Mar 182008

This tip works for any partition of any NTFS formatted drive (except the partition with the Windows system files on it)… Windows XP, like 2000 before it, allows you to ‘mount’ drives as folders in a pre-existing logical drive. For example, if you had a computer with a 20GB disk formatted into a single partition and volume (drive c:), you could purchase a second drive, partition and format it from disk manager and then instead of giving it its own drive letter, add it to your c: drive as a directory. Any files added to that directory would of course be stored in the new HD.

This can come in extremely handy, as certain applications (databases come to mind) can grow extremely large, but may not support storing data on a (logically) separate drive.

As far as Windows is concerned, a drive mounted as a directory is just a directory, so no extra drive letters are involved. This can also cut down on storage confusion for the average user, and it’s easy to do, though it can only be done with NTFS formatted partitions, and obviously the boot partition cannot be used this way, though other partitions can be added to the boot partition.

Also note that shuffling the partition around in this way has no effect on the data stored in it. You can move an NTFS partition from directory to directory, then give it back a drive letter if you choose, while maintaining complete access to the data inside. No reboot is necessary. One other note: If you have installed software on a partition you plan to mount as a directory, it is best to uninstall and reinstall it, since the move may stop the software from working correctly. Windows will warn you about this if you forget my wise words.

Procedure to follow

Right click on My Computer click on Manage

This will open disk manager, the right click on the partition you wish to mount as a directory in the graphical partition window (lower pane). Select ‘change drive letter and paths…’

Remove the current option (if any), then click add.

Choose the ‘mount in the following empty NTFS folder,’ browse to the desired volume and add a directory for your drive. Click ‘ok.’ That’s it.

If you wish to return things back to the way they were, simply repeat the procedure, removing the directory location and choosing a drive letter instead. The data on the drive will be unharmed.

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  One Response to “How to mount an External drive partition as directory in XP”

  1. So you can only do this in windoze for ntfs? in *nix you can do it with any file system.

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