I use a portable hard drive (one of those Western Digital Passports) to store most of my files because I often find myself using several computers. It’s nice to have a local copy of some of my more often used documents, especially when I’m on travel and can’t necessarily connect to the internet (or I have files I don’t trust to be floating around the interwebs). As a result, I have several folders and file shortcuts on my desktop that get all jacked up whenever the drive letter of the Passport changes. What I don’t want to do is change each shortcut every single time, that’s a hassle. Fortunately, there’s a simple solution.

Really Easy Temporary-ish Way

The easiest way to do this is to use the subst command. Just go to Start -> Run and enter the following:
subst [drive 1] [drive 2]
This will map Drive 1 to Drive 2. In other words, if your shortcuts say E:\filename.txt and the file now resides at F:\filename.txt, you would enter:
subst e: f:/

This now maps both E: and F: to that drive, until you restart your computer. If you want to make that permanent, you’ll have to create a batch file, dump a shortcut to it in your Startup folder, and then it’ll do it every time.

Easy Way

Since I want my drive to always stick with one letter and because I’d rather not create another file to throw into Startup, this slightly less easy way will assign the letter to the drive permanently. If you did the subst, you’ll want to undo it:
subst [drive 1] /d

You can confirm the mapping is gone by typing in subst
Now, right click on My Computer and select “Manage…”. This brings up the Computer Management window, find the Storage item and then Disk Management underneath. In the list of drives you should see your USB drive, right click that and select “Change Drive Letter and Paths…” Make sure you aren’t running anything before you agree to the warnings and the drive should be mapped.

That’s it!

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