Drive Letters and Disk Numbers

Drive Letters and Disk Numbers

Here we can see, “Drive Letters and Disk Numbers”

Letters to Drive

Windows assigns letters to actual drives on your computer, making it much easier to figure out what’s going on.

The problem with Windows’ technique of marking physical volumes and partitions is that if you are dual-boot, you’ll almost always have overlapped. If you dual-boot right now, it’s all too likely that you’ll have separate partition names “facing” each operating system that doesn’t add up. To elucidate (as an example):

Windows XP (installed on the first partition of the first drive) sees:

  1. C:\ for the XP partition
  2. D:\ for the Vista partition
  3. E:\ for a common data partition shared between the two

Windows Vista (sitting on the first partition of the second drive) sees:

  1. C:\ for the Vista partition
  2. D:\ for the XP partition
  3. E:\ for the data partition

So, how should you use drive letters in EasyBCD? It’s actually fairly simple: Use the drive letters that the operating system you’re presently booted into recognizes!

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EasyBCD “translates” the letters seen by the current OS into drive and partition numbers. So, if EasyBCD asks for the Vista drive and you’re using XP, tell it D: because that’s what XP thinks it is. It doesn’t matter what Vista thinks; what matters is the operating system you’re using right now.

Numbers on the Move

Different operating systems use different methods to number their disks and partitions. The dispute over whether “0” or “1” should be considered the “first number” in any index-based series is as old as time itself.


The Linux Camp accomplished it rationally The majority of the time. When dealing with Linux hard drive and partition numbers, start at zero and work your way up. The second partition of the first hard drive, for example, is (hd0,1). It’s really straightforward: (hdd,p), where the second ‘d’ represents the drive number and the ‘p’ represents the partition number.

(hdx,y) syntax

(hd0,0)   first primary partition on first hard disk
(hd0,1)   second primary partition
(hd0,2)   third primary partition
(hd0,3)   fourth primary partition (usually an extended partition)
(hd0,4)   first logical partition
(hd0,5)   second logical partition ...

When dealing with drives and devices under Linux, though, you’ll be surprised (and properly so) to learn that they’ve abandoned the simple numbering approach in favour of a combination of letters and numbers as well as categories!

Other grammatical structures

The various kind of “numbers” you’ll come across in the Linux world:

  • hd(#,#)
  • hdL#
  • sdL#

“L” is a small-case letter, and “#” is a number in the list above. hd(#,#) has already been mentioned and is primarily used in applications like Lilo and GRUB before booting into Linux.

sdX vs hdY

hdL# and sdL# are a little more perplexing than sdX vs hdY. The letters “h” and “s” distinguish IDE/ATA and SATA/SCSI drives, respectively. Even more perplexing, the numbering system now resets to one! So hdb3 is the third partition of your PC’s second IDE drive, whereas sda2 is the second partition of your PC’s first SCSI disk. Are you perplexed yet?

Things are just going to get worse. Linux doesn’t recognize sda1 as a drive; it’s just a string of letters and numbers. You must prefix the letter and number combination with /dev/ to make Linux understand what you want. So, if you’re in the console and want Linux to access the second partition of the third SCSI device, you’ll need to type /dev/sdc2.

Ironically, certain Linux versions (primarily Ubuntu) now utilize sdL# notation for everything in an attempt to make things “easier.” They’ve basically “merged” the two hdL# and sdL# lists into one, which makes things a little easier… Except, of course, you have no idea whether IDE or SATA drives are listed first!


Microsoft may have chosen an unorthodox technique of “counting” the disks and partitions, but at the very least, they kept to it. Despite its strangeness, it’s rather simple if you figure out what’s going on:

Drives begin counting at 0 in Windows (and so in EasyBCD for the most part), while partitions begin at 1! As a result, drive 0, partition 2, is the initial hard disk’s second partition. The first partition of the fourth drive is Drive 3 partition 1, and so on.

This may appear strange at first, but there’s a reason for it. Setting the partition to zero in Windows allows you to access the MBR of each device (something EasyBCD performs frequently). As a result, drive 0 partitions 0 is the first hard disk’s MBR. However, you will never refer to the MBR when using EasyBCD or most other Windows apps, so just remember that drives begin at 0 and partitions begin at 1. Even with the boot on. ini.


I hope you found this information helpful. Please fill out the form below if you have any questions or comments.

User Questions

1. What does the term “disk number” imply?

The four digits on a disc golf disc are a flight rating system that represents the genuine qualities of the disc as it travels through the air, such as speed, glide, turn, and fade. In other words, how a disc is supposed to fly.

2. What is the meaning of a disk drive letter?

A drive letter is a single alphabetic character A through Z that is assigned to a physical computer drive or drive partition. It is also known as a device letter. A: The drive letter is allocated to a computer with a 3 1/2″ floppy diskette drive, for example.

3. What is the number on my disk?

Open a command prompt with elevated privileges. wmic diskdrive get a command that you can type or copy-paste. Name, Manufacturer, Model, InterfaceType, MediaType, and SerialNumber are the elements that make up a serial number. The model, name, and serial number for the mounted hard disks are listed in the output.

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4. Time Saving Tip: Force Windows to display the ‘Hard Drive Serial Number’ used by any ‘Drive Letter’ – No need to label drives?

Time Saving Tip: Force Windows to display the ‘Hard Drive Serial Number’ used by any ‘Drive Letter’ – No need to label drives? from chia

5. Anyone else label their volumes according to the matching drive model number? What other methods of user cognitive overhead reduction do you use?

Anyone else label their volumes according to the matching drive model number? What other methods of user cognitive overhead reduction do you use? from DataHoarder