Rename a Subst/Virtual Drive In Windows

and previous OSs provide users with a handy tool which allows users to create virtual drives from folders. This is pretty handy when you want to access your favorite folders quickly. If you aren’t aware of this feature yet, you might want to read up about subst on Wikipedia or use a simple tool to mount your folders as virtual drives.

Virtual Drives in My Computer

Subst is definitely a cool tool, however, it does have a problem. If you have named your parent drive (in which the folder resides), you will not be able to give a meaningful name to your new drive. If you have created many virtual drives, your computer drives will end up looking like something in the screenshot above.


This certainly defeats the purpose of creating the virtual drives since it becomes more confusing as to which drive is which, unless you have a very good memory at remembering which drive names you assigned to which folder. The problem occurs because the Virtual Drives created using Subst will inherit the name from the parent drive. Renaming the virtual drives will give you an error as shown in the screenshot above.

Rename Virtual Subst Drives

So how do you fix it? Well the fix is simple enough to implement and will stick even if you restart the OS. All you need to do is remove the label from the original drive you are creating the subst drive from. Once you have done that, you will be able to rename all the virtual drives you created without getting an error.

Of course you cannot add a label to your original drive anymore, but that is a sacrifice worth it if you add many folders as virtual drives.

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12 thoughts on “Rename a Subst/Virtual Drive In Windows”

  1. “you cannot add a label to your original drive anymore”

    Have a look here for solution:
    [b]HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\DriveIcons\E\Default Label[/b]

  2. Proposed solution did not work for me with Win7 x64 SP1. The “is not valid” message still shows up with an original drive label empty. Setting
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerDriveIconsZDefault Label does work for my subst drive.

    (the commands are entered in a DOS box or under Start/Run)

    1. Create the Drive substitution with “SUBST : “, eg. “SUBST X: C:/DropBox”

    2. Rename the new drive to eg. “DropBox”. Note, the name will not appear after hitting Enter, but in the registry there is now a new key.

    3. Use “REGEDIT” and go to:

    There your will find an entry: Default Label and in it the name you gave.
    Now create a new key in DriveIcons like the one already there, but use the driveletter of your , eg. “C” and enter as defaul the name you like that to have, eg. “System”
    (of course all at own risk ;-) but with me it worked fine in XP SP3

  4. Modifying the Registry wasn’t working on my Win7 x64 SP1

    i however made a temporary workaround, which while being effective, i have no idea if it can limit functionality
    If for example i have :
    O:Folder1 mapped to U:
    I shared O:Folder1 to my user with full access (that way only i can manipulate it freely)
    Then i mapped a network drive to U: using \localhostFolder1
    This allows you to manipulate the defaultLabel and DefaultIcon registries as well as being able to RightClick – Rename the drives.
    It also works without internet connection since it’s connecting to localhost.
    And the only difference i found was that it appears under Network Locations instead of Hard Disk Drives.
    The only problem might be if you want to map an unsharable location.

    Steps for newbies:

    1) Right click on folder you want to map
    2) Properties
    3) Sharing Tab
    4) Share Button
    5) Here make sure that your use has Read/Write access and that any other users have no rights (do not appear). Administrators are ok.
    6) Share Button
    7) In explorer, in the location bar, type: \localhost
    8) Right click the folder you just shared
    9) Map network drive…
    10) Select the letter you want
    11) Finish Button

  5. This is awesome, shame about the drive label (I wonder if you can change the icon just like removable drives or the default drive)
    I did subst z: c:Users”your user name”Documents

    thanks for everything

  6. Well it did work on my win7 ultimate 64bit … Also if you rename the original drive or assign an icon using the same way you do with the subst drive (registry tweak) .. then the subst folder wont inherit the label nor the icon.

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