I have a desktop PC (2002 vintage) running Windows XP that I turn on about two or three times per week. I have a mains powered 250 GB Western Digital hard disk connected to it via USB. I always turn the hard disk on before the PC, so it's up and running as the PC boots.
When I first connected the external hard disk, the PC assigned it a letter ('I' if it matters), and I've installed software to it, created shortcuts to various files and folders on the disk using that letter. For years everything was fine then I would boot the PC and the hard disk was assigned a different letter. I'd then have to go into 'My Computer/Manage/Disk Management' and manually change the letter back to 'I'.
If I then rebooted the PC, the hard disk would usually still be 'I', but after the next reboot would be some other random letter, and I have to manually change it back to 'I'. This would go on for some time, there'd be periods when it would always be 'I', and then for no apparent reason (no new devices added, for example), the drive letter would start changing again. At the moment it's in a random-drive-letter mood, so I thought I'd ask the following question...
How do I assign the external hard disk to be 'I' permanently?
Thanks Molly. That seems to have done the trick (after a little fiddling) - I am slightly disappointed there wasn't a way to do it within Windows without installing something else though. For anyone else trying this, it wasn't completely straightforward, so here's what happened with me.
I installed USBDLM as per the instructions on its website. I guessed that I had to assign the first USB letter to I, so I replaced the 'Letter1=' lines to 'Letter=I' in the .ini file. To test it, I rebooted the PC only to find it came back up with the display set to 640x480 in 16 colours. After some investigation, I re-installed the display drivers and rebooted and set the display back to its usual setting. The external hard disk now gets set to 'I', but I found I had to re-apply sharing status to it so it was seen from my laptop which is on the same network.
The end result of all this is that it now does what I wanted although it does act as though the hard drive has just been plugged in a few seconds after the Windows desktop appears, that is, the little box appears with a progress bar as it searches through the contents of the 'new' hard drive, and I eventually get a dialogue box saying 'This disk or device contains more than one type of content. What do you want Windows to do?' and lists options such as play media files, print the pictures or open folder to view the files. This is a tiny pain I wish didn't happen but not exactly a huge price to pay.
Other than that - it seems to work fine :)
Looks like a spoke too soon...
Every time I reboot, I have to re-share the 'I' drive (which I didn't have to do before), so it can be seen by my laptop on the same network. Any ideas how to make that permanent?