Drive letters: Microsoft should get rid of them.


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LUTZIFER

I have an external hard drive (D:) and an external dvdrw drive (E:) and Windows always remembers the drive letters for them.

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Ice_Blue

I have an external hard drive (D:) and an external dvdrw drive (E:) and Windows always remembers the drive letters for them.

As explained by Billyea above, this is as it should be if you always plug them into the same port.

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n_K

As for the MacOS renames open files it's not that difficult to understand why it works, the name of the file is only a more simple way(for the user) to identify the file, ate least in Linux the open files are represent by a file descriptor that is connected to the iNode(in Ext filesystem the number of the iNode is the real identifier of a file. there are more filesystems that also use this approach) that represents the file on the disk, the name associated with a iNode are stored in a special file called directory. I'm assuming that the internals of Linux and MacOS are similar since both derive from Unix.

cd /tmp

gedit TESTFILE &

type 'blah blah blah' -> save

mv TESTFILE TESTFILE2

back to gedit, type 'a2' -> save

Result -> Completely different files.

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  • 2 weeks later...
iniside

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.

Well I know nothing about OSX, but I can say that under Linux this is 100% valid way to move files between partitions.

Lack of this under windows make my cry hard. Under Linux If I want to move files from one disk to another another I just:

1. Create new partition.

2. Copy files from old folder (like /usr/bin /home etc.) to new partition.

3. Delete old files.

4. mount new partition under old folder.

5. Edit fstab file to mount partition at system startup. It's extremely simple and convenient way of moving and managing files if you happen to run out of space or just want to reorganize some files.

Equivalent on Windows for doing that would be:

1. Copy all files from Program Files or Users folder.

2. Delete those files from folders.

3. Mount partitions with copied files under those folders.

Have fun doing this.

It's simply impossible or I'm to stupid to do it.

Funny thing is that Windows internally do not use Drive Letters. Here is interesting post:

http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r24587240-

In other words. Drive Letter assignment was, is and will be flawed by design. There is no defense to this system. The only reason it exist in windows is because app developers assume that there drive letters instead of using system variables.

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Noir Angel

The mounting system in Linux is admittedly more flexible than the use of drive letters, but for the average user it's probably going to also be more confusing. Having them displayed as letters and shown in "Computer" gives a user a clear identification of which drive is which.

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Active.
Having them displayed as letters and shown in "Computer" gives a user a clear identification of which drive is which.

In what way do drive letters help here as opposed to simply identifying disks by their label and device type ?

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Coagulated

I've never had any problem just changing it to the appropriate drive letter... takes less than 30 seconds.

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Noir Angel

In what way do drive letters help here as opposed to simply identifying disks by their label and device type ?

Seeing them mounted as folders within the filesystem like it's done in Linux has the possibility of confusing ordinary users.

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iniside

Seeing them mounted as folders within the filesystem like it's done in Linux has the possibility of confusing ordinary users.

In what way ? Users don't care at which disk their files are.

It's more confuing to see 5 disks with letters C, D, E etc than simple folder like /home/userName or /media/movies.

User just see yet another folder. Not some special icon that posing to be Device for no apparent reason.

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Noir Angel

When it's shown in the computer folder as a drive, what it is is abundantly clear. When it shows up as just another folder, to the average user what it is is not clear. Think like a n00b not a geek and you'll see the point I am trying to make.

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Gerowen

I would imagine there's a way to fix this. In Linux I created an entry using the device ID of my external hard drive so that whenever I plug it in it always gets mounted to the same location. I haven't used Windows for anything too technical in a while, but I think there's a way to do something similar in the "Computer Management" app under "Administrative Tools" in the Control Panel.

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Arceles

An option to have a fixed drive letter for an specific drive you want is alright, removing the drive letters is completely wrong.

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mrp04

In what way ? Users don't care at which disk their files are.

It's more confuing to see 5 disks with letters C, D, E etc than simple folder like /home/userName or /media/movies.

User just see yet another folder. Not some special icon that posing to be Device for no apparent reason.

Because people don't think of folders being drives. People think in this drive I have these folders. Flipping it around would confuse novices.

People DO care which disk their files are on. USB Flash Drives and external hard drives require users to know which drive they're putting the file on.

Truly portable apps shouldn't reference things by drive letters and having a different letter assigned shouldn't be a problem. All the portable apps I've used (such as from portableapps.com) all use relative paths. That's half of what makes software portable. The other half is not using the registry.

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mdcdesign

In what way ? Users don't care at which disk their files are.

It's more confuing to see 5 disks with letters C, D, E etc than simple folder like /home/userName or /media/movies.

User just see yet another folder. Not some special icon that posing to be Device for no apparent reason.

Sorry, but you're wrong. I very MUCH care what drive my files are on.

For me, pressing Win+R, then typing D:\Downloads\ is far, far easier than typing /mount/sd3/downloads or whatever insanity Linux is using these days.

And on OS X, you can't even use the keyboard to do anything.

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Matthew S.

^ That shows how little you know of other operating systems.

Ubuntu for example maps all drives to the /Media/*DriveLabel* folders, Mac OS X does it similarly with /Volumes. And saying you can't do anything with a keyboard on a Mac shows just how little you know.

I would much prefer Windows got the route of Mac OS X instead of this drive letter bs that we're stuck with. would make network mapping a whole lot easier

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iniside

When it's shown in the computer folder as a drive, what it is is abundantly clear. When it shows up as just another folder, to the average user what it is is not clear. Think like a n00b not a geek and you'll see the point I am trying to make.

I'm trying and I'm honestly failing to see logic behind drives.

It seems ok for you because you got used to it, and treat it as something obvious.

If we really want to put ourselves in place of noob user, then we should realize that such user doesn't even know what Drive is in the first place. Doesn't know what CPU is and so on.

What average user see is data (music, movies) and devices such as Pendrive or external Hdd.

In linux pendrive will be mount is /media/pendrive this is obvious at first glance. It even tell you what it is.User is not confused because it look like rest of file system structure.

In Disk letters, Letter are actually detached from this structure and this is certainly more confusing, because you have two separate concepts.

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Active.
For me, pressing Win+R, then typing D:\Downloads\ is far, far easier than typing /mount/sd3/downloads or whatever insanity Linux is using these days.

And on OS X, you can't even use the keyboard to do anything.

Uh...OS X has its issues like any other operating system. But a supposed lack of (consistent and sensible) keyboard shortcuts is not among them.

Press Shift+Command+G (For "Go To Folder...") in the Finder, type "/Volumes/Drive Label/Downloads"

Note that the "D:" in your example is a completely arbitrary assignment as far as the user is concerned, except for (nowadays usually falsely) suggesting, that it might be the CD drive. You haven't given any reason as to why the letter makes anything easier. The letter by itself can neither tell you which drive it references, nor can you generally rely on a certain drive always being available under the same specific letter (hence this thread).

removing the drive letters is completely wrong.

Why? It's a relict. As a longtime user of Microsoft software you get used to it. It's just such a very familiar concept by now. But the fact of the matter is that it dates back to a time when there was only A and B and no hierarchical directory organization. You'd never use the drive letter concept if you started over nowadays.

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