How to Separate “Devices and Drives” Section in Windows 8.1 Explorer “This PC”?

Sometimes a new feature or small change in a software functionality may become a big annoyance for end users and Windows 8.1 is a living example of this.

In previous Windows versions such as Windows 7, Vista or XP, Hard disk drives, optical drives (CD/DVD drives) and removable drives (USB drives, memory cards, etc) used to show in separate categories under My Computer window. Hard disk partitions used to show under "Hard Disk Drives" section and CD/DVD drives and USB devices used to show under "Devices with Removable Storage" section in Windows Explorer as shown in following screenshot:


But in Windows 8.1 Explorer or "This PC", Microsoft has combined both sections into a single section "Devices and Drives". Now all hard disk drives, USB devices, CD/DVD drives are shown under a single category. This change is causing problems for many users.

Recently an AskVG reader "Anil" contacted us regarding same issue:

I want to know how to separate Hard disk partitions, DVD drives and other devices in Windows 8.1 like Windows 7? It becomes really irritating when I connect my android phone and pen drive to my computer and all things get mixed up. Is there any way that we can make it simple like Windows 7?

I agree with Anil. Sometimes it really becomes annoying when we attach USB drives, memory cards or mobile phones to our computers and their drive icons appear at the top or in the middle of existing drives in Windows 8.1 Explorer. It looks weird and causes difficulties in finding out the devices in My Computer window.


Unfortunately there is no known way to separate or unmerge "Hard disk drives" and "Devices with removable storage" sections in Windows 8.1 Explorer.

But today in this topic, we are going to share a simple workaround to overcome this problem. You can take help of a built-in group by type "File System" in Windows 8.1 Explorer to separate hard disk drives, CD/DVD drives and removable drives.

Actually most of the hard disk drives are formatted in NTFS file system and CD/DVD drives have different file systems. Also most of the removable drives such as USB drives, memory cards are formatted in FAT32 file system. So if we set group by type to "File System" in Windows 8.1 Explorer, it'll show all 3 types of drives in separate sections and that's what we wanted.

If you are ready to change the group by type, simply follow these simple steps:

1. Open Windows 8.1 Explorer or "This PC" window, right-click on empty area and click on "Group by -> More..." option.

2. It'll open "Choose Details" window. Now enable "File System" checkbox and click on OK button.


3. Now again right-click on empty area and select "Group by -> File System" option.

4. That's it. Now Windows 8.1 Explorer will show hard disk drives, CD/DVD drives and devices with removable storage in separate sections.


That's the best workaround which I know at the moment. If you know any other trick, feel free to share it in your comment...

Also Check:

[Tips] Tweak and Customize Windows 8.1 Explorer "This PC"

Freeware to Bring Windows 7 Style Classic Features Back in Windows 8.1 Explorer "This PC"

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Posted in: Troubleshooting, Windows 8 / 8.1

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