June 02, 2008, 11:26 AM — USB flash drives are handy devices and I often use them at work and home. For example, when I'm working on my test network and I need to install a new computer configured in a particular way, I simply pop a product DVD into the machine, plug in a flash drive that has the appropriate answer file, start the machine, and let an unattended install work its magic. And when I need to quickly transfer a file between my main workstation and an isolated machine on my test network, copying it onto a flash drive is a quick and easy way to do this.
One thing I noticed however is that the number of flash drives in my drawer has been growing steadily. Some have junk on them, others have answer files or other configuration files, and still others are being used for temporary backups. A problem arises however because drive letter assignments for flash drives aren't persistent. So when I plug two flash drives into my workstation simultaneously, a window pops open for each drive, but which is which? Let's see. I just copied a script to my F: drive -- Is that the candy-red drive attached to my BMW keychain, or did I just copy it by mistake to the ugly green drive with the rubber band around it?
In this situation it would help if it was possible to assign a flash drive a persistent drive letter. Can this be done? Yes! Plug in the flash drive you usually use to transfer scripts from your workstation to your test network. A window opens showing the contents of F: drive. Now open Computer Management, select Disk Management, right-click on F: drive (your flash drive) and change the drive letter to something like S: for scripts. Now whenever you plug this particular flash drive into your workstation, it opens a window for S: drive, and you'll say "S ... that's for Scripts yeah" and if make similar drive letter assignments for other flash drives, you'll be able to navigate your way around your Explorer windows, especially when you have more than one flash drive plugged in. Just don't try and do this with more than 26 flash drives! Well, 24 actually, since A and B are reserved for floppies. Or 23 since C: is your system drive. Or maybe 22 if you have a DVD-ROM drive. Anyways, you get the idea.