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Drive letters: Microsoft should get rid of them.

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#16 cybertimber2008

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 00:42

I did notice in Windows 8 under task manager, it refers to disks by "Disk #" and serial number. Possibly for a transition after Windows 8?


#17 George P

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 00:49

I did notice in Windows 8 under task manager, it refers to disks by "Disk #" and serial number. Possibly for a transition after Windows 8?


I saw that but didn't think much of it till now. It could be interesting if they switch to a disk # type system in windows 9.

#18 Dot Matrix

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 00:50

Maybe not. But a couple bits of legacy junk might still rely on drive letters, but I think this is something that will be going away in the next few years. I think Microsoft will implement a more user friendly file management system soon.

#19 n_K

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 01:00

I agree. The other thing is, that a Mac allows you to move and rename files even while they are opened without applications losing their reference to the file. I'd like to see the same thing on Windows.

Are you 100% sure about that? Is it not application specific to only those that use a special library becuase that is NOT normal unix-like behaviour.

#20 Azusa

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 01:04

If they were to phase out the need for drive letters i guess they could add something to windows that you could set up a list of volume labels and then match them with a drive letter/port. So when you attach a drive with a volume label like like Disk 1 which you assigned the letter F to then it would set it to F sort of like an IP address reservation and i guess you could set multiple labels for a single letter if you use one or two flash drives.

#21 abecedarian paradoxious

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 01:07

If programmers would have stuck to the recommended best practices such as environment variables instead of assuming things won't ever change and thus used hard-coded drive and path information, it wouldn't be a problem.

What are %windir%, %UserPath%?

#22 sc302

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 01:08

many applications get married to a drive letter. Even windows itself gets married to a drive letter...Go ahead change the c partition letter after you have installed windows and see what happens. Many legacy applications and current applications get married to a drive letter. besides what is the alternative? using a long alpha numeric drive name that makes absolutely no sense to anyone or anything but the os...yeah lets make things harder than they already are.

You see it isn't just for programmers, it is for the average user too. The average user can understand c or d or f or whatever.

#23 Panda X

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 01:14

I agree. The other thing is, that a Mac allows you to move and rename files even while they are opened without applications losing their reference to the file. I'd like to see the same thing on Windows.


Vista onwards allows you to rename a file in use. I've done it plenty of times.

#24 Deactivated.

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 01:19

Are you 100% sure about that? Is it not application specific to only those that use a special library becuase that is NOT normal unix-like behaviour.

I don't think I've ever noticed an app not behaving like that on OS X. It's certainly expected behavior for (document-based) Cocoa apps, and it registers the change, even if you made it in the Terminal using standard UNIX command line tools..

Vista onwards allows you to rename a file in use. I've done it plenty of times.


Sure, it allows you to do so. But the application (try Notepad as an example) doesn't then go ahead and update the reference to the file. If you've been working on Tst1.txt and rename it to Tst2.txt, Notepad still thinks you're working on Tst1.txt and will save to the original location.

#25 BajiRav

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 01:30

I did notice in Windows 8 under task manager, it refers to disks by "Disk #" and serial number. Possibly for a transition after Windows 8?

I saw that but didn't think much of it till now. It could be interesting if they switch to a disk # type system in windows 9.

I have seen that in XP as well, I think NT internally uses that internally and shows drive letters for compatibility?

#26 Arkose

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 01:34

I did notice in Windows 8 under task manager, it refers to disks by "Disk #" and serial number. Possibly for a transition after Windows 8?

This is just a new presentation of an existing feature; open Disk Management and you'll see that both hard drives and optical drives have IDs as well as letters. This feature has been in place for a long time but isn't normally important for everyday use (with some exceptions, e.g. older games with CD audio tracks on the disc--the disc must be in CD-ROM 0 for in-game music to work).

#27 OP Ice_Blue

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 01:42

many applications get married to a drive letter. Even windows itself gets married to a drive letter...Go ahead change the c partition letter after you have installed windows and see what happens. Many legacy applications and current applications get married to a drive letter. besides what is the alternative? using a long alpha numeric drive name that makes absolutely no sense to anyone or anything but the os...yeah lets make things harder than they already are.

You see it isn't just for programmers, it is for the average user too. The average user can understand c or d or f or whatever.


I get what you're saying, but wouldn't it be easier on users (and tech support personnel) if Windows referred to drives by their label?
Just as the OS does not allow files of identical names in the same folder, it could be set to disallow drives with identical labels.

I know of quite a few people who have Windows installed on drives other than C:.
During installation, windows could label the drive as "Windows", and you would tell the user to go to their Windows drive.

Another thing I noticed is that, if you have an existing installation of Windows on one partition, and you set up a dual boot by installing Windows on another partition, one of two things happen:

1. If you run the setup from within Windows, the new installation keeps the drive letters as they are in the current Windows installation. When you boot into the new installation, the Windows drive will be the drive letter of the partition you selected during the setup.

2. If you boot the computer from the installation media, and initiate setup, Windows marks whatever partition you designate, as C:.

This is highly inconsistent, and can be very confusing to some people.

#28 George P

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 01:51

I have seen that in XP as well, I think NT internally uses that internally and shows drive letters for compatibility?


Yeah but I don't think they ever brought it up front to the user like now, or maybe I don't remember it as well. Still I think the easy fix might just be to assign a letter to a volume label and have it stay unless changed by the user. If you can do that then regardless of the plug in order etc the same volume name will have the same letter set to it.

#29 farmeunit

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 03:00

USBDLM - http://www.petri.co....-in-windows.htm

Scroll down a little.

#30 n_K

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 08:00

I don't think I've ever noticed an app not behaving like that on OS X. It's certainly expected behavior for (document-based) Cocoa apps, and it registers the change, even if you made it in the Terminal using standard UNIX command line tools..

That is one hell of a nifty feature! :D