DJ Software Tip | Always Do This If you Use An External Hard Drive For Your Music

externalhd-coverimage

No matter what DJ mixing software you use, if you’re using a Windows machine and store your DJ music and videos on an external hard drive you will want to apply this simple tip.

Using an external hard drive to store your DJ media, such as all your audio, music videos and karaoke files for use in DEX 3 is the preferred method by most Digital DJs.  It keeps the local C drive free, with ample “breathing room” to operate.   Furthermore, if catastrophe strikes and the local C drive fries you know your DJ media is safe, although you still want to backup the external drive in case it fails.

Windows has suffered this issue going back to Windows XP (and likely before, but that’s when I recall it popping up more regularly):  It has a nasty habit of re-assigning external hard drive letters.   Since DJ software such as RED Mobile 3 and DEX 3 use links in the database/browser to the physical file location a drive letter change will break the path to the file, and the tracks will no longer load and play — since the DJ software is attempting to grab the file to load to a deck from the now-dead path.

Basically, you plug in the external hard drive and you DJ from it for weeks.  It’s been the E drive during that time.  One day, you plug in the external hard drive and Windows decides it doesn’t like labeling it E anymore, and assigns it F.

How To Prevent This From Happening

To avoid this problem that would certainly result in a highly-stressful pre-DJ-gig situation (although they’re may be exceptions to this rule) be sure to have your external hard drive containing your DJ music already plugged into your computer BEFORE turning it on.    The issue will arise more often than not when you plug in the hard drive after your DJ machine is already booted up.

If you plan to use your DJ computer for other tasks, and won’t be using your DJ software during the session, it’s fine to boot up without the hard drive plugged in — just don’t plug it in at all during that session.

What To Do In Case The Drive Letter Changes And The File Path Is Broken

Nope, you won’t have to re-import all your music and re-build all your custom playlists and database!  If you know what your hard drive letter was previous to Windows re-assigning it you can force it back to the original letter, here’s how (Taken from PC Support):

  1. Open Windows 8 Disk Management, available from Administrative Tools in Control Panel.Tip: Disk Management is also available from the Power User Menu and is probably the quickest way to open it. You can also get to Disk Management from the Command Promptin Windows 8 but there’s probably little reason to use that method unless you have to.
  2. With Disk Management open, locate from the list at the top, or from the map at the bottom, the drive you want to change the drive letter of.
  3. Once you find it, right-click or tap-and-old on it and then choose the Change Drive Letter and Paths… option from the pop-up menu.
  4. In the small Change Drive Letter and Paths for… window that appears, tap or click the Change… button.This will open the Change Drive Letter or Path window.
  1. Choose the drive letter you want Windows 8 to assign to this storage device by selecting it from the Assign the following drive letter: drop-down box.
  2. Tap or click the OK button.
  3. Tap or click Yes to the Some programs that rely on drive letters might not run correctly. Do you want to continue? question.Important: This isn’t usually something you need to concern yourself about since your software is probably not installed on a drive other than C. However, if you know that you have software installed onto another drive, especially if that software is older, keep in mind that you may experience issues.
  4. Once the drive letter change is complete, which usually only takes a second or two, you’re welcome to close any open Disk Management or other windows

 

We hope this DJ software tip helps you avoid the dreaded re-assigned drive letter.  Have questions?  Leave them in the comments section below!