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Volume Label

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Definition: A volume label is a unique name assigned to a drive, disc, or other media.

In Windows, a volume label is not required but it's often useful to give a name to a drive to help identify its use in the future.

A drive's volume label can be changed at any time but is usually set during the formatting of the drive.

Note: Certain restrictions apply when assigning volume labels depending on which file system is on the drive - NTFS or FAT:

Volume Label on NTFS Drives:

  • Maximum of 32 characters
  • No tabs

Volume Label on FAT Drives:

  • Maximum of 11 characters
  • No * ? . , ; : / \ | + = < > [ ]
  • No tabs

Spaces are allowed in the volume label no matter which of the two file systems is used.

The only other important difference between volume labels in NTFS vs FAT file systems is that a volume label on an NTFS formatted drive will retain its case while a volume label on a FAT drive will be stored as uppercase no matter how it was entered.

For example, a volume label entered as Music will be displayed as Music on NTFS drives but will be displayed as MUSIC on FAT drives.

In Command Prompt, the vol command is used to display a drive's volume label and the label command is used to change a drive's volume label.

Here are some common things you might do related to volume labels:

The volume label is stored in the disk parameter block, part of the volume boot record.

Also Known As: volume name
Examples:
"I installed a new 2TB hard drive to store my movies, music, and photos on so I set the volume label to 'Media' to make it easy to spot among my other drives."

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