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What to Do When Windows Shows Two Different Drive Letters for the Same Disk


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It’s a somewhat rare problem, but on occasion, Windows might display the same hard disk or partition twice using different drive letters. Thankfully, there’s usually a simple solution.

This is almost always the result of either a user or program having created a virtual drive that maps to your real drive. These virtual drives are not like drives created with virtual software, but something more like a shortcut or symbolic link that just points one location to another. The virtual drive doesn’t show up in the Disk Management tool (because it isn’t a real drive), but you can remove it using the Command Prompt. Here’s how.

First, open up the Command Prompt by right-clicking the Start menu (or pressing Windows+X) and clicking Command Prompt.

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At the prompt, type the following command:

subst <virtualdriveletter> /d

Where <virtualdriveletter> is the additional letter assigned to the drive. If you’re unsure which is the additional drive letter, open up Disk Management (click Start and type “create and format hard disk partitions) and see which one shows up there. The one that shows up will be the real drive. The one that does not will be the virtual drive.

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In the case of our example, Disk Management confirms that C: is our real drive, meaning that G: is our virtual drive. So, our command for removing it would look like this:

subst G: /d

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Once you issue the command, the virtual drive should disappear immediately. No need to restart Windows or anything. And that’s all you have to do. It’s a problem that doesn’t crop up much, but when it does, it can be frustrating. And now you know how to fix it.

Walter Glenn is a long time computer geek and tech writer. Though he’s mostly a Windows and gadget guy, he has a fondness for anything tech. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter.


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