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USB thumb drive letter

December 2, 2008 at 23:06:57
Specs: XP pro, 1G

We have a domain that the client logins with some mapped drives, the problem I get is users plug in their USB flash thumb drive and the drive letter is the same as the map drives, as they don't have admin rights they can't go into the computer managed section to change the drive letter, I thought plug and play supposed to check the drive letter is being used before it assigns it to the flash drive, any fix for this? as we have many machines and users.

Thanks


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#1
December 3, 2008 at 04:46:31

Assign a higher letter/s to the mapped drive/s. That will leave the next one or two letters available for local use.

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#2
December 3, 2008 at 06:01:56

Mapped drives are traditionally assigned letters at the end of the alphabet (X, Y, and Z are good choices).

Bryan


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#3
December 3, 2008 at 08:15:06

H is usually common for home map drive and the P is for Public.

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Related Solutions

#4
December 3, 2008 at 08:39:30

Well, if you have a conflict it would seem reasonable to change the mapped drive letter.

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#5
December 3, 2008 at 11:08:38

Or, don't plug in the thumb drive until the login is complete. Then, the next available drive letter would be used.

"So won’t you give this man his wings
What a shame
To have to beg you to see
We’re not all the same
What a shame" - Shinedown


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#6
December 3, 2008 at 12:00:53

"the problem I get is users plug in their USB flash thumb drive and the drive letter is the same as the map drives"

That's not possible - the flash drive does not have a specific drive letter until it's plugged in. I assume you mean you can't get all the computers to use the same drive letter for the flash drive.

XP (and 2000, and Vista) will not a assign a drive lettter that is already being used, and it will not shift drive letters already assigned like ME and previous sometimes do when you connect or disconnect a drive.
You cannot change (at least, not by default, or easily) the drive letter of the partition Windows boots from, usually that's C, but you can change any other one above C to one not currently assigned. Sometimes you need to temporarily assign a different letter to free up a letter you want to use, then assign a different letter you want to use later.
When you plug in the flash drive, by default, the first available drive letter alphabetically, after C, is assigned to it, by Plug and Play and Windows. If there is a gap in the drive letters used, the flash drive will use the first one of those available, not the letter after the last letter used. If one has administrator rights, yes, the letter assigned to the flash drive can be changed - that's fine if the flash drive is NEVER unplugged and Windows has not been reloaded without restoring that setting - but if the flash drive is EVER unplugged, it will be assigned the first available drive letter again when it is plugged in - the drive letter assignment isn't permanent unless all the computers always have the same first drive letter available, and the subject flash drive is the first removable drive you plug in.
Whoever has administrator rights could change the mapped drive letters of drives on the local network to ones higher than currently assigned on each and every computer, the higher letters you use the less likely they are to be needed to be changed in the future, but the only way I know of to get what you want to be able to work and have all flash drives use the same drive letter, all the computers would have to have the same number of hard drive partitions, optical drives, and mapped drives on the local network, assigned drive letters below or above the letter you want to use for the flash drive.

E.g.

If every computer has a C and D partition on one hard drive, and only one hard drive, and one optical drive E, and mapped drive letters were changed to letters higher than F, then the flash drive would always be using F when it was plugged in.

Of course, if the subject flash drive were unplugged, if the user has more than one USB or firewire connected drive and plugs it in before the subject drive has been plugged back in, they would have to be unplugged whenever you need to plug in the flash drive you are wanting to be F 0 they are assigned the first available drive letter too..

If some computers have more than one optical drive, the drive letter for that or those could be made higher too by the administrator.

If some computers have two hard drive partitions, some have more, you could have C and D for the first two partitions, E for the first optical drive, assign drive letters higher than F for any additional hard drive partition, mapped drive, or additional optical drive, the the flash drive would always use F when plugged in.

..........

The problem with re-assigning drive letters like that, other than the letters for the mapped drives on the network, is it is likely, at the very least, some existing shortcuts will then be invalid. You might have more problems than that.

It would probably be much simpler to NOT use a flash drive for what you want to do, if not all the computers have the same installed drive situation.
You could try posting about your problem on the Networking forum on this site - it may take longer to get answers, but whoever answers may have better things to suggest.


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#7
December 8, 2008 at 20:04:40

I tell you it does happen, the user have already login to their computer and the drivers are already mapped to the server such as H:/, F:, I: and when they go to plug in the thumb drive nothing shows until I check the drive managment it shows the thumb has F drive assigned, I have to change the drive letter in admin mode. The thumb drive are also plugged into their home PC, not sure if it remembers the drive letter F or not.

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#8
December 8, 2008 at 20:17:14


You're not "getting" it.

You CAN assign drive letters other than the default ones to mapped drives on your network, they will not change if the letters assigned to them are high enough no matter which removable drive you plug in, but

".... the flash drive does not have a specific drive letter until it's plugged in."


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#9
December 9, 2008 at 00:36:07

I can't reassign the map drive letter as they have been used many years, then why is the thumb drive clashes with the network drive, as when I login and I check my computer, the F drive is mapped to a folder on the server and when I plug in the thumb drive, nothing happens, so I go to manage/disk management and I see the thumb is also F drive. I have to change it to a different letter before I can browse the thumb, but once I have changed it, I can unplug it and plug it in without any problems, the thumb drive stays the same drive letter.

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#10
December 9, 2008 at 05:23:05

You never explained if this is a new occurrence. Are many users affected? Do all users have C,D,& E drives locally?


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#11
December 9, 2008 at 07:05:17

all users have the C and D drive and E for CD rom drive and H, I, W, S: X: mapped network drive, some have F: mapped drive. I see some users have clash Thumb drive letter with one of the mapped drives.

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#12
December 9, 2008 at 07:37:26

I know you don't want to hear it but the best solution is to remap the F drive for some computers.

I am guessing the problem happens when users boot with the USB device inserted.

Windows must be trying to configure the mapped drives and the USB at the same time and the USB loses out.

I only see TWO solutions. I gave one in this response. Jennifer gave the other in #5.


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#13
December 9, 2008 at 09:25:32

You may have software that expects the thumb drive to be using the letter F, but since the flash drive does not have a specific drive letter until it's plugged in....
if you have some computers that log in fine without you having to change the drive letter of the thumb drive, and some that do not, there must be something different going on regarding the drive letter assignments in the ones that are not.

"the F drive is mapped to a folder on the server"
"all users have the C and D drive and E for CD rom drive and H, I, W, S: X: mapped network drive, some have F: mapped drive."

Change the drive letter to something else on those computers that have the F mapped drive letter. You may also need to change something in the software on those computers that points to the F mapped drive letter.


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#14
December 17, 2008 at 10:46:29

Just want to add my solution :

http://www.petri.co.il/control-usb-...

Regards

Sebastien


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#15
December 17, 2008 at 11:44:23

seleblan/Sebastien

Nice reference, but will it retain the assigned drive letter after the flash drive has been un-plugged then plugged in again?

If it will, that suits kiwi_hk's needs perfectly.


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#16
December 17, 2008 at 23:35:43

Thanks Sebastien, that is exactly what I was talking about when the USB clashes with the network drive, so I suppose the utils should fix this providing I install it on all the client machine which gives me more work to do.


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#17
January 14, 2009 at 19:32:04

i can confirm that this issue does exist in windows, and i did read that MS accepts this as an issue. we hae software that must have a mapped f drive and when ever a usb drive is inserted (at any time) it tries to use f as its letter. according to MS usb does not recognise mapped letters as being used. so all u guys who tried to tell the thread starter that he was just doing something worng obviously dont know much about your work with computers.

tubesandwires, ur answer seems quite arrogant to tell some one that something is impossible when it well and truly is. nobody in here read his question properly obviously.
the software solution seems adiquate and i will be using it to solve this MS problem.


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#18
January 15, 2009 at 21:21:27

Thanks, I am glad I am not going crazy.

Also anybody know I way to disable the USB ports and only enable it for authorize USB devices such as the thumbs drives or USB HD.
thanks


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