Changing system drive letter in XP

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by innerpeace, May 13, 2008.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. innerpeace

    innerpeace Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    Posts:
    2,095
    Location:
    Mountaineer Country
    Hi, I just re-installed Windows XP Home on a computer I'm giving to a family member. After the install, the system drive letter ended up being H: instead of C:. Windows built in Disk Management will not let me change it.

    I found a link about modifying the registry and was wondering if anyone had any experiences with it or is there a better way of changing the System drive letter? Also, will it cause problems in the future?
    http://www.petri.co.il/change_system_drive_letter_in_windows_xp.htm

    Thanks,
    innerpeace
     
  2. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2005
    Posts:
    9,455
    I had the same problem in September.
    Since I'm not an expert in Windows, I had a few problems myself regarding partition letters.
    The first time Windows choosed the next available partition letter, but it wasn't [C:] and I couldn't change the wrong partition letter either.

    Somehow I managed to call it [C:], don't ask me how, but then I got another problem.
    When I turned on my external HDD, the green icon "Safely Remove Hardware" appeared, which is normal, BUT it asked to remove all my harddisks [C:], [D:] and [E:] and that was abnormal.
    Only my external HDD [E:] was correct, not the rest.

    So I zeroed both internal HDD's [C:] and [D:] and everything was OK after that.
    Windows choosed [C:] and "Safely Remove Hardware" only mentioned my external HDD [E:].
    The fact that my second HDD [D:] still contained my data files, was certainly one of the reasons.
    I'm sure there are other methods to solve this, but my technical knowledge is too poor.
    The bottom line is that I fixed it completely and know what to do next time without problems. :)
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2008
  3. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Posts:
    8,647
    Location:
    NSW, Australia
  4. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2005
    Posts:
    9,455
    Once you got it right and Windows is activated. Take an image of Windows only and save it for the future.
    Installing Windows takes about 60 minuts, restoring Windows takes less than 1 minut with my ShadowProtect and without activation.
    You can't activate Windows via internet forever, after 4 months you have to activate it by phone.
     
  5. innerpeace

    innerpeace Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    Posts:
    2,095
    Location:
    Mountaineer Country
    ErikAlbert

    Thanks for sharing your experiences. It's a real pain that Windows occasionally hiccups and there is no easy fix. The bad thing about my install was that I did activate it and was getting ready to make a base image :'(. I just happened to notice the drive letter was wrong. I'm willing to bet that the next activation I will need to make a phone call since it will be my third since Dec. 17th when I forgot to make an activated image.

    Brian K

    Thanks for the link :thumb:. It has to do with having a Zip drive plugged in during OS install, but I think in my case Windows may have detected my media reader as drives/partitions. If I have to, I'll reinstall XP but I'm going to hold out just in case anyone has anything else to say. I will check back tomorrow in 14+ hours before I start the reinstall.
     
  6. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Posts:
    8,647
    Location:
    NSW, Australia
    I'll bet that's it. I couldn't find a better link than the zip drive one. I've been caught by the zip drive issue.

    I've used this..

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\MountedDevices

    many times for booting issues but it may not fix your problem as you have "thousands" of references to the H: drive in your registry.
     
  7. jonyjoe81

    jonyjoe81 Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2007
    Posts:
    829
    I've been running some tests to see if it's possible.

    First, there are 2 system drive letters that need to be changed. If you only change one, you won't get a successful bootup. The first one "partition ID drive letter", I was able to change using a "boot corrector" . I changed it from c: to k: with no problems.

    The second system drive letter is located in the registry under "mounted devices", I tried changing that one using a "bartpe boot cd" and running "regedit". I was able to rename the c: to k: and it look like I was done. When I rebooted, the computer failed to bootup (got the usual drive letter change symptoms). When I booted up with the "bartpe" I ran "regedit" again and found the "mounted device" drive letter was changed back to c:.

    I'll have to find out more information on why it didn't remain k: . From my reasoning the "mounted devices" drive letter should be the easy one to change. If I can get it to remain k:, I think I should have a good bootup. I'll run more tests tomorrow.
     
  8. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2005
    Posts:
    9,455
    I think you can easily test this when you backup your actual harddisk first.
    Re-install Windows and try to activate it without doing the activation.
    If you get the phone activation screen, you know for sure if phone activation is required.

    Brian's post was also interesting for me. I don't remember if my external HDD was ON or OFF during my partition letter problems, but one thing I know for sure : when my external HDD was ON my PartitionMagic floppy didn't work anymore, until I turned it OFF.

    I learned quite a few things the hard way during my installation of Windows in September 2007 : three Windows installations and 2 phone activations + PartitionMagic floppy problems + Safely Remove Hardware problems + alot of wasted time. :D
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2008
  9. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Posts:
    8,647
    Location:
    NSW, Australia
    innerpeace,

    I'm curious. Do you have a C: drive? If so, does it contain any Protected OS Files?
     
  10. DVD+R

    DVD+R Registered Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Posts:
    1,979
    Location:
    The Antipodes
    innerpeace, the Same happened to me, I had my USB drive plugged in, and My HP Printer turned on when I did a Fresh format of XP. Windows does sometimes mistake these Drives for C: when they are plugged in and turned on. Also be carefull if your computer Also has a Card reader installed, such as a 15 in one, all those seperate drives used for memory cards can also get mistakenly Identified as C: by Windows. The Safest option when installing windows (fresh install) is to Create the partition when asked, instead of just choosing Install, Windows will Always choose the first disk it finds regardless of it being C: or not. By choosing create partition, you can then check if Windows has selected C: before Continuing with Format and Install, If it hasnt chosen C: Then delete that partition and choose create partition again, this time it should find C: :cautious:
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2008
  11. innerpeace

    innerpeace Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    Posts:
    2,095
    Location:
    Mountaineer Country
    Thanks, if I have that many references in the registry then there is only one alternative. Looks like I'll be doing a proper reinstall.

    I only have the one internal drive that was connected during install. It was also freshly cleaned with the Seagate DiscWizard Normal Wipe. I think DVD+R accurately described what probably happened. It detected my media card reader as drives. I also didn't create any partition and just let it install in the unallocated space.

    jonyjoe81,
    Thanks for your efforts jonyjoe :). If there is no way to change all the references to H: in my registry, I'm sure that would just be inviting trouble later on. I'll just reinstall and pay more attention. Once I get an image, life will be much easier in the future.

    Erik Albert,
    Yes, this is another one of those hard lessons. It looks like I need to pay more attention during the install and make sure all possible devices are unplugged.

    DVD+R,
    I think you are spot on with what happened. I'm almost 100% sure the media reader is to blame. This time I will unplug the reader and create the partition myself to make sure it's labeled C:.
     
Loading...
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.