Solved Is it Possible to assign drive numbers instead of letters?

Tyan Tempest i5400xt motherboard
October 26, 2012 at 01:35:16
Specs: Win7, 4GB
windows keeps changing my drive numbers on nearly every boot.
essentially it's ok when booting but I have software that uses drive numbers.

let's not get mixed up with drive letters.

Is it possible to assign drive numbers in windows?

Asus P5Q Pro
Intel E5200@3.75mhz
8GB 800mhz pc6400
ATI 4870 1GB
X-Fi xtremegamer
RAID0


See More: Is it Possible to assign drive numbers instead of letters?

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✔ Best Answer
November 3, 2012 at 07:51:17
I have seen issues with SATA II drives not being configured consistently, or at all, when connected to SATA I controllers. When this was a issue, most SATA II hard drives came with a set of jumpers pins to use in this instance. Installing the jumper forced the drive to run at SATA I speeds.

You may also find a setting to increase the drive seek time in the BIOS. If that setting exists then try setting to the maximum time, which may be 5 seconds.




#1
October 26, 2012 at 02:30:56
The drive numbers are assigned by PNP on boot up. As far as I am aware there is no way you can change this assignment. I'd be fascinated to know what software relies on these ephemeral drive numbers rather than assigned letter or volume name.

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#2
October 26, 2012 at 05:32:48
No you cannot assign drive numbers. The Drive letters are assigned by the Operating System at each and every boot up.

Microsoft chose to use letters right at the beginning with MS-DOS and have continued to do so ever since. Nothing much has changed in that respect.

I would be interested to know which software, supposedly designed to be used on Windrows, wants to use drive numbers.

Don't get confused between partitions and drives. Those two are often used interchangeability but they are different. Partitions are numbered but thos numbers are allocated during the partition process and have no relationship to the letters allocated by the Operating System,

Stuart


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#3
October 26, 2012 at 07:26:47
I'd be fascinated to know what software relies on these ephemeral drive numbers rather than assigned letter or volume name.

Indeed. Me too!

I mean, drive letters are the accepted standard in Linux, Unix, Windows and I suspect Mac's too..............and have been for a very long time.

Something else to add to the "What were you thinking" list perhaps............LOL

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***


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Related Solutions

#4
October 26, 2012 at 08:27:20
Um - no drive letters in Unix or Linux. Device filenames perhaps, but not letters.

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#5
October 26, 2012 at 09:38:53
OS X is derived from FreeBSD, so no drive letters there, either. Classic Mac OS never had drive letters either, so it's more of a Microsoft tradition. A loosely enforced one, seeing as you can mount volumes off of existing directory structure.

How To Ask Questions The Smart Way

EDIT: That's the reason I went with "tradition," ijack. The problem with everything being in the file system is that there are things not suited to representation as files. Networks, are the classic example.


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#6
October 26, 2012 at 09:58:03
It started (as far as I am concerned) with CP/M, so not a Microsoft innovation. No doubt OSs before that used drive letters also. I am far more comfortable with the Unix concept of a single hierarchical filesystem.

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#7
October 30, 2012 at 06:49:50
Are you using a removable drive bay or dock by chance?

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#8
October 31, 2012 at 02:44:11
Hi Guys,sorry for late response.

The software in question is call hyperOS.
Parts of it go by using drive number not partition letter.
e.g
it backsup to a drive number then partition letter.
so on every boot when drives change numbers it thinks the backup location has changed.

@OTH no mate.

It never really happened with my P5Q mobo but it seems to happen every boot on this Tyan.


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#9
October 31, 2012 at 06:08:52
Indigian,

I see in your first post you say that you have "RAID0".
Is that for real? I'm not intimately familiar with how RAID0
works, but when a friend was trying to troubleshoot a problem
and I learned they had RAID0, I knew it was trouble. Turned
out one of the drives failed, which of course took the data on
the other drive down with it. All lost. And apparently the guy
ordered RAID0 to be installed through a misunderstanding.
He thought he was saying "RAID? What's that? I don't want
any RAID. Here's the option for zero RAID. I'll select that."

Much like the numbering of RAID configurations, the physical
hard drives in your computer are numbered 0, 1, 2, etc. The
drive plugged into the first drive port is drive 0, and the drive
plugged into the second drive port is drive 1. Each of those
physical drives can have any number of partitions and logical
drives on them. Those partitions and logical drives can be
given names which do not change from one boot to the next
as long as they are given a file system type that your software
understands.

For example, My Ubuntu operating system understands the
FAT32 and NTFS file systems that Windows 7 uses, plus its
own EXT4 file system. Windows 7, though, understands the
FAT32 and NTFS file systems but not Ubuntu's EXT4 file
system. So it ignores any partition or logical drive that has
the EXT4 file system.

However, Windows 7 doesn't *completely* ignore those EXT4
partitions. In ...

Control Panel / Administrative Tools / Computer Management /
Storage / Disk Management

(Whew!) ... I can see all the partitions on both of my physical
drives. But even there, Windows cannot read the names of the
partitions that use the EXT4 file system. Windows 7 doesn't
give them any designation at all, even though it sees them and
knows how big they are.

I doubt this will help, but it's what I've got.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


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#10
October 31, 2012 at 07:06:08
it backsup to a drive number then partition letter.

You have that the wrong way round, it should be drive letter and partition number.

Neither the driver letter or the partition number should change on every boot.

HYperOS is an OS cloning software and it uses partition numbers to clone your OS for backup purposes. There are times that it will ask you which partition you want to use. That is where the numbers come in. I think you need to read the instructions again and understand the difference between drives and partitions..

Partitions have NUMBERS

Drives have LETTERS

Stuart


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#11
October 31, 2012 at 15:38:41
. . . It would appear our verbiage differs. I have two partitions spread across four drives (listed as 0 though 3), with a single volume for each partition (C: and E:).

How To Ask Questions The Smart Way


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#12
October 31, 2012 at 16:46:39
Windows disk management lists drives as 0,1,2 etc and partitions as drive letters or no drive letter at all.

Now in the boot.ini you have partition numbers due to arc.

So we have both partition numbers and partition drive letters.

I have to disagree that drives have letters.

Partitions can be assigned a letter but a drive can not be assigned a letter since a drive by itself is not addressable. This is why you have to partition any drive. A partition on that drive makes it addressable. but even with a partition a drive letter can not be assigned. The partition has to be formatted before it will accept a drive letter assignment.

This means you can not assign a drive letter to a drive but you can assign a drive letter to a formatted partition.

Answers are only as good as the information you provide.
How to properly post a question:
Sorry no tech support via PM's


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#13
October 31, 2012 at 17:20:14
I was using drives as synonymous with volume.. not a physical drive.

Wanderer, your description falls down when it comes to extended partitions. An extended partition has a number but can have two, three, four or more drive or volume letters associated with it.

It just happens that a volume on a primary partition fills the whole partition but the letter refers to the volume, not the partition.

Boot.ini uses partition numbers because at that stage no file system exists and Windows hasn't yet got round to allocating letters to anything.

Stuart


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#14
October 31, 2012 at 23:18:32
I have been following this thread out of curiosity.

I am responding because I am confused. How can different responders all be correct and yet provide different answers.

Here is my answer to that question.

The BIOS in x86 computers controls how a physical drive is identified. Forget about any other platform. The OP has an x86 based computer.

Over the years I have noticed how the BIOS screens change with each version of the BIOS in use. My first x86 computer could only have ONE physical hard drive. No reason to worry about keeping track of it.

The computer I am typing on now identifies all the physical drives by reading the embedded information and labels them by model numbers. SO in the case of newer models that recognized you may have MANY physical hard drives it makes more sense to track them by model number. When selecting the boot order you can identify by those numbers if you know how to read them.

This is because I can have as many as 8 drives connected. I currently have 3 hard drives and 2 optical drives. My BIOS identifies the hard drives as disks 1, 2, 3. The optical drives are labeled by Windows by model number.

This information is passed on to a PnP aware OS and it then decides how to label the drives. Windows labels each Hard drive by type and number. The number should never change if the connections to the motherboard are not altered.

Inside each of these numbered disks (drives) is the drive structure (partitioning). These partitions are labeled by letters. The default hierarchy of how that is done is not important to this thread. Just to note that the lettering will not follow an order consistent with the disk numbering.

In my experience, I don't recall ever seeing a partition have a number assignment. I do not use spanned volumes so that could be one exception.

Now on to the reason for this thread. I am guessing the problem in this case is that the BIOS in indigan's computer is not consistently identifying all the hard drives in order. This may be due to a failing drive, a compatibility with the different variants of SATA, cabling issues, or something else.

What it comes down to is identifying why the BIOS is doing this. Simple as that.

I am assisting in another thread with a Seagate barracuda hard drive that is not consistently identified at all. In this case it is due to the firmware on the hard drive.

Indigan, you need to boot into the BIOS screens multiple times and see if all your drives are identified and listed in the SAME order every time. Post back.


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#15
November 1, 2012 at 06:14:41
Windows labels each Hard drive by type and number.

No it doesn't. It is the partitioning software that numbers the drives, software that may or may not be running under Windows. The process is pretty much the same for all operating systems it is not Windows specific.

Windows then creates a volume boot record for the partitions and formats it.and allocates a letter. For a primary partition is uses the whole partition. For extended partitions it has to create logical drives first

In my experience, I don't recall ever seeing a partition have a number assignment.

Look at the Master Boot Record. That is where the numbering allocation is stored. Once the OS is booted there is little need to know the numbers as the Operation System takes care of the translation between partition numbers and whatever labelling scheme it uses, which with Windows is letters.

A PC is capable of running many different type of Operating Systems. All Operating System use the same partition table in the same Master Boot Record. Therefore there has to be some universal way of identifying partitions that is not OS specific. Numbers do it.

Partition numbers are persistent

Drive letters are transient.

Stuart


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#16
November 1, 2012 at 06:37:25
StuartS

If the partitioning software numbers the drives then explain why the three hard drives I am currently using, labeled disks 1, 2, 3, in Windows Disk Management were all partitioned while in other computers. The earliest drive from a WinXP computer is assigned disk 3 in Windows Disk Management.

I agree that letters a transient. Did I state differently? I think we are saying the same thing. Frankly, I don't care how the numbers are assigned. They aren't present in my BIOS screens. As I stated, all are identified by drive model.

All that said, the numbering should never change unless the drive connection has been physically changed.

I mentioned above a number of possible reasons for the issue the OP is experiencing. I do not believe that even if the drives could be assigned a designation it would change in this instance.

When the hardware is passed off to Windows one of the drives is not being identified in a timely manner. Of course, this is just my opinion.


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#17
November 2, 2012 at 02:22:39
proverbial can of worms.

ok
HD's are identified by a number 0,1,2.
partitions are also identified by a number.
i.e
drive 0,partition 1
drive 1,partition 5

bios identifies by model
i.e
sata 1 ocz vertex
sata 2 seagate160GB
ide 1 WD320GB

windows communicates with the bios but will decide to do it's own thing anyway,this is a known fact.
it is this known fact that windows can change drive numbers on boot.
partition numbers should never change.

hyperOS identifies a backup location as drive x partition x
if windows changes drive numbers on boot then hyperOS has a different location for backups.

my bios is ok and cabling also ok.

issue is a windows known 'quirk'

I used to get around this by adding 1 drive at a time so that windows gave them correct sequential numbering in the order I wanted.

I have been using hyperOS for many years and have been a tester for them.

I have never experienced this number changing but googling shows it to be a well known occurrence.

partition letters are a preferential thing because we can change whenever we want.
except C.

conclusion of this problem is that I cannot change/assign or 'make stick' the drive number.

windows will be windows and plough it's own furrow.


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#18
November 2, 2012 at 12:05:15
"I used to get around this by adding 1 drive at a time so that windows gave them correct sequential numbering in the order I wanted."

How did you add the drive one at a time? Are these external drives? If so, what type of connections are you using?


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#19
November 2, 2012 at 22:22:00
Can you say anything more about your RAID setup?
That's what got my attention and what I would suspect
as the problem -- if you really do have RAID0.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


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#20
November 3, 2012 at 06:24:26
drives were/are just normal sata drives.
installed os with just the 1 drive in.
turn pc off,plug in next drive and boot up.
windows identified in order,drive0,drive1 etc
I also experimented with hot plugging and that worked also.

I don't have raid0 anymore but it never caused any problems in the past.
I have used it as boot/os and as just a documents drive.

this windows swapping drive number is new to me and only happening with my Tyan.


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#21
November 3, 2012 at 07:51:17
✔ Best Answer
I have seen issues with SATA II drives not being configured consistently, or at all, when connected to SATA I controllers. When this was a issue, most SATA II hard drives came with a set of jumpers pins to use in this instance. Installing the jumper forced the drive to run at SATA I speeds.

You may also find a setting to increase the drive seek time in the BIOS. If that setting exists then try setting to the maximum time, which may be 5 seconds.



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#22
November 3, 2012 at 09:21:58
#17 Quite correct.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/937251

"The disk-assignment numbers may not necessarily match the corresponding SATA or RAID channel numbers. There is no assurance of a consistent relationship between PnP enumeration and the order of the hard disks that are detected during setup. Devices are presented in the order in which they are enumerated. Therefore, the disk-assignment numbers may change between startups."


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#23
November 3, 2012 at 09:59:13
@OTH
this may be the case?
this Tyan board is quite old,older than my P5Q.
it may only support sataI indeed?
I'll check the bios for a seek time and I'll check the drives for jumpers.


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