This is a common question for computer users, as the labeling of local disks can sometimes be unclear. The quick answer is: it depends on your specific computer setup. On most Windows PCs, the local disk letters start at C and go up alphabetically from there. So in a standard configuration, the next drive after your C drive would be labeled D, followed by E, F, and so on.
What determines local disk letters on Windows?
On Windows machines, disk letters are assigned in the order that the disks are detected during the boot process. The boot drive is always assigned C. After that, letters are assigned in order to each additional drive detected.
So if your computer has just one internal hard drive, that will get the C letter. If you then add a second internal hard drive, Windows will assign that the next available letter, which is typically D. External drives, like USB flash drives, will also get assigned the next available letter when plugged in.
Common disk configurations
Here are some typical setups and how drive letters are assigned:
- 1 internal hard drive = C drive
- 1 internal hard drive + 1 internal secondary hard drive = C drive and D drive
- 1 internal hard drive + 1 external USB drive = C drive and E drive (or next available letter)
So in most standard cases with just 1 or 2 drives, the second drive will be labeled D or E.
When could a second drive be labeled F?
There are a few circumstances where your second drive could be labeled F rather than E:
- You have more than 2 internal drives, and F was the next available letter
- You have multiple external USB drives that were assigned letters before the second internal drive
- You have mapped network drives assigned to letters before the second internal drive letter
- You have manually changed the drive letter assignments in Disk Management
So while less common, it is certainly possible for a second internal drive to be labeled F if drive letters before it were already claimed. The main point is that Windows assigns drive letters in the order drives are detected during boot.
How to tell if a disk is E or F
If you are unsure of your drive letter assignments in Windows, there are a couple easy ways to check:
- Open File Explorer – The drives will be listed with their letters here
- Open Disk Management – All disks and volumes are listed here with labels
- Right-click the Start menu and choose Disk Management
This will clearly show the drive letters and let you view details for each disk.
Changing drive letters
If needed, you can manually change the assigned drive letter for a volume in Disk Management:
- Right click the volume and choose Change Drive Letter and Paths
- Click Change and assign a new letter
- Click OK to save changes
This allows you to customize the letters if needed. Just be careful not to assign the same letter to multiple drives.
So in summary, while the second internal drive is typically labeled D or E, it could potentially be assigned F or later letters if other drives are detected first during boot. Checking Disk Management will clearly show you the assigned drive letters on your Windows PC. And if needed, you can change the default assignments to better suit your needs.