Fix: Windows 11/10 doesn’t Assign Drive Letter to External and USB Flash Drives

Both internal and external storage devices in Windows 11/10 are supposed to be configured with drive letters automatically. The purpose of assigning drive letters is to give a unique indication. It further helps the Storage partitioidentify the USB devices you connect to your PC. However, several users have stated that Windows 11 cannot assign driver letters, so the device doesn’t appear in File Explorer or anywhere else on the system.

This moment is worse because Windows should assign a drive letter automatically, but you have to give it manually for an external HDD drive. Since Windows should automatically assign a drive letter to an external HDD drive, you need to manually use the Disk Management console to assign the drive letter. To assign a drive letter manually, you need to use the Disk Management console.

For that, open the Computer Management console by pressing Windows + X shortcut keys and then go to the Storage section > Disk management. Then, locate the connected removable USB drive in the list of drives. Next, right-click on the partition and select “Change Drive Letter and Path.” If you want some easy method to go through these steps, then this risewindows post will help you with how to do that.

Why my Windows 11/10 PC is not assigning Drive Letters Automatically to External Drives?

Several reasons may be behind not assigning a drive letter to an external USB HDD or SSD. We will recommend checking the following:-

  • Check if Virtual Disk is enabled.
  • See if Automatic Mounting of New Volume is enabled.
  • Ensure to disable “Hidden” and “No Default Driver Letter.”

Windows 11/10: How to Enable Virtual Disk?

If the Virtual Disks service turns off your computer, you may face several disk issues, including letters not being assigned to external disks. Hence, you need to enable it while troubleshooting your Windows. To ensure the Virtual Disk service is running on Windows 11/10, use these steps:-

Step 1. First, open Services Manager.

For that, press Windows + R keys from the keyboard. When Run dialog box opens, type services.msc and then click OK.

Step 2. Now, when Windows Services opens, look for the Virtual Disk service.

Step 3. Then, right-click on it and select Properties.

Step 4. After that, click the Start button if you see the service will stop.

Step 5. Next, click the Apply/OK button.

If you prefer to use Command Prompt to stop or start a service on Windows PCs, we have an alternate way to perform the above steps:-

Step 1. First, open the Command Prompt with administrative rights.

Step 2. Now, when the elevated Command Prompt opens, check the state of the service by typing and pressing the following command; if you read it as stopped, you need to enable it.

sc query vds

Step 3. To enable this service again, issue the following command:-

net start vds

Once you complete the above commands, remove and connect the device again. Try reinstalling the driver if you have any from your manufacturer and see if the issue persists.

What is the process for checking if Automatic Mounting of New Volumes is enabled?

If the issue persists after executing the first method, you must ensure that Automatic Mounting of New Volumes will enable on your PC; otherwise, letters will not assign to drives.

For that, again open Command Prompt with elevated right and then issues the following command to enter into Diskpart:-


After that, check if automount is enabled. For that, execute the following command:-


If you see that automount is disabled, use the following command to allow it to:-

automount enable

Lastly, exit Diskpart using the following command:-


So, it would be best if you restart your computer; this issue should not exist anymore.

How to Disable ‘Hidden’ and ‘No Default Driver Letter’ Attributes?

If both methods above could not help you troubleshoot USB driver letter issues, do the following:-

Step 1. First, open the elevated command prompt and issue these commands one by one:-

list disk
select disk 1

Quick Note: If you can’t guess which disk to choose, look at their respective sizes to get a clear idea and replace ‘1’ with the number associated with your disk.

Use the below command to list all partitions:-

list part

Note: If you have only one internal HDD or SSD installed on your PC, disk “1” should be an external disk. While more than one internal HDD or SSD will install on your computer, the external drive should be disk “2.”

To select your external disk, the command should be either “select disk 1” or “select disk 2.”

When you recognize the disk, issue the command “attributes volume.” If you read the message, “Hidden” and “No Default Drive Letter” attributes are enabled, then give these commands:-

attributes volume clear NoDefaultDriveLetter
attributes volume clear hidden

Lastly, issue the “exit” command and then hit Enter to exit from the disk part. Then restart your computer, and see if the issue is solved.

That’s it for the article.

I hope this post will be informative to you.

Good luck & keep learning, guys.

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