Partition Magic - Partition Manager Software

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Logical drive letter

  • At startup, an operating system assigns letters (C:, D:,…) to partitions. These letters are used by applications and the operating system to locate files on partitions. For example, C:\Program Files\Acronis\Disk Director\DiskDirector.exe.

    You can select action:
    No thank you, I do not want to assign a letter - select this item if you do not want to assign a letter to the partition. You will ba able to assign a drive letter to this partition later from Windows Disk Administrator.
    Yes, I want to assign a logical drive letter to the partition - select item if you want to assign a drive letter to the partition. Then, choose a drive letter from the drop-down list.

    • Hard disk partitions are not only assigned letters, but are also numbered. That means some operating system partitions are assigned letters and numbers, in others, only numbers.

  • Create, delete and move partition operations, as well as hiding/unhiding a partition and direct letter change may result in problems running applications, opening files (as some shortcuts become unusable) or booting an operating system.
  • Therefore, when performing partition operations, you must be careful and remember that each operating system works differently with partition letters. Each OS has its own partition letter assignment rules.
  • Windows 95/95OSR2/98/Me
    Windows 95 (original) assigns partition letters automatically in fixed order, according to these rules:
    • Partition letters start from C: and continue until Z:. C: partition is considered system, i.e. used for OS startup.
    • The first primary active partition found on the first hard disk is assigned C:. If there's no such partition, C: is assigned to the first suitable primary partition
    • Similarly and consecutively, one of the primary partitions from other hard disks is considered. They are assigned D:, E:, etc. (If there is no suitable partition found on the first disk, then C:, D:, etc. are assigned.)
    • Next, all suitable logical partitions are considered in the sequence order on the first, second, third, etc. hard disks. They are assigned E:, F:, G:, for example
    • Finally, in order, letters are assigned to all remaining suitable primary partitions of the first, second, third, etc. disks.
    The Windows 95 OSR2/98/ME partition letter assignment order is almost the same as in original Windows 95, with the following exceptions:
    • Additional type 11 (FAT32), 12 (FAT32 LBA) and 13 (FAT16 LBA) partitions are considered. This is tied to FAT32 and high-capacity hard disk support
  • Partition operations in the mentioned operating systems may result in problems running applications, opening files, and other problems if letter assignments change.
  • Windows NT/2000/XP
  • Windows NT/2000/XP operating systems' initial letter assignment is done automatically: in Windows NT 3.x it's similar to Windows 95, and in Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000/XP similar to Windows 95OSR/98. Windows NT 4.0 does not support FAT32, but assigns letters to such partitions.
  • Note
    • Please note that letter order in these operating systems can differ depending on the number of hard disks and other disk drives recognized by the BIOS.
  • All these operating systems enable you to change initially assigned letters. Partition create, delete and move operations do not affect letters assigned to other partitions. Assigning a partition a new letter or hiding it will prevent only its applications and files from running or opening. Other partitions will not be affected by these operations.
  • OS startup problems may appear if you directly change the letter assigned to the system partition or a partition with PAGEFILE.SYS swap file.
  • Note
    • Hard disk partition letter assignment in various operating systems is further explained in all guide chapters where the partition operations might affect PC operation or booting.