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Drive letters: Microsoft should get rid of them.

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#31 Detection

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 08:11

The idea to drop letters was one of the things they had in mind for the original longhorn but it got scrapped. Libraries sorta fix this but in the end we still have them and unless there's some deep file system changes we're stuck with them.



Wouldn't that cause similar problems to if we scrapped IP addresses and just used domain names for sites ?

Windows needs something to look for, drive letters seem a fairly good way of doing that vs naming drives, if someone inserts a flash drive called "Drive" and C: is also called Drive... what then? Windows would have to rename it as it does with drive letters


#32 hjf288

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 08:30

/etc/

/usr/

/home/ ftw

#33 The_Decryptor

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 09:17

Wouldn't that cause similar problems to if we scrapped IP addresses and just used domain names for sites ?

Windows needs something to look for, drive letters seem a fairly good way of doing that vs naming drives, if someone inserts a flash drive called "Drive" and C: is also called Drive... what then? Windows would have to rename it as it does with drive letters


Drives and partitions have ID numbers to uniquely identify them, Windows doesn't know your secondary drive as "D:", it knows it via it's GUID and maps that to "D:"

#34 Detection

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 09:19

Drives and partitions have ID numbers to uniquely identify them, Windows doesn't know your secondary drive as "D:", it knows it via it's GUID and maps that to "D:"


Ah ok, thanks, so what is the point of drive letters if windows doesn't need them? Just for user ease ?

And as before, using names vs letters, wouldn't windows still have to rename a drive if it conflicted?

#35 The_Decryptor

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 10:24

Yeah, just having drive letters is easier than mount points (Windows NT has supported mount points for ages, barely ever use them)

Windows will just mount a partition/drive under another letter if there's a conflict, which is useful but can also break things (A while back I added a second hard drive to my system, pushing my DVD drive from D: to E:, apps then broke because D: was no longer an optical disk, etc.)

Edit: The drive name is purely for an end user, the system doesn't take it into account (Even *nix just uses it as a visual mapping, underneath it works on block devices and you can mount that anywhere)

#36 George P

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 12:06

It really is just a case of not breaking apps that look for a drive letter instead of a name or something like hard disk 0 like how NT itself does it. That said I think they can change it and maybe fake older apps so things don't break. Hell just having it not automatically shuffle around letters when you make a change to your drives unless you do it yourself would be a good start.

I like others have a few hard drives in my system and at this point iirc, because I'm not at my desktop atm, my dvd drives letter is something like I: or j:. Why can't it have stayed as d:?

#37 BajiRav

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 15:31

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.

That's true. I think it's visible only during the safe mode boot and you can see it in the text scrolling up as Windows boots.

#38 ahhell

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 15:39

/etc/

/usr/

/home/ ftw

:rolleyes:

#39 n_K

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 23:19

So is the outcome of this that windows should get rid of drive letters - or that software and APIs should be coded better to not rely on drive letters?

#40 +Karl L.

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 23:22

So is the outcome of this that windows should get rid of drive letters - or that software and APIs should be coded better to not rely on drive letters?


Well, there has been significant disagreement, but I think the answer is both.

#41 George P

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 23:43

So is the outcome of this that windows should get rid of drive letters - or that software and APIs should be coded better to not rely on drive letters?


Either option works really. I'm still wondering if metro apps take drive letters into account.

#42 Growled

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 01:05

Well, there has been significant disagreement.....


Aren't there always? :D

#43 Thrackerzod

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 01:14

My external hard drive is assigned B: so that no other devices will ever steal it. Also I like that B: can stand for backup. :p

As for getting rid of them, I've used them as long as I've used computers (starting out in DOS) and personally I'd rather keep them.

#44 The_Decryptor

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 01:20

So is the outcome of this that windows should get rid of drive letters - or that software and APIs should be coded better to not rely on drive letters?


At the least software shouldn't rely on them, there's better ways of identifying a unique partition/drive than just the letter Windows assigns to it on boot/connection.

#45 Nashy

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 01:21

No. Windows shouldn't get rid of drive letters just because you want to use a few portable apps.