Counted the drives I have (including those mapped) on my work laptop: 19.
Unless your virtual drive app had static letters assignments (does such a thing exist?), I dont think you were lacking drive letters assignments.
You sure there were no raid-controlled drives? Not a raid array, but drives connected to a raid controller?
Maybe IDE mode is a more sensitive to port changes, I haven't ran IDE mode for quite some time.
Theoretically, you had 13 letters in use, and if it had to "remap" all of them, you'd be at 26...which is the limit of A-Z and that's ignoring the fact that A-C are generally reserved. Even if you ran out of letters though, the drive just wouldn't show up in My Computer.
Still doesn't explain your data loss though. My guess would be that these drives had issues to begin with or that something interfered with them when you changed the cables - possibly static electricity.
So I reconnected my 2TB HD which has two partitions.
Windows wanted to check the large partition, but I stopped it. I had to give it a letter manually. When I did that the Volume name came back. Everything seemed to be working fine for a few hours, then the computer crashed and before it booted up it said it was going to do a chkdsk on the large partition. I skipped that and Windows booted up fine - mounting everything.
So now I want to make sure that Windows never does a chkdsk on this partition. It is marked as dirty.
I tried a HEX editor to clear the dirty flag, but it was already 00.
Next I did this:
fsutil dirty query d:
Volume - d: is Dirty
chkntfs /x d:
The type of the file system in NTFS.
Error 403 Daily Limit Exceeded. The quota will be reset at midnight Pacific Time (PT). You may monitor your quota usage and adjust limits in the API Console: https://console.developers.google.com/apis/api/youtube.googleapis.com/quotas?project=345236864347 : dailyLimitExceeded
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