I have 3 hard drives in my computer and I can not figure out how to distinguish which physical hard drive in my computer represents the drive letter. When I am in the BIOS I can see the hard drive names; Samsung, Hitachi, blah but when I am in Windows I do not know which hard drive that Windows is running on. I would like to figure out how to find this out because I am reformatting all of them and then running speed tests to see which one is the fastest. Then I will install Windows on the fastest and Linux on the second fastest. This brings me to my second question how do I set it so when I boot up the BIOS asks if I want to boot into Linux or windows? Other notes I can not trace the SATA port number to the physical hard drive because the cables are a mess.

  • 1
    Probably shouldn't be reformatting and reinstalling OSes if you can't figure out which drive is which. Mar 9, 2013 at 3:23
  • The Disk Management consoles might help, or right-click on your C: drive and go to Hardware...
    – cp2141
    Mar 9, 2013 at 3:49

6 Answers 6


If your drives are in any kind of RAID configuration, I don't believe that this is possible as Windows won't see the individual disks (and they'll use a generic driver).

However, if they aren't, you should open the MIcrosoft Management Console (start > run > mmc) and load in the Disk Management snap-in. This will show you show you which drive letters are assigned to which disks and you can check the disk properties (right click > properties) to see the vendor.

  • Unfortunately I have tries going into device manager and looking at the hard drive properties but it could not indicate the drive letter that it was assigned or what was physically written on the disk.
    – Bryce
    Mar 9, 2013 at 3:21
  • 2
    I didn't suggest the Device Manager, I suggested Disk Management. They're two different tools. Disk Management will match a Disk # to partitions and drive letters.
    – slancio
    Mar 9, 2013 at 3:31
  • 1
    Are all of your drives the same size? That might help you narrow down which one you're using. Otherwise you might be better off unplugging the SATA cable off one drive at a time (at the drive) until Windows doesn't boot. Then you know which one it is.
    – slancio
    Mar 9, 2013 at 3:45
  • 1
    Alright well I suppose I will resort to that. I wish this was simpler. Thank you for your help.
    – Bryce
    Mar 9, 2013 at 3:53
  • 5
    @Bryce: I don't understand what your problem with Disk Management is. It clearly shows you which partitions exist on each physical disk, and when you right-click the disk i.e. Disk 0, Disk 1 etc. (not a particular partition or drive letter), it shows you which model it is. The reverse way is also easy - just open Device Manager, right-click a disk, select Properties, go to the Volumes tab and click the Populate button.
    – Karan
    Mar 10, 2013 at 3:15

To make things clear:

Open Start Menu

In search box type - Computer Management

In left hand tree menu - Storage-> Disk Management

Lower pane - Right click "Disk 0" (grey area) -> Properties

This will provide the model number of the drive...not the serial number.

enter image description here

If all of your drives are the same, unplug and use process of elimination.

If you have to use that method, be sure to look in your bios and copy down the primary boot disk priority order...and if the one you unplug keeps the system from booting...obviously that one is the boot disk. When you plug it back in make sure to reset it's priority position as "first" since some systems will hang on other drives.

For the second question: look for a "boot manager"

  • 2
    Can't believe right clicking the grey area on the left brings up a different window than clicking the hdd large box to the right. +1 for that. Aug 17, 2017 at 4:32
  • @goku_da_master The leftmost item is the physical drive. The elements to the right are partitions on the drive. In the supplied example image, Disks 1 through 4 appear to have a single partition. If you look at Disk 0, you'll see that it has multiple partitions - "System Reserved" and "(C:)" are visible, with others hidden behind the dialog box.
    – T.J.L.
    Apr 2, 2019 at 15:28
  • Thank you! I had right clicked everywhere except the right spot. Dec 27, 2019 at 22:42

Right-click in the console on the disk drive -> Properties -> Hardware -> Properties -> Volumes -> To fill.


Pop off the side panel and Look and see how your hard drive is connected to the motherboard. SATA 0 is your main C Drive. SATA 1 will be a secondary drive. If you have IDE, you will have a IDE Primary and IDE Secondary. You can only have as many drives as you have SATA controller ports on your MB so there are only 2-3 (4?) possibilities. Just look and see it they are labled 0,1,2 etc. Follow the cable to that HD and then look at your WINDOWS EXPLORER. They should be labeled according to the controller port.


I'm using Windows 10.
What I have discovered is to,

  1. Let's right-click the Start Menu
  2. Select the Disc Management (7th one from the top)
  3. This box is broken into a top half and bottom half, we will be using the Bottom half
  4. Select the hard drive by clicking on the box and then right-click and select Properties
  5. Select the tab named VOLUMES, here you will find the Disk Number, Type, etc....
  6. I found doing this ALSO shows your USB connected Hard Drives Disk Numbers as well.

The Windows system drive has the windows Icon:

enter image description here

In this case, it is drive E.

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