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Change drive letter

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by wingnut73, Jan 8, 2007.

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  1. wingnut73

    wingnut73 Thread Starter

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    When I installed XP on a new build computer my hard drive installed as Drive I:.
    I think it is because I had a USB hub connected.
    Is it possible to to change this drive to drive C:?
     
  2. JohnWill

    JohnWill Retired Moderator

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    Nope, you can't change the drive letter of the running O/S. You need to install XP onto C: from the start.
     
  3. norton850

    norton850

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    "I think it is because I had a USB hub connected."

    Yes XP does things like that. You would have to do a reinstall with the hub or anything else non essential disconnected (it was quite a while ago but for me the problem was a Zip drive).
     
  4. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

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    While it is technically possible to change a system drive letter, I do not recommend doing so. Here is why; when an app is installed, it installs files to its own folder AND to the windows and or windows\system32 folder. If you change the path from I:\windows to C:\windows it will cause problems. In addition it is an involved process to do this. Here are the instructions for changing a system drive. Again I do not recommend doing this. Since all apps would need to be reinstalled anyway, it is just easier to reinstall windows then reinstall the apps.

    Make a full system backup of the computer and system state.
    Log on as an Administrator.
    Start Regedt32.exe.
    Go to the following registry key:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\MountedDevices

    Click MountedDevices.
    On the Security menu, click Permissions.
    Verify that Administrators have full control. Change this back when you are finished with these steps.
    Quit Regedt32.exe, and then start Regedit.exe.
    Locate the following registry key:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\MountedDevices

    Find the drive letter you want to change to (new). Look for "\DosDevices\C:".
    Right-click \DosDevices\C:, and then click Rename.

    Note You must use Regedit instead of Regedt32 to rename this registry key.
    Rename it to an unused drive letter "\DosDevices\Z:".

    This frees up drive letter C.
    Find the drive letter you want changed. Look for "\DosDevices\D:".
    Right-click \DosDevices\D:, and then click Rename.
    Rename it to the appropriate (new) drive letter "\DosDevices\C:".
    Click the value for \DosDevices\Z:, click Rename, and then name it back to "\DosDevices\D:".
    Quit Regedit, and then start Regedt32.
    Change the permissions back to the previous setting for Administrators (this should probably be Read Only).
    Restart the computer.
     
  5. JohnWill

    JohnWill Retired Moderator

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    I choose not to present this option, since the chance of success is not all that good. All you have to do is miss one detail, and you'll spend more time debugging than you would doing a proper install. ;)
     
  6. rollnw24inkmc

    rollnw24inkmc Guest

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    i agree with JohnWill, i did this once when i was installing windows xp onto a couple dells i setting up to sale, i installed windows not looking at it fully but it installed as E instead of C when i went to install the drivers it told me C:\ couldnt be found, i changed the system drive letter and had nothing but problems therefore after, i quickly wiped the hdd clean and did a fresh install and that time made sure the drive letter was c.
     
  7. wingnut73

    wingnut73 Thread Starter

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    Thanks for the replies. That is as I suspected.
     
  8. Jaz666

    Jaz666

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  9. JohnWill

    JohnWill Retired Moderator

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    While that may appear to work, it's a kludge that will surely bite you in the butt at some time in the future. There really is no substitute for doing the job right.
     
  10. Jaz666

    Jaz666

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    I agree that it is a work around and that it always pays to do something right but it works. Clever too.
     
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