>Windows Explorer: Display Drive Letters Before Drive Names


Hard disk drives, devices with removable storage and network locations are displayed with their name followed by their drive letter. The device names can be customized which is for instance helpful to distinguish between different hard drives since the default naming convention lists them all as Local Disk inWindows Explorer.

The convention to display drive names before drive letters works well if only a few drives and devices are connected, or if you have customized the names to improve identification.

Problems may arise if a lot of different drives and devices are connected to the computer. Think of 10, 15 or 20 different drives connected to the computer, each either with a default name or a customized name.

You may prefer to switch to a different naming convention to improve the device identification in Windows Explorer.

The Registry key ShowDriveLettersFirst determines the order of drive letters and names in Windows Explorer. The following values can be set:

  • 0 – Default. Drive letters are displayed after the drive description.
  • 1 – Show local drive letters after description and network drive letters before the drive name.
  • 2 – Display no drive letter at all
  • 4 – Show all drive letters before the drive names

The key does not exist by default and needs to be added to the Windows registry. To do that use the shortcut Windows-r to open the run prompt, type regedit and press enter.

Now navigate to the following Windows Registry key:


Right-click on the right side and select New > DWord (32-bit) Value. Paste the key’s nameShowDriveLettersFirst into the form and press enter again. Double-click the key afterwards and use one of the values in the listing above. To display drive letters first you need to set the value to 4.

The new setting becomes available after a system restart. You can alternatively kill the explorer.exe process and restart it afterwards which would make the changes visible without a restart of the Windows system.


About nonerox

Btech Student
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