How to change Hard Disk's Volume Serial Number (Volume ID)

The Volume Serial Number (also known as VSN) is a unique serial number that is assigned to an optical disk (CD or DVD) or a hard drive after formatting. The Volume Serial Number was added by Microsoft and IBM so that the operating system could recognize if an optical disk or a drive is changed on the system. By that time the only way to determine this, was the volume label (Volume Name) that the user defined to each storage disk. But that way, there was a problem if a user gave the same (Volume) name to two (or more) disks. To bypass this problem, Microsoft and IBM decided to assign a new unique number in hexadecimal form (called 'Volume Serial Number' or 'Volume ID' or 'VSN') when a drive (optical disk or hard drive) was formatted.

In simple words, the Volume Serial Number indicates the exact time {Date, Month, Year & Time (Hour, Minute & Second)} of format operation.  The VSN is changed anytime you format the disk, so if you re-install Windows and you format the system disk, Windows will ask again for activation.

Taking advantage of VSN, some software vendors use the Volume Serial Number to avoid pirate copying of their products. This means that software from these vendors can not run if the Volume Serial Number is different from the VSN of the product's original optical disk that was shipped or of the hard drive that the software was first installed. Also this technique was previously used by multiplayer game vendors to ban the gamers that tried to cheat. Nowadays, this method is useless because the game or software vendors now use the hardcoded serial number (HDD Manufacture's S/N that is embedded into the firmware) to identify (ban) cheaters or they ban the CD key.

In this article you will find detailed instructions on how to change the hard drive's Volume Serial Number (aka Volume ID or VSN).

 

How to change HDD Volume Serial Number (VolumeID).

Option 1: Using Sysinternals VolumeID changer.

VolumeID by Mark Russinovich, is another freeware tool that helps you to change the Volume IDs of drives from command line window.

1. Download VolumeID.

2. Extract "volumeid.zip" file contents and move the extracted files ("Volumeid.exe" & "Eula.txt") to the root of C: drive.

3. Open an elevated command prompt. To do that:

In Windows 7, Vista & XP: 1. Go to Start > All Programs. 2. Click to expand Accessories. 2. Right click on Command Prompt and choose “Run as administrator

image

 

 

In Windows 8

Right-click at the screen's bottom-left corner and from the pop-up menu, choose “Command Prompt (Admin)”.

windows-8-admininstator-command-prompt

 

4. Let's say that we want to change the Volume serial number of the system drive C:.

Inside the command prompt window, type the following command to see the current Volume Serial Number of C: drive

vol

volume-id-changer

 

4a. The "vol" command should return the Volume Serial Number. In this example the VSN is "94F8-9C08".

change hdd serial number

– To change the current VSN –

5. Navigate to the root folder of Disk C: (where "volumeid.exe" is located/saved) and type the following command:

volumeid <driveletter:> xxxx-xxxx

 

*  As <driveletter:> : type the drive of the disk (drive or volume) that we want to change the VSN ("C:").

** As xxxx-xxxx : type the new Volume Serial Number (e.g. 74F8-9C08).

In this example I want to change the VSN of disk C: and I have changed only one character (the first) of the old VSN to specify the new one. So the full command  should be:

volumeid c: 74F8-9C08

volumeid.exe

 

5. When "volumeid" command updates the Volume ID of your drive, close the command prompt window and restart your computer.

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Option 2: Using Hard Disk Serial Number Changer.

Update: The download link is not working anymore (removed).

The second free tool you can use to change the Volume Serial Number is called Hard Disk Serial Number Changer. The program can change only the HDD's Volume Serial Number and not the Hardcoded Serial Number.

1. Download Hard Disk Serial Number Changer.

2. Right-click at HardDiskSerialNumberChanger.exe & select Run as Administrator.

Hard-Disk-Serial-Number-Changer

 

3. Accept the UAC warning message.

image

 

4. Choose the disk that you want to change the Serial Number. (e.g. "C:").

5. Type the new serial number at this form XXXX-XXXX.

6. Press Change.

Volume-Serial-Number-Changer

 

7. Click Yes and reboot your computer.

change hard disk serial number

That's it!

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