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Assigning a Windows drive letter to a removable media brings a "Specified file cannot be found" error
I seem to be the only one over the planet to get this problem, as I spent 1,5 hours to find a solution and I couldn't even find a question...
One of my Sandisk SD Card has a strange behaviour. It's used in my Nikon camera. It works there flawlessly.
However when I insert it to a SD Card reader (tried three computers with different reader manufacturers) the drive letter disappears from Windows Explorer. I then look for it the Drive manager: it's recognized (size and name) but with no drive letter.
So now I try to assign a drive letter, I click... and I get the following error message: "The specified file cannot be found" (sorry , translated from french). Same on the three Windows computers.
Using Recuva I could get the files back from the card, no problem. It's just a problem of assigning a drive letter I guess.
Any clue on what's going on? I may be an experienced Windows power user, but that one got me stuck... Thank you.
- This isn’t a unique problem. Have you tried any of these solutions? – Ramhound Mar 23, 2021 at 3:04
- This might also be a solution – Ramhound Mar 23, 2021 at 3:10
- Oh, man, @Ramhound, you are right, I'm not alone! Honestly, I searched everything, but it looks like the french message did not translate in what I was looking for... Unfortunately, all these solutions have already been tried. I can use my SD card on the camera and on Ubuntu, it's just Windows having trouble. I gave up and bought a new one. I'll keep this one for Ubuntu boot disk :) – Ninj Mar 24, 2021 at 1:00
- So you have reformatted the card? – Ramhound Mar 24, 2021 at 1:24
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Drive Letter Not Available - Why and How to Solve It?
Can’t assign drive letter in Disk Management because a certain drive letter is not available? Follow this article to solve it efficiently.
- The issue: drive letter not available
Why would a certain drive letter become unavailable?
- How to fix the issue of drive letter not available?
Assign drive letters in Windows with a powerful freeware
The issue: drive letter not available .
Drive letters are alphabetical identifiers for all the drives on the computer, such as internal hard disks, optical drives, SD cards, and external USB drives. If a drive loses its drive letter, you can’t directly access files saved in it and all programs relying on the drive letter can’t run properly.
Usually, Windows assigns drive letters for each drive it detects automatically. You may assign drive letters manually in Disk Management under specific circumstances. Here is a real case:
“I just upgraded from windows 7 pro to windows 10 pro and many of my drive letters were changed. I can't change them back using Disk Management because the letters I need are not available to select from. All of my applications point to a drive &quo and that letter is not available. Only letters available are: I, L, M, N, P, Q, R, S, T, & V. This needs to be fixed. I can't spend lots of time reconfiguring my programs and shortcuts to point to a new drive letter.”
This user can’t assign drive letter in Disk Management because the letter D is not available. How comes the issue of drive letter not available?
If you find a certain drive letter missing from the list of available drive letters in Disk Management, it could be caused by:
▪ You have permanently assigned drive letter for an external hard drive, so the letter is reserved for the drive although it is removed. ▪ The drive letter is occupied by a hidden removable device or DVD/CD-ROM.
Then, how to free up a drive letter currently in use?
How to fix the drive letter not available issue?
To fix unavailable drive letters, you may need to make some modifications in Registry. Following are the detailed steps:
1. Press Windows Key + R to open the Run dialogue. Type regedit and press Enter or click “ OK ” to open the Registry Editor.
2. Expand the entries on the left-hand pane to navigate to the following path:
3. Right-click on the device with the drive letter you want and select Rename . Change the letter to any other unused letter to free up the current one.
4. Close Registry Editor and restart your computer.
The unavailable drive letter should be released after rebooting. The next thing to do is to assign the released letter to the drive as you want.
Since you already know how to assign drive letters in Disk Management, I’d like to introduce a powerful freeware to you, which can be used as an alternative. It is AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard .
As a specialized partition manager, it can not only help you change drive letters but also change partition type ID . It enables you to resize, move, merge and format partitions with just a few clicks. It supports all Windows PC operating systems like Windows 11/10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP. Now download it and follow the instructions below to assign drive letter for a particular drive via AOMEI Partition Assistant:
Step 1. Install and launch AOMEI Partition Assistant. Right-click the drive to which you want to assign a drive letter, select “ Advanced ” and then “ Change Drive Letter ”.
Step 2. Select the released drive letter in the pop-up window.
Step 3. Click “ Apply ” to view pending operation and then “ Proceed ” to commit the operation.
When you encounter the issue of drive letter not available in Windows 11/10/8/7, you can fix it using Registry Editor. To assign drive letter for a particular drive, you can choose Disk Management or AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. If you upgrade to Porfessional version, you can enjoy more functions, such as converting system disk between MBR and GPT, erasing SSD, etc.
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Unable to Change Letter or Assign Drive Letter to D/E/F/G
EaseUS Partition Master is a third-party Disk Management equivalent program, which is rated as the top Windows disk management tools in 2020, that overcomes the shortcomings of Disk Management and gives people the other way to solve the most common hard disk problems. Here, when you can't change drive letter in Disk Management, you'll use this alternative software to continue.
Change A Drive Letter in Disk Management
It's supposed to be easy to change a drive letter to a needed one or assign a new drive letter, except the default C: for system partition/boot partition. Theoretically, any letter among D, E, F, G, H... can be chosen and used for other primary partitions or logical partitions. Here's how you change, add or assign a letter of the alphabet to the desired drive in Windows Disk Management. Note that you must be logged on as an administrator to perform the following steps.
Step 1: Open "Disk Management" under Storage by right-clicking "Computer/This PC" > "Manage".
Step 2: Right-click the drive that you want to change, and then click "Change Drive Letter and Paths".
In the next step, you can do any one of the following:
- (1) To assign a drive letter, click Add, click the letter that you want to use, and then click OK.
- (2) To change a drive letter, click Change, click Assign the following drive letter, click the letter that you want to use, and then click OK.
- (3) To remove a drive letter, click Remove, and then click Yes to confirm that you want to remove it.
Why Can't Change Drive Letter As Wanted
Change drive letter and paths grayed out in Disk Management? How to fix the issue of not being able to make a change to the existing hard drive letter? For example, change D to E, or assign a new drive letter as wanted to a newly created hard drive. See what is causing the problem and how to get rid of it.
- The drive you're trying to change might be in use, so you are disallowed to make any changes to it. Just close the program or Window that is using the drive and try again.
- The drive you're working on is either a system partition or a boot partition. You can't make changes to it.
- When you change a letter or assign a new letter to a certain drive but suddenly found that the letter you wanted is unavailable in the drive letter drop-down list, however, the letter is not taken by another drive. Then it might tell you that the letter has already been used by some external storage media that is being connected to the computer right now.
Usually, the rule of the Windows drive letter assignment is like this.
Windows uses MountMgr to manage drive letters. MountMgr will assign the next available drive letter to each device added, regardless of type. With the system drive assigned the letter C, there may be other IDE, SATA or USB devices, such as a DVD ROM or a Flash drive assigned to letters D and E. When adding another drive, Windows will assign the next drive letter available, which in this case would be the drive letter H:
So if there are some external storage devices inserted into the computer, unplug it, and try it again.
If all the listed circumstances go against your case, e.g., the H letter is not being used by another internal or external drive, but it's still unavailable, then try to fix it with other capable partition manager software .
How to Fix Unable to Change Drive Letter and Paths in Windows 11/10/8/7
Besides the situation we mentioned that the option of changing a drive letter in Disk Management is greyed out, there are some other similar errors that will prevent you from completing the job as expected. For example:
- Logical Disk Manager says "Parameter is Incorrect"
- Drive letter missing from the list of available drive letters (Drive letter not available)
Whenever you're trying to change, add or assign a drive letter to a local drive or external hard drive in Disk Management, but failed somehow, you need an alternative tool that can fix the error and move on. EaseUS free partition manager works almost the same with Windows Disk Management in managing a hard drive or a removable/external hard disk, including to change a drive letter and paths.
Step 1. Run EaseUS Partition Master, right-click the target partition, and choose "Change Drive Letter".
Step 2. In the new window, click the down arrow and choose a drive letter for the partition from the drop-down menu, then click "OK".
Step 3. Click the "Execute 1 Task(s)" button in the top-left corner, check the changes, and click "Apply" to change the drive letter of the selected partition.
To change a drive letter in Windows 11/10/8/7 for drive D/E/F/G or an external drive is a very elementary function we can find in Disk Management. However, this tiny modification sometimes would disappoint us, and we can't change drive letter there.
The reasons might be hard to tell, but with EaseUS Partition Master, the third-party comprehensive disk & partition manager, it can be very simple to solve the problem of not being able to change drive letter or assign a new one to a drive. As a matter of fact, it can replace 100% of the functions in Disk Management, in addition, offer many more practical functions that you can't enjoy in the default program. For example, copy partition, merge partitions , migrate OS to HDD/SSD, check partition errors, etc. Download the free partition manager and explore the massive features by yourself.
How Can We Help You
Updated by Daisy
Daisy is the Senior editor of the writing team for EaseUS. She has been working in EaseUS for over ten years, starting from a technical writer to a team leader of the content group. As a professional author for over 10 years, she writes a lot to help people overcome their tech troubles.
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I love that the changes you make with EaseUS Partition Master Free aren't immediately applied to the disks. It makes it way easier to play out what will happen after you've made all the changes. I also think the overall look and feel of EaseUS Partition Master Free makes whatever you're doing with your computer's partitions easy.
Partition Master Free can Resize, Move, Merge, Migrate, and Copy disks or partitions; convert to local, change label, defragment, check and explore partition; and much more. A premium upgrade adds free tech support and the ability to resize dynamic volumes.
It won't hot image your drives or align them, but since it's coupled with a partition manager, it allows you do perform many tasks at once, instead of just cloning drives. You can move partitions around, resize them, defragment, and more, along with the other tools you'd expect from a cloning tool.
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SD Card Reader Won't Show in File Explorer? Here's How to Fix It
It's annoying when your SD card won't show up in File Explorer, but there are ways to fix it.
You can connect your SD card reader to your computer using a built-in card reader or an external adapter. However, at times, your computer may fail to detect the portable devices. As a result, your SD card won't show in File Explorer.
Poor contact, driver issues, data corruption, and virus infection are all common reasons for an SD card not appearing in the File Explorer. Here are a few troubleshooting tips to help you fix this issue on your Windows computer.
Reasons Why Your SD Card Reader Is Not Working on Windows 10
Devices may not show up in your File Explorer due to temporary glitches. However, if reconnecting the SD card reader doesn't fix the issue, here are a few common reasons why it may happen.
- Your SD card reader is not firmly connected to your computer.
- The SD card file system is corrupted.
- You're using an outdated device driver.
- The SD card is infected with a virus.
- The SD card is missing a drive letter.
Fortunately, if your SD card reader is not showing up, you can fix it by following these troubleshooting steps.
1. Clean the SD Card and Adapter
If you haven’t used your SD card for a long time, the contacts on the card and the adapter may have accumulated dust and debris. Your computer may fail to recognize or detect the SD card because it can't establish a proper connection to read the device.
Clean any dust you see on your SD card and the adapter. Then, connect the cleaned SD card reader firmly and wait for the computer to detect the memory. For USB-based adapters, switch USB ports to see if that helps.
2. Assign a Drive Letter to Your SD Card
Each memory device connected to your system is assigned a drive letter by default. If these identifiers are missing, you will not be able to access files stored in the drive directly.
You can check whether your SD card reader has a drive letter assigned to it or not from the Disk Management utility. If it is missing, you can assign a new one in a few clicks.
To check if your SD card is missing a drive letter:
- Press the Windows key + R to open Run.
- Type diskmgmt.msc and click OK . You can also search "Disk Management" in the Windows search bar to open the utility.
- In Disk Management, check if your SD card reader is detected under volume and if it has a drive letter assigned such as I, E, F , etc.
- If it's missing, right-click on the SD card reader and choose Change Drive Letter and Path .
- In the Add Driver or Path window, click on Add . This will assign a new drive letter to your SD card reader.
Close the Disk Management tool. Disconnect and reconnect your SD card reader and check if it shows up in File Explorer.
Related: How to Change Drive Letters in Windows
Is the drive letter available, but the SD card is still not showing up in File Explorer? In that case, it's time to run the Check Disk utility to check and fix any memory card errors.
3. Check SD Card Errors With CHKDSK
Check Disk (CHKDSK) is a Windows utility that scans your drivers for errors. It can scan drives for file system errors and bad sectors and fix them automatically. Here’s how to use CHKDSK to scan for and fix any SD card errors.
- Open the Disk Management utility.
- Right-click on your SD card under Volume and choose Properties.
- Open the Tools tab in the Properties window.
- Click the Check button under the Error Checking section.
- Select Scan and repair drive.
- Windows will scan the drive for errors and fix them automatically.
- Click Close and restart your computer. After the restart, check for any improvements.
If CHKDSK doesn't find or fix any errors, you can use the Device Manager to find the errors affecting your SD card reader.
Related: What Is the Difference Between CHKDSK, SFC, and DISM in Windows 10?
4. Check Your SD Card for Errors in Device Manager
Your SD card reader may not show up in File Explorer because it's throwing up an error message, but the computer isn't showing you what that error message is. In such a situation, you can use the Device Manager to find the error. Here’s how to do it.
- Type devmgmt.msc and click OK to open Device Manager.
- In Device Manager, expand the Portable Devices category.
- Check if your SD card is listed with a yellow exclamation mark. If it is, right-click on the device and choose Properties .
- In the Properties window, open the General tab and check the Device status .
The device status shows if your device is enabled or disabled, followed by an error code or message. If there is an error message, perform a quick search on the internet for it to find solutions.
5. Update Your SD Card Drivers
Your computer may fail to recognize or detect the external storage device due to outdated or missing device drivers. Fortunately, you can easily update device drivers from Device Manager . Here’s how to do it.
- Press the Windows Key + X to open the WinX menu.
- Choose Device Manager from the options.
- In Device Manager, expand the Disk Drives section and locate your SD card.
- If it has a yellow exclamation mark, right-click and choose Update drivers .
- Select Search automatically for drivers. Windows will scan for compatible drivers. If found, it will automatically download and install the required drivers.
After the drivers are installed, restart your PC. Connect your SD card reader again and check if it shows up in File Explorer. If the problem persists, perform a driver reinstall.
Reinstall the SD Card Driver
If updating the device driver did not help, try reinstalling the SD card driver. You can perform driver updates and reinstallation from the Device Manager. Here’s how to do it.
- Open Device Manager.
- Expand the Disk Drivers category.
- Right-click on your SD card device driver.
- Choose Uninstall Device . Click Uninstall to confirm the action if a prompt appears.
- Once uninstalled, restart your PC and connect the SD card reader. It will automatically detect and reinstall the required drivers.
6. Check Your SD Card for Data Corruption
A corrupted SD card may not show up in File Explorer. To make sure your SD card is not corrupted, insert it into another computer or SD card compatible device.
If it doesn't work on other devices, you may have a file system corruption issue. A quick file system format can fix issues that may have occurred due to corruption. Here’s how to do it.
- Press the Windows key + R .
- Type diskmgmt.msc and click OK to open Disk Management utility.
- Locate your SD card in the Volume section.
- To format the storage drive, right-click and choose Format .
- Choose the Volume label/name , file system and leave the a llocation unit size to default.
- Click OK to format your SD card with a compatible file system.
Formatting your SD card will erase all the data. However, if it is only the option left, you still be able to recover data from a reformatted driver .
What if the SD Card Doesn't Show Up in Disk Management or Device Manager?
If your SD card is not showing up in Disk Management and Device Manager, check the SD card reader for hardware issues. A faulty card adapter is a common cause for SD cards not showing up in Windows File Explorer.
Connecting your card reader to another PC should help you confirm any existing hardware issues. Opt for a USB adapter if the built-in card reader stops working.
Now Your SD Card Will Show in File Explorer
Windows automatically detects portable storage devices such as SD cards and shows them in File Explorer. If your SD card is missing from the File Explorer, check for drive corruption, missing drive letter, or hardware failure.
SD cards are a handy way to extend your phone's memory, but did you know that there are a few reasons why you may want to skip putting one into an Android phone?
An alternative way without moving or assigning a drive letter, would be to access the disk via Linux on Windows. Linux does support multiple partitions in USB disks. You could for example install Ubuntu from the Microsoft Store, then use Ubuntu tools to access the disk. Share Improve this answer Follow answered Jul 13, 2019 at 21:10 harrymc
I then look for it the Drive manager: it's recognized (size and name) but with no drive letter. So now I try to assign a drive letter, I click... and I get the following error message: "The specified file cannot be found" (sorry , translated from french). Same on the three Windows computers.
Reinserted the card and it would not let me change the drive letter and gave some instructions one of which was to restart the computer. removed the card and restarted the computer. After starting I inserted the card and there was no drive letter but was able to add a letter and It took B.
To fix unavailable drive letters, you may need to make some modifications in Registry. Following are the detailed steps: 1. Press Windows Key + R to open the Run dialogue. Type regedit and press Enter or click “ OK ” to open the Registry Editor. 2. Expand the entries on the left-hand pane to navigate to the following path:
Windows Key+X > Click Disk Management > If you see your SD card is listed there but there is no Drive Letter > Right Click it > Click Change Drive Letter and Paths > Add > Click Assign the following drive Letter > Click in the Drive Letter List Box > Choose an appropriate Drive Letter > OK > OK
From the upper pane, it seems none of the partitions on drive 2 have drive letters. Note that Disk Management will not allow you to assign a drive letter to certain partitions created by a Windows install. You might prefer to right click the name of a partition in the upper pane, and then if Change Drive letter... is available, click that.
Run EaseUS Partition Master, right-click the target partition, and choose "Change Drive Letter". Step 2. In the new window, click the down arrow and choose a drive letter for the partition from the drop-down menu, then click "OK". Step 3. Click the "Execute 1 Task (s)" button in the top-left corner, check the changes, and click "Apply" to ...
If it's missing, right-click on the SD card reader and choose Change Drive Letter and Path. In the Add Driver or Path window, click on Add . This will assign a new drive letter to your SD card reader. Close the Disk Management tool. Disconnect and reconnect your SD card reader and check if it shows up in File Explorer.