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Forcing usb drive to keep a fixed drive letter

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February 14, 2013 12:48:09 PM

Hello,
I am working with a local history group on transcribing data from photographs of old documents. Character recognition programs can't cope with the quality of the documents. We would like to give people a selection of photographs for them to transcribe on to a usb stick. I have created a small Access database with a front end in Visual Basic 6. The database has a fixed file path which defaults to the usb stick it was created on. Some of the people we hope to enrol as transcribers have machines running XP other have Windows 7. When a usb stick is plugged into a different machine from the one that created it it assumed the next free drive letter but then the database will not work. Some of these people are elderly and I cannot expect them to start tinkering with control panel to change the drive letter. Does anyone know of a simple way of forcing a usb drive to change the drive letter to a specific letter and will work on both XP and Win7 machines AND which will sit on the usb stick itself. I don't want the stick to have any lasting effect on the machine that it is plugged into. Any suggestions would be welcome.
a b G Storage
February 14, 2013 1:01:03 PM

Drive letter assignment is normally done automatically by Windows, so I'd be surprised if there's a way to force it to a given letter on other machines (especially since any given letter might be already be in use on some machine, either as a local drive or as an alias to a local or network folder). I suggest you modify the VB6 front end to check multiple drive letters and check the volume label or for an identifier file you add to the usb stick.
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February 14, 2013 1:11:45 PM

Don't have enough programming knowledge to do that. There doesn't seem to be a way of doing it, the database file path can't be changed once created... ideally I could do with a batch file that works with both XP and Win7 that will change the drive letter - I did try one on XP but results varied...
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a c 85 G Storage
February 14, 2013 1:19:48 PM

I've never seen anything to do what you want because USB devices are hardware, and added to the machine, which typically grabs the available drive. I've known people that move the next available drive(in windows) to something other than what it normally is (to K ) which forces the first usb stick to the K drive. This may not do what you actually want. I also have seen where some people actually will just change the drive letter of a specific USB stick, and Windows 7 seems to keep the mapping after removing the usb device and adding it back in.

You could also try this:
http://www.uwe-sieber.de/usbdlm_e.html
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February 14, 2013 1:30:51 PM

I have e-mailed the writer of USBDLM but that resides on the PC - I don't have access to all the PC's so the programme would need to reside on the usb stick itself. I suppose I could create separate usb sticks for XP and Win7 but still need a method of changing the drive letter on insertion. :-(
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