Windows Disk Management Drive Letter "issues" for thumb drives

ExpertNovice

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Help with either problem will be greatly appreciated.

1. Is there a way to allow a standard (non-admin) account access drive management. Specifically with changing drive letters.

2. Is there any way to force Microsoft to assign the next available drive letter to a USB drive.

Here is the issue. We use multiple thumb drives, one at a time, to capture video. The software is expecting the output file to be on drive F. All is well until we need to plug two of the drives in at the same time. When that happens Microsoft changes the drive letter of the second thumb drive to K. No problem. However, remove all thumb drives, even reboot, and plug that second thumb drive into the computer and it is now drive K as if we used Disk Management to change the drive letter.

Bad Microsoft. Worse, we can't even get into Disk Management to change the drive letter back to F. Currently we must log into the Admin account to fix the issue.

 

USAFRet

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We use multiple thumb drives, one at a time, to capture video. The software is expecting the output file to be on drive F.
$50 would fix that issue. A 500 or 1TB internal hard drive, drive "F".
And then copy out to whatever flash drive.

In your instance, the second dive gets the letter K.
Next time you connect it in that system, it might still be letter K. If you were to connect it in a different system that already had a different drive labeled as K, it would end up as something different.

You can't really force a USB flash drive to always be drive letter "whatever". Whatever else is going on in the system may override that.
 

Chicano

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I have managed to assign a permanent letter to a USB flash drive... assigning letter B or even A if it's not in use usually work. Letter B is never assigned automatically but is available and should work when manually assigning it once to a USB flash drive.

To allow regular users to access the Management Console (in the unlikely event assigning drive letter B should not work):
A) Configuring the Management Policies might work depends if:
1. Your Windows edition has it available; Start > search or Run, and type "Gpedit.msc", and hit Enter.
2. And read a internet management policies tutorial or guide.
https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc766291(v=ws.10).aspx
http://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/policies.html
http://windows.microsoft.com/is-is/windows7/group-policy-management-for-it-pros

B) Or simply configuring the user rights in the Security tab on the C:\Windows\System32 folder or just on the CompMgmtLauncher.exe and Compmgmt.exe files Security tab, in the System32 folder. Adding the user name with Full Control should grant access to the Management Console.
 

ExpertNovice

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Don't know what happened to my response... but...

The good old days...
Plug Drive1 into a computer and it was assigned the next available drive letter. Say F:
Plug Drive2 into a computer and it was assigned the next available drive letter. Say G:
remove both drives
Plug Drive2 into a computer and it was assigned the next available drive letter. Say F:
Plug Drive1 into a computer and it was assigned the next available drive letter. Say G:

New world order.
remove both drives
Plug Drive2 into a computer and it is now assigned the drive letter forced by Windows which is G:

Not good and, on an Admin account not a big deal.

So, the cheap and easiest approach is to never use a standard account.

Rather than spending money on a new drive we could write it to drive C. However, copying 7 GB to 20 GB files to the thumb drive after service on a USB 2.0 port is a bit too boring for me so we will pass on the otherwise fine suggestion.
 

ExpertNovice

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Chicano,

Lost another post. I'm beginning to think all computers have something against me! :D

Are you sure this will work?
Insert Drive1 and assign it to B
Eject Drive1
Insert Drive2 and assign it to B
Eject Drive2
insert Drive1 and it is auto assigned B, insert Drive2 and it is auto assigned another letter.
Eject both drives
Insert Drive2 and it will, again, be assigned drive b?

It is sad that, apparently, drives can no longer be assigned a drive letter that will stick. Even disk management warns about changing drive letters yet Microsoft will randomly change them!?

Several years ago I assigned letters M, N, W, X, & Z to five USB drives. They have never randomly changed. Ever.

However, that was on a Win 7 Pro system and if Win 8, 8.1, and 10 act differently that is sad.


As for your other suggestions I didn't see anything in group policy earlier but I'm not very verse on using it. So, I'm now going to try and follow them and see where they lead. Thanks!
 

Chicano

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Works for me with Windows 8.1... I just tested with a Sony flash drive assigning letter A to it, and a Kingston assigning letter B to it.. each one is assigned the letter I assigned it no matter which USB port I use. Also tried another smaller Kingston USB flash drive which I hadn't assigned a drive letter to, and it opened on letter E... So, apparently the Flash drive name is locked to the drive letter assigned.

Rename all your flash drives the same (only in Windows obviously) with other than the make name which is assigned automatically... use a generic name, something like USB Storage, USB removable storage, etc., and the same drive letter should be assigned each time you insert them. BTW drive letters that are never used like W, X, Y, Z should also work the same as long as the OS uses the default name you assign all your USB flash drives and doesn't have to use the brand name. The only sure way to be sure in your case, is testing that option but I'd be surprised if it didn't work.

On the Disk management warnings, they are just formalities in case you run portable programs from USB drives, and link them to shortcuts on the desktop, or run installed programs and keep the program files on USB which should be a possible option for strict security purposes.

Chek this article on Group Policy on the Management Console
https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc753298.aspx
 

ExpertNovice

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Chicano, The information you posted was very helpful and is being kept for future needs. While it did not answer my question simply stating it really was in group policy went a long way.

"Disk Management" is in Group Policy at: User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Microsoft Management Console > Restricted/Permitted Snap-ins

On SevenForums a tutorial was found named ""151415-group-policy-apply-specific-user-group.html". This allowed the local user to add the Disk Management snap-in to the MMC. A bit more research and it was found how to start the "Virtual Disk Service". However, I still couldn't change drive letters.

At this point it was realized question #1 was misstated. It should have been
1. Is there a way to access drive management from a standard (non-admin) account without switching users.

The simplest and safest method for our use at Church is:
Run "Computer Management" as Administrator and select "Disk Management"
DOH!

This allows only those with admin access to change drive letters (safe) and allows us to do so without having to switch to the Admin account (fast).

The user specific group policy that was created was then completely removed.

Thanks again for helping!
 
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