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Fixes for WinXP Ignoring Novell Disk Mapping? 121

Posted by Cliff
from the map-net-drives-from-the-end-of-the-alphabet dept.
Arcidius asks: "It's been a year and still nobody seems to have a real solution for getting USB devices to work under Windows XP in an Novell environment. If you're running Windows XP and Novell servers (NetWare 6 for us), Windows XP will show all drives available, even though usually many are have been drive mapped. When you plug in an external hard drive or USB device, Windows maps it to the first free drive letter, usually F:, but since Novell has mapped it already, you can't access the drive. The fix so far has been to manually remap the memory key to a free letter, such as B:, and this has to be done on every machine. Either that, or switch your first mapped drive, which is more of a problem in most environments. Since Novell can't figure out a solution, (and Microsoft obviously doesn't care), I throw it to Slashdot. Does anyone have a real, network wide solution?"
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Fixes for WinXP Ignoring Novell Disk Mapping?

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  • by IntelliAdmin (941633) * on Thursday May 25, 2006 @11:46PM (#15407340) Homepage
    I have heard of others using this program http://www.uwe-sieber.de/usbdlm_e.html [uwe-sieber.de] to solve the issue you have. Have not used it myself, so I cannot say how good or bad the utility is

    Windows Admin Tricks and Tips [intelliadmin.com]
    www.intelliadmin.com

  • Create a global login script which runs for all users, check out the map root function in particular.

    You can do all sorts of things with a global login script and other tweaks on a per-user basis. (We have scripts which ensure current versions of various software are installed on user machines, checks versions of the Novell client based on the client OS, etc.

  • by SCPRedMage (838040) on Friday May 26, 2006 @12:00AM (#15407391)
    I fail to see how this is a Novell issue, since this will occur with ANY network share mapped to a drive letter, even in a Windows domain.
    • Not as far as I have seen. I have several SAMBA servers that I map to from my main gaming box. removable storage quite nicely takes drive letters outside that range when plugged in.

      Now in the case of Novell, what I have learned is that if you map from the end of the alphabet back (say, start your mapped drives at Z and work back) you avoid the collisions.

      I still don't understand why anyone would use Netware unless they were forced to test with it though...
      • Actualy, You have set up the device key to use a different drive letter. When you form at a device in XP it asigns a drive leter and checks to use that letter when ever it is pluged in. You can check this by taking the device to another computer with more or less cdroms then the one you normaly use. You will see either the same problem as the parent poster or you will see a jump in the drive letter. I have two clients who installed IDE DVD burners within the last year or so and they constantly complain that
        • I can honestly say I've never seen this. I have two DVD burners, two USB hard drives, 3 flash drives, a card reader that shows up as 5 drives, and a few network shares to various servers.

          These devices are often unplugged, moved around, put in different computers, etc., and I've never once seen anything worse than one of my DVD burners getting it's drive letter changed when I temporarily installed an IDE hard drive and moved the DVD burner to slave (small case + cable-select).

          Even between two Windows instal
          • It only happens if you have a default share in your login script assigned to a low enough drive letter. If all drive letters A-E are filled up, and F is mapped in the login script, this can "hide" a USB drive plugged in after login comming in on Drive F. The really curious thing is what happens with my multi-card reader: everything EXCEPT the CF card shows up quite nicely, but that one requires remapping to a letter other than F.
        • USB keys do not remember there newly assigned letters. I am constantyl relettering my usb key.

          I am also in a windows only enviroment
      • I don't understand why anyone would continue with the default drive letter assignments at all. That is a damn good way to install a drive and find no applications can find your CDs anymore.

        I have a computer. The hard drives partitions are C, L, M, and K. The CDs are S (real) and V (virtual).

        I can access these drives over the network from any computer in the house using the same drive letter, at least the ones I have mapped.

        If you start installing drives and let them go wherever you want, you will end up

    • Just about every organization I have consulted for has assigned the shared drives to high drive letters.

      Something like S: for global shares, T: for team shares, P: for personal network storage, O: for organizational forms and memos.

      Just come up with something that makes sense within your company.

      BTW, when I build a PC at home, the first thing I do is move the drives around. I move the CD/DVD to Z: and my USB hard drive to U:.
      • Just about every organization I have consulted for has assigned the shared drives to high drive letters.
        Something like S: for global shares, T: for team shares, P: for personal network storage, O: for organizational forms and memos.
        Just come up with something that makes sense within your company.

        That's all well and good if you're in a mostly-centralized organisation. The problem can come, however, when there are different departments each with their own servers in additional to the central ones.
        It'

        • Just FYI, you don't have to use the letters. The Windows server world is moving away from the concept, using "Windows Distributed File System", part of which is more sensible names for shares.

          Still, since they have a Novell backend, that isn't going to help this guy.
      • I'm with you man, I think most sysadmins have the foresight to put mapped drives well away from physical drives. In companies I set up I usually start in the Z area for development stuff, and then M - T for user stuff. I've never seen anything higher than a I: on a workstation, and that was mine.
        A: Yeah, I still have one, not sure if it works.
        B: Never used a computer that actually had a B:
        C: BOOT
        D: Scratch
        E: CD
        F: Storage (Internal)
        G: Removeable External Firewire
        H: Daemon
        I: Daemon

        I could see anot
    • Indeed, I have exactly the same problem in a WinXP - Samba server environment, so this seems completely unrelated to Novell.

      When a user plugs in a USB drive, in some cases Windows will try to take a drive letter from a mapped network drive and fail. This is documented in a KB entry at MS, but without a solution.

      Admins can use diskmgmt.msc to assign another drive letter, but normal users or even power users are not allowed to use the disk management console.

      I have not found a solution to this problem, and MS
      • by rduke15 (721841) <rduke15 AT gmail DOT com> on Friday May 26, 2006 @05:58AM (#15408351)
        But, as mentionned in my parent post, no solution for non-admin users who cannot re-assign drive letters.

        New drive or mapped network drive not available in Windows Explorer [microsoft.com]:
        "This behavior occurs if you map a network drive to the first available drive letter after the drive letters for the local volumes and CD-ROM drives. When you install a new device or volume, Mount Manager, which assigns drive letters to volumes, does not recognize the mapped network drive and assigns the next available drive letter to the new device or volume. This causes a collision with the existing mapped network drive."
        • The solution for non admin users is to disconnect the mapped drive.

          I didnt say it was a good one, but that will work. refresh your view and you will get your usb device to show.
        • Maybe I'm just stupid, but why don't you solve this by mapping the network drives to later drive letters, such as W, X, Y, or Z? Then there's no collision.

          • Many reasons:

            • The letters used are easy to remember because they are related to the share's content. Most of them have been used for over 7 years. Changing them would make things unnecessarily difficult for the users.
            • Z: seems to be temporarily mapped by the login process, X: is the CD ROM drive (an old habit, so it doesn't move when adding drives/partitions), W: is the the CD Writer when there is one. In short: several are already used.
            • The lower letters are used by "net use * //server/share"

    • It happens here with our Nikon cameras. We plug them in to the USB port, and they show up as a removable drive. But F: is taken up by our networked drives (Windows XP network), and all of a sudden the camera quits showing up right.
  • Sometimes removable devices can also hijack drive letters of network drives. You can also induce this behavior by causing the network volume to go offline (disconnect machine), then have a piece of removable flash memory mount on the machine. Sometimes it will take over the now defunct network drive's letter.

    However, once the network drive comes back, you won't be able to reach it until you remove the flash memory.
  • It's not just Novell (Score:4, Informative)

    by natmsincome.com (528791) <adinobro@gmail.com> on Friday May 26, 2006 @12:12AM (#15407450) Homepage
    Hi,

    It happens with any mapped drive. If you map a drive as the next avalible letter then plug in a USB device it will do the same thing.
  • Patient: Doctor, it hurts when I use Netware like this!

    Doctor: Don't use Netware like that.

    -Peter
    • How much of that $337,000,000,000 was yours exactly?
      • Not much. Put every penny of it was ours.

        According to the Census Bureau the population is a little under 300M [census.gov]. The math shows $1127.74 per person in the US. If we reckon that 1/3 of people in the US don't pay taxes (I think this is a conservative guess given that children, homemakers, prisoners, and persons who are paid "off the books" don't pay tax) puts the per-taxpayer bill at about $1700.

        I make a decent living, but I certainly don't live a lavish lifestyle that allows me to shrug off an expenditure o
        • Thanks for the sensible reply. I think your argument is fair, and, while the breakdown of cost doesn't always make sense, it is probably never intended to.

          I would like to see a lot more transparency in the way that money is handled, just to see how much pork there really is. For every dollar spent on a given task, how much is spend on $1,000+/night hotel rooms for contractors, etc.

          I shot from the hip with my reply taking your sig literally.

          -cg
      • Answer (Score:1, Flamebait)

        by hummassa (157160)
        His gross income (accumulated since invading afghanistan) * Federal Tax total rate (in the US, something to the order of 25%) * 330,000,000,000 / Gross Federal Tax revenue
  • by tverbeek (457094) on Friday May 26, 2006 @12:19AM (#15407491) Homepage
    You have a solution: configure the Novell Client to use G as the first drive letter for automapped drives. Do you want someone here to come implement it for you, as well? It's a fairly simple software tweak. A few clicks on the client properties, or double-click a .REG file with the proper setting in it, etc. 10 seconds per workstation, tops. Less on a new install, since you're probably already setting the default tree and context. If your users can't do it themselves with a short e-mail explaining the steps, and you have too many of them and/or too few of you to do it for them... then your problem isn't this XP/Novell "bug" but a lack of proper support systems.
    • by Joiseybill (788712) on Friday May 26, 2006 @12:40AM (#15407563)
      Other Novell users have already solved this for you, too. Cool Solutions [novell.com]
      This covers installs with or without ZEN.
      +mod parent up - not a troll, he actually offered helpful info! Using a carefully crafted .reg file might actually preserve some level of security, too; isn't that the point of using Novell?
      • Why is that even necessary though? Are people really that stuck on using F: for Netware mappings?

        -matthew
        • Some might be tied pretty good. We use S for sys and V for vol. When we upgraded a server a few years back, we had alot of software that was keyed to those drive letters. We ran the new server one letter under while testing a certain app and when making the switch, we needed to change drive mappings for 8 different programs on 36 computers that not all of them had all 8 progams.

          Two of the programs required client reinstalls in order to use the new drive letters so it quickly became a pain in the ass. The re
          • Why would the software be "keyed" to the drive letter? What kind of software design is that?

            • An absolutely stupid one.

              But this is where the phrase "reality bites" comes from.
            • Its called other peoples software. Mostley acounting apps that were setup that way before i even thought about it. Why would they be keyed? data shares, configuration files and shared dlls, My favorite, activation software that compute a key from the data drive, installed directorys. there are a number of reasons. \

              But as the other poster replied, it is a stupid design. It happens though. And the instructions actualy suggest installing to a mapped drive instead of using unc names or ip numbers. I mostly ru
            • I see that A LOT of that kind of stuff. I tend to call it "Frankstein design" or "building by adding parts until you have a freak monster of an application"... It was a 10-line script at first (done for a one-time job) but with time, and stuff patched and ajusted, it became an important 10000 line application that drives the major financial database... No way to patch the thing because the last one who knew anything about it retired 3 years ago, and COBOL programmers aren't cheap these days...
            • Yes, I have users that do number crunching in a spreadsheet, and report writing in a word processor, and link the chart in the spreadsheet to a paragraph in the report. What were those people thinking?

              As someone else said: reality bites.

              We don't really want to tell the users to convert to UNC either. One particular E: drive on our network has been hosted over the years by no less than five different servers. If we keep the drive mapping = E:, the old document links still work.

              We do have a new CIO who may

              • We don't really want to tell the users to convert to UNC either. One particular E: drive on our network has been hosted over the years by no less than five different servers. If we keep the drive mapping = E:, the old document links still work.

                We do have a new CIO who may mandate that we change the drive letters in use. That's fine. If all the document linking breaks, and we can blame him instead of taking the blame ourselves, it should let us change the infrastructure to accommodate MS's pissing on our en

                • Your suggestion is what? No linking? Teach them to use the spreadsheet built into the word processor (and have two sets of data to maintain)? Print reports, and arrange to have certain page numbers skipped, so that a printout of the spreadsheet chart can be inserted before delivery? Kind of sucks for the manager that opens the file on disk, doesn't it?

                  "Don't do that" isn't exactly a helpful answer - and my job is to help my users.

                  Drive letter mappings are a good thing: how many tough problems in computer

                  • Drive letter mappings are a good thing: how many tough problems in computer science are solved by Yet Another Level Of Redirection? This is one of them.

                    Drive letter mapping isn't the problem. The problem is not having a good way to remap things if the drive letter changes. Most decent applications can deal with that. You simply tell it where to find the data that it needs. It's not a hardcoded driveletter. If you're using Excel or Word, you can update links to the new driveletter.

                    • IIRC, the ODMA people were going to try to extend things to allow a library identifier instead of just a drive letter. I think that didn't go anywhere because Microsoft wasn't interested.

          • Two of the programs required client reinstalls in order to use the new drive letters so it quickly became a pain in the ass.

            HOw in the world does changing drive mapping require a client reinstall?

            -matthew
    • Yep that is the solution we use... Trhe way to fix it of course is to get the users to use UNC but that will never happen.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    perhaps you should consider only mapping network drives backwards in the alphabet, ie: start from Z: and go backwards... Y: X: W: etc....you then don't have to worry about removable device conflicts with mapped network shares.

    seems to function fine in my network.
  • Change the mapping! (Score:3, Informative)

    by misleb (129952) on Friday May 26, 2006 @01:10AM (#15407649)
    There is nothing magic about the F: drive and Netware. It just happens to be the traditional default mapping. There is no reason why you need to accept that the default. Simply modify the login script(s) and/or the client settings on the computers. Geez. Was this REALLY worthy of an "Ask Slashdot?"

    -matthew
    • Yes, it is worth an Ask Slashdot. What if, because of political or technical reasons, he can't just change the mapping of existing network shares? Where I work, I'd get scoffed at for recommending changing drive mappings (political reasons). A couple of really old, really crappy applications that some people absolutely must use wouldn't work right (technical reasons). Were I in the submitter's shoes, how would I get around these two obstacles? No, trying to reason out the political issue is not going t
      • I'm sorry that you have a shitty job full of politics that won't allow you to do the right thing. The submitter should have been much more clear about his/her political/technical situation instead of making it sound like there is no known solution to this problem. The solution is clear. Besides, who is storing important application data on F: (SYS) anyway?

        -matthew
        • The submitter, (that would be me), did make a point of saying that he couldn't change the drive lettering. I also mentioned that this was a solution, just not one for me: "The fix so far has been to manually remap the memory key to a free letter, such as B:, and this has to be done on every machine. Either that, or switch your first mapped drive, which is more of a problem in most environments" What I am asking Slashdot for is other possible solutions. Of which I have already gotten a few and am grateful.
          • The submitter, (that would be me), did make a point of saying that he couldn't change the drive lettering. I also mentioned that this was a solution,

            No offense, but I have met many people who reject the simple solution for no good reason. Possibly because they are afraid of trying to fix the overly complex mess they've created over the years of being a poor (group of) admin.

            "The fix so far has been to manually remap the memory key to a free letter, such as B:, and this has to be done on every machine. Eithe
            • I'll give you more information then. This is a government office in which I have been working for 4 years. In the last year I've been given the responsibility of trying to clean up the messes of the previous admins, who have been using NetWare since version 3. We've previously started upgrading the user systems from Win 2k to XP. This is when this problem showed up. If you did a disk management check for free drive letters on Win 2k, it would reckognize mapped drives as being in use. To my knowledge, (and I
              • Those things mentioned in the parent are WORKAROUNDS for the problem. Assuming changing drive letters is feasible, it is a very effective workaround, but it is not a SOLUTION. A solution would require Microsoft to correct the drive letter clobbering in Windows.
              • But since that will cause not only political fallout, but problems with older, in-house custom applications that rely on specific drive mappings,

                I understand that applications can depend on specific drive mappings. Not just custom software. But we are not talking about just any drive mapping. We are talking about F: in particular which maps to teh SYS volume. Do your applications specifically depend on F:? Why?

                Anyway, I'm sorry that you work in an environment where making trivial changes is an uphill battle
    • You answer smacks of the attitude "Nothing is impossible for the man that does not have to do it himself".

      Yes, I think the question is a decent one for an Ask /.

      I've got the same problem - and I'd like to know if someone found a way to keep MS Windows from pissing on my users. It appears that the answer is: no.

      Could I change the drive mappings for 2,000 users to accommodate the 100 power users that bring in USB sticks or hook up digital cameras? Sure I could. Would another 100 of them be pissed because a

      • Could I change the drive mappings for 2,000 users to accommodate the 100 power users that bring in USB sticks or hook up digital cameras? Sure I could. Would another 100 of them be pissed because all their OLE links between documents broke? Sure would. Is that your problem? No, I guess not.

        My point is that we are not talking about just any old drive mapping. We are talking about the F: (SYS volume) drive in particular which, on modern systems, serves no useful purpose to your average user. It certainly shou
        • I'm going to argue that drive letter mapping is a good thing. I'll agree with you that it doesn't matter which letter gets mapped. F: could easily become Y:, H: could easily become X:, (in my case, E: could easily become the W: drive.)

          It would be painful to do, but yes we could move things around. Probably will someday.

          Where drive letter mapping is a good thing is in creating relative links. If the document contains a link to E:, then it really doesn't matter if we (IT) ran out of disk space on Server1, a

          • I'm going to argue that drive letter mapping is a good thing. I'll agree with you that it doesn't matter which letter gets mapped. F: could easily become Y:, H: could easily become X:, (in my case, E: could easily become the W: drive.)

            You (or someone) mapped a user network drive to E:!!!??? Brilliant work. First, fire that person if they still work there. Then continue your search for a USB device hack. I had assumed that it was F: that was getting in the way (which can be changed without affecting users).
            • It's a legacy from our Windows 3 days. E: = Everyone, F:= Fileserver, G: = Group, H: = Home. As a mnemonic, it worked well.

              Back when Windows 3 only needed a C: drive (this is before CD-ROMs), it was a fine setup. Even after CD-ROM drives became popular, the only conflicts with E: were the occasional Zip Drive users.

              Really, the removable drive problem only became a problem within the last year. Since most of the people who have these kinds of devices are tech-savvy anyway, they solved the problem themselve

  • ...of having the efficient Software Vendor solve these issues?

    Isn't that the advantage of proprietary software over, say, gnu/linux?

    Thats what the marketroids tell us anyway...

    Foolishness aside; I suspect it is possible to create a filter device below the USB storage device which starts drive mapping from z and works down (for a knee jerk) or which reads currently mapped drives from explorer's context and starts there.

    This would require significantly more knowledge of that crufty beast the registry than I h
    • The problem isn't a mapped drive letter. It is that when you format a device in 2000/XP you asign it a drive letter. If it gets formated in say windows 98, it doesn't set the drive letter. When you format at home or on another PC the default letter might be differen then a computer an extra cdrom or so.

      You can actualy mimic this exact same situation by formating it on a computer that only has one hardrive and cdrom then trying to access the same device in a computer with two hardrive and cdroms. My suggesti
      • This comment is completely inaccurate. Do not listen to it.

        Drive letters are assigned by the OS, period. Neither NTFS or FAT has any idea what drive letters they are, or in fact any concept of drive letters.

        Letters are assigned, under Windows, by simply picking the first one as the drives are enumerated in their fairly random order. However, if a device has a 'serial number', which most USB ones do, you can assign it a specific drive letter in the console, and Windows will remember it.

        Sometimes you will

        • Your so brillient, you probably forgot more then you'll ever know.

          Drive letters are assigned by the OS, period. Neither NTFS or FAT has any idea what drive letters they are, or in fact any concept of drive letters.

          I never said NTFS or Fat had any idea of the drive letter asignment. If that was the case then windows 98 would be the same as NT/2000/XP. The Logical disk manager in NT style operating systems have the ability to do this. This is can be done several ways, With a logical Drive, The drive letter

  • yegads, this is the exact same problem windows 3.1 had with adding hard drives!!! Ever wonder why you so often see novell drives mapped to letters way down the alphabet? thats why :)

    Unless im misunderstanding the problem, just change your drive maps to be higher than say, G:, and you should be fine!
    • Re:flashback! (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by imroy (755)

      Windows 3.x had no part in it. DOS first mapped primary partitions across all hard drives to available drive letters, then did secondary partitions. Add a second hard disk and its primary partition(s) got squeezed into the middle of your alphabet. Either figure out how to reconfigure your programs or reinstall them. What fun!

      I can't believe Microsoft is still mucking about with drive letters. It's 2006, FFS!

  • by ecloud (3022) on Friday May 26, 2006 @02:34AM (#15407913) Homepage Journal
    You know, it sure is a good sign that the network (and the Internet) are not as easy to use as they should be, when people still find it easier to shuffle data around on removeable media. I was thinking about that at work the other day, because I do the same thing, even though we have really ubiquitous networking there - both Ethernet and wireless, and they are secure and interoperable. First, I'd need to "discover" the machine to which I want to send a file. Bonjour is decent for that, at least for single-hop networking, but I imagine net admins don't like it. (And they also like to assign alphabet-soup machine names which don't make it any easier.) I'd want to assign my own memorable nicknames for machines that I use, probably. I would want to deal with a limited set of those machines that I use, to which I've assigned nicknames, and be able to filter out the irrelevant ones. And then be able to right-click on a file and "send to... the xeon in the lab", and do it without any password crap. The file ought to show up in an "incoming from Shawn's laptop" directory on the other machine. There's nothing very insecure about that as long as you treat incoming files like incoming email, e.g. don't execute something unless you know what it is. This method should work across every machine that I touch regularly, on every network that is interconnected via the Internet, and across every OS too. Right now, exchanging files via bluetooth is something like that, but it has limited range.

    The best you can do now is have a central repository (e.g. file server) set up ahead of time, and mounted on both machines. Then you do the copy twice, and the file ends up taking up space on 3 disks instead of 2. Or email it, which is similar but less secure (it has to be set up in advance, and the file takes up space as files on 2 machines, plus a mail attachment, until you delete one or more of the copies). Or mount one machine's drive on the other (but that is usually some hassle and only works on the local network).

    But because of admins, and paranoid security policies, we can't do easy ad-hoc file exchange. So we use USB keys or floppies or SD cards or CD-ROMs or whatever. And some admins can get paranoid about that, too.
  • Gah? (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by tomstdenis (446163)
    WTF is a drive letter? /mnt/usb

    Much better. And I can even share it over NFS ... ooooh fancy...

    Tom
    • honestly, without udev or devfs linux has the same problem, as device nodes for removables are not "remembered". I recall also not removable stuff like NIC wireless and tcpip over firewire randomly getting eth0/eth2, i fixed it with udev.
  • Map your drives as persistent and USB does not walk on them. Admittedly, I have not hit this problem with windows 2k/2k3 AD domain, or in a Netware 5 environment. All my drives map persistent without issue. Remember, I may be talking out my arse since I haven't been bitten by this issue.
  • You can query WMI for a variety of data using Perl, for example, to find out all the removable media drives in the system, then construct a diskpart [microsoft.com] script (particularly the command assign).
  • But does not ConsoleOne provide you with a method as to how these drives map. I am pretty sure it does since we always had certain drives setup to map one way on all machine. This standardized things for users to look at their "K" drive or whatever. If I am wrong, which I suppose is possible it has been almost two years since I used C1, you should be able to setup things with policies. If you have an AD domain, this is simple since you can lay it out as a group policy and have it trickle down to everyon
  • Exactly the same problem occurs with subst'd drives:

    subst the usb drive's letter to a local directory before inserting the usb drive, then insert the drive. one masks the other.
  • Just regular windows shares. The systems don't seem to take network drive mappings into account when a new device is plugged in, or infact added to the system. As far as the system is concerned that Drive letter is fair game.

    I've never been motivated enough to go looking for a fix.
  • Map a different letter for the user's home directory. I have it map the H: drive and tell them "H for Home."
  • We have deployed this to all our clients in our Novell network. IF they plug a USB device in and it does nto show up, they double click this program and it fixes all conflicts: http://www.novell.com/coolsolutions/tools/16845.ht ml [novell.com]
  • I heard somewhere that Windows XP included (Fairly hidden away) support for UNIX-like mounts on a filesystem...
    • It does, and so did Windows 2000.

      Time for new coke bottles? It's "hidden" in plain sight the disk administrator. Just teasing, just look more closely at the disk admin next time you're in there. You can add a drive letter, but you can also use an NTFS folder as the mount point.

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