Posted on July 24, 2015 · Posted in Windows 8

Show Drive Letters First in Windows Explorer

By default, in Windows Explorer a drive letter is displayed after its name. In the folder settings there is an option to completely hide the drive letters, but no option to display a drive letter before its name. Let’s consider how to do it with a little registry tweak.

In Explorer, the disks are displayed in the following format: Local Disk (C:). The drive letter is shown in brackets after the drive label (drive name). If there are a lot of disks in the system, it happens that due to long labels a drive letter might not fit in Explorer Window or be hidden by the  border of the directory tree.

Drive names before drive letters in Windows

To get rid of it, you don’t have to rename your disks to make them shorter. In Windows, there is a hidden feature that allows to display a drive letter before its name. Do the following:

  • Open the Registry Editor — regedit.exe
  • Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer    
  • Create a new 32-bit DWORD parameter with the name ShowDriveLettersFirst
  • Set ShowDriveLettersFirst value equal to 4ShowDriveLettersFirst

Note. ShowDriveLettersFirst can be assigned one of the following values:

0 – show the drive letter AFTER its name (by default)

1 – show network drive names before their names (local disks are displayed in a standard way)

2 – hide all drive letters

4 – show drive letters after the volume labels

Now you only have to close your session and log in again. As we can see, the drive letters are shown first in Windows Explorer.

Show drive letterbefore drive names in Windows 8

This tweak works in all Windows versions from XP to Windows 10.

Tip. If the tweak didn’t work, try to find ShowDriveLettersFirst key in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer. It may override a user setting. 

If you have to apply this setting to all PCs in the domain, it’s easier to do it using GPP (Group Policy Preferences).

To do it, in User Configuration -> Preferences -> Windows Settings -> Registry create a new registry parameter with the following settings:

Action: ReplaceHive: HKEY_CURRENT_USER

Key path: SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\

Value: ShowDriveLettersFirst (REG_DWORD)

Value Data: 4

ShowDriveLettersFirst GPP policy

Save the policy and assign it to the necessary OU in Active Directory tree.

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