since the DOS days — and other operating systems like Linux have other structures for the same purpose.
Similarly, anything that Windows treats like a drive has to be assigned a drive letter. That includes flash drives, CDROM drives, DVD drives, and ZIP drives (if anyone still uses them). You can even treat drives and folders on other computers as if they are drives on your computer.
You can use Windows Explorer to map a drive or a folder on another computer to the drive letter of your choice. Select Tools, Map Network Drive. Then, pick the drive letter you want and the shared folder elsewhere on your network, that you want to map to that drive letter.
Once in a while, you may find that you need to change a drive letter assigned by Windows. Fortunately, if you know where to find the tool that’s built into Windows XP, it’s an easy change.
You can find the tool by following the following trail:
- Start, Control Panel
- Performance and Maintenance
- Administrative Tools
- Computer Management
- Disk Management
Once you’ve found the Disk Management screen, you select the drive.
Then, right-click on it to select "Change Drive Letter and Paths…"
This opens up a dialong box where you select the drive (it may already be selected) and the task you want. In this case, it’s to change the drive letter. But, note that you can also add another drive letter or even remove the drive letter from the drive, effectively hiding it.
The final step is to use the pull-down box to pick the new drive letter that you want to use.