Change Boot drive letter XPpro

Discussion in 'Computer Information' started by Joe, Apr 15, 2004.

  1. Joe

    Joe Guest

    I just installed XPpro on a pair of WD SATA Raptors Raid 0 hooked up to my
    A7N8X deluxe. Windows made this array drive (F). How do I make it be the (C)

    Joe, Apr 15, 2004
    1. Advertisements

  2. Joe

    JD Guest

    I know you can do it with partition magic .. but I don't think you can
    re-letter the main drive in windows itself
    JD, Apr 15, 2004
    1. Advertisements

  3. Joe

    derek / nul Guest

    I don't believe you can.
    derek / nul, Apr 15, 2004
  4. Joe

    GTS Guest

    There is a procedure that I have used successfully BUT it is mainly
    applicable when the drive letter changes after cloning a Windows
    installation that was originally on C:
    See (223188 HOW TO: Restore the
    System/Boot Drive Letter in Windows)

    If Windows was initially installed to the drive as F:, this is not likely to
    be successful as the registry will contain hundreds (at least) of references
    to drive F: Other changes, e.g.boot.ini path, may also need manual action.
    GTS, Apr 15, 2004
  5. Joe

    bearman Guest

    You're probably stuck with it. When I bought my last computer, I had two
    drives installed, one with XP and one with 98SE, each drive as a master and
    the XP drive being on Connector 0. It is the boot drive and it came up as
    F:. At first I was disconcerted but now, when I install new programs, it
    comes up as F in the installer and if it doesn't, there's always that option
    of telling the installer which drive you want the program installed on.

    bearman, Apr 15, 2004
  6. Joe

    JD Guest

    You can but you need to remap all the entries in the registry or you will
    have problems
    JD, Apr 17, 2004
  7. Joe


    May 3, 2009
    Likes Received:
    Changing boot drive letters

    I know this is an old thread, but I was directed to it by a search engine and it helped me formulate a solution for my problem.
    Initially my windows xp pro sp3 install wouldn't boot. It has 2 sata drives. The boot drive 250G C: and an 80G F: which I use for quick backups and other data storage. It also has a floppy A: an internal zip drive D: and a DVD burner E: I had an image of the boot drive as a backup which I put on another drive to get a system up and running. I still needed to get the other drive running because as usual the image wasn't the latest backup. I put the 1st 250G drive on the system as a slave to copy some files and diagnose the boot problem. Windows allocated it as G:. I determined that the initial boot problem was caused by corruption of the software hive in the registry. The file could not be opened or copied or deleted, so I suspected a disk surface error. I scanned the drive for surface errors using checkdisk and a commercial program called spinrite and found no errors. I have no idea what is wrong with it. I have renamed it and copied the last copy from the system restore folder which was only a few hours before the corruption occurred, so I thought I was out of the woods.
    I then swapped the two cloned drives around so I could boot from the original and this may have been where my trouble started with the drive letter substitution. The system seemed to boot up OK but then I couldn't run any installed applications. Error messages of the type G:\program files\application\program.exe not found were appearing. When I investigated further Windows was mostly running on the second cloned drive which was now G: All the registry entries now had G: instead of C: Windows could work because there were G:\windows\..... folders and files but because the cloned drive was not up to date there were no G:\program files\application\... folders and files. OK I thought, what if I remove the G: drive. Shutdown, unplug the clone G: restart. No good, now there are no G:\windows so the system can't start.
    Things that didn't work:
    Run Windows setup in repair a windows installation mode. This caused Windows to mount the original drive as G: and install onto it as G: possibly because of the G:s in the registry. The system would boot with the one drive but still no applications.
    I then did the support at microsoft (223188 HOW TO: Restore the System/Boot Drive Letter in Windows)
    to change HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\MountedDevices G:\ to C:\ but again it wouldn't boot.
    How I sorted it:
    I decided that I shouldn't boot the system with the original drive connected, so I had a USB to sata interface. I booted the system on the cloned drive, connected the other drive as a usb device after the system was booted. The original drive was now G: I could then access the registry on G:\WINDOWS\System32\Config.
    I tried loading the files as hives in regedit, but regedit doesn't have a search and replace function. There were over 4000 (yes four thousand) entries that had to be changed so I used a hex editor. Tiny Hexer seemed to work fine.
    Most (though not all) the data in the registry is stored as 16 bit values so I had to search for 47 00 3A 00 5C 00 G.:.\. and replace with 43 00 3A 00 5C 00 C.:.\. It is case sensitive so I also had to do 67 00 3A 00 5C 00 g.:.\. and there are some 8 bit values so I had to do G:\ and g:\. The files that had to be done were mostly in the System32\Config folder:
    and the Documents and settings\user
    I also did a text search and found a couple of .ini files and shortcut (.pif) files that had the G:\
    I reconnected the the original drive and it booted OK and now my applications seem the be OK. I am expecting to have some issues but the bulk of it seems to be OK.
    The moral of the story seems to be don't boot Windows XP pro with two drives cloned from the same image.
    Don't run Windows install repair except as a last resort.
    This stuff is not for the feint hearted or newbs. it is not hard to do but it is time consuming and you can't afford to miss anything.
    The only real answer is to backup early and often. If I had a more recent image none of this would have been necessary.
    mrtester, May 3, 2009
  8. Joe


    May 26, 2009
    Likes Received:
    I too came across this old post from a search and thought I would post my findings for everyone else too

    I installed XP on to a RAID0 on a Dell Optiplex 755 and was assigned a drive letter of H: after my card reader took C:-G:. I thought nothing of it at first but straight away the drivers tried to extract to C:\Dell\Drivers\....
    Using regedit I went in to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\MountedDevices and changed the drive letters to what I wanted by renaming the keys.

    After this Windows would boot so far but just not log in and the Windows repair would get stuck half way.

    Luckily as this was a new install and there was nothing on the drive, I just rebooted and am currently reinstalling. The good news is that Windows picked up the drive as C: during the install so should be fine (fingers crossed)

    I will post back if it does not work but if there is no posts, this will get you round a fresh install with a dodgy drive letter

    Last edited: May 27, 2009
    duff, May 26, 2009
  9. Joe


    May 26, 2009
    Likes Received:
    Just to let you all know, this is working perfectly now
    duff, May 27, 2009
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.