How to Use Label to Rename Drives from the Windows Command Prompt

By Martin Hendrikx on December 31st, 2014

Label 0

Label is a another handy tool that you can use though the command prompt application. As its name suggests, its main function is to edit disk labels which is useful if you use many external drives or mapped drives and want to label them for specific uses.

A Little about Label

This tool was originally designed for labeling floppy drives but as technology evolved, so did the label tool, to the point where it can also be used to label HDD’s, external HDD’s, SSD’s, USB devices, and mapped network drives.

While labeling a volume, there are some limitations. If you are labeling a FAT volume, you can use 11 characters, while NTFS volumes can use up to 32 characters. Your labels cannot include tabs but you can use spaces. If you are labeling an NTFS drive, you can use all characters, however, FAT volumes cannot be labeled with the following characters:

* ? / \ | . , ; : + = [ ] < > "

Label’s Switches and Parameters

There are two main switches you can use with the label tool; these are:

  1. /MP – This switch tells label that the volume you are working with should be treated as a mount point or volume name.
  2. /? – This second switch is used when you need help with the label tool.

When entering commands for the label tool, there are three parameters that you will need to define. These are as follows.

  1. Drive – This is where you will enter the letter of the drive you want to name.
  2. Label – This parameter is where you need to specify your new volume name.
  3. Volume – The volume parameter is the drive letter, mount point, or volume name. If you specify a volume name, you don’t need to use the /MP switch.

Label’s Syntax

Like every tool in command prompt, you will need to know how to enter your commands with the proper syntax. The label tool will require you to use the following syntax. Please refer to the previous section for more information on the elements of the command.

LABEL [/MP][volume] [drive:][label]

Let’s Practice

First, we recommend that you get a flash drive and connect it to your computer for this tutorial. Once you have practiced on the flash drive, you can move on to more volumes. Now you will need to open up an elevated command prompt window. Open the start menu in Windows 7 and 10 or open the search function in Windows 8 and search for CMD. Next, right-click on it and then press “Run as administrator.” While you don’t need to open an elevated command prompt window, it will help you to avoid any pesky confirmation dialog boxes.

Label 1

Now that you have an elevated command prompt window opened, you are ready to label your drive. Let’s change the label on the internal hard drive to “HTG Rules.” Remember to replace the drive letter shown in this tutorial with the letter of that corresponds with your flash drive, or whatever drive you want to label.

label C:HTG Rules

After you press enter, you can go to your “My Computer” folder and see the change you made. Your drive should now be labeled as “HTG Rules” — and it will work for any of your drives except optical, of course.

Image Credit: JD Hancock on Flickr

Martin Hendrikx is a technology writer and author with years of experience. He has traveled to 47 countries and counting and is well versed in all things Windows.

  • Published 12/31/14
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