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Solved: How can i change the system volume drive letter?

Discussion in 'Windows XP' started by Lanks, Apr 30, 2010.

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  1. Lanks

    Lanks Thread Starter

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    I have just got a new hard drive, loaded Windows XP, and installed all the programs/drivers that I needed, all was well and good, until I notice that what should be the C drive, is actually the G drive

    I didn't think it could be done, I know you can drive other drive letters in but trying to change the boot drive letter, you get the following message "Windows cannot modify the drive letter of your system or boot volume".....

    Found this online, which I’m happy to try, but not too sure to be honest.

    Any advice would be welcomed; otherwise next week when I’m at work again I’ll start the tedious process of re-installing everything!

    Thanks very much, lanks
     
  2. Mumbodog

    Mumbodog

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    System drive letter cannot be changed, too many registry entries rely on the drive letter assigned when the OS was installed.

    There are some registry hacks to change the drive letter, but they just cause more problems, some render the PC unusable (reinstall needed)

    You might try that suggestion in your article, I mean what do you have to lose, if you are considering reinstalling anyway.



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  3. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    You can't. The advice given at Petri and Microsoft is only useful if the drive letter got changed somehow and you are trying to change it back. But if installed using that letter, you are stuck with it unless you reinstall. Almost nothing will work if you can even boot after you try to change it.
     
  4. Lanks

    Lanks Thread Starter

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    Thanks for your advice guys!

    Regarding Elvandil's post, i'm pretty sure that whilst rebuilding it the drive was labelled C, it was only when i turned it off and left it overnight it changed. I can't be sure 100% though, and it does sound a bit strange that it would do that...

    Anyway, thanks again, i'll begin the rebuild today!

    Take care
     
  5. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    It can't change within itself. In other words, if it booted up and the system letter was C:, then that is what it will stay. But it could be any letter looking at it from another installation or program.

    To be sure that you install to a partition that will name itself C:, just make sure that there are no others already using that letter by removing all other partitions or drives before installation. If there is some reason you can't remove them, it is also possible to hide them using any partition manager like Parted Magic disk partitoning tool (Bootable CD image) (right-click the partition and set the flags). Then you can unhide them after the installation is complete. It's perfectly fine to have as many C: drives as you want (seen from within themselves) but they will be labelled otherwise by other installations. I have Vista and XP both on the same drive, for example, and they are both C:.

    Though almost everything will work fine if you install to a partition labelled with a different letter, some programs won't run or install correctly if their writers used C: instead of a variable for the system drive. And even within programs, it is easy while writing one to mistakenly put C: where a variable should exist. So, it's better to go with the flow and name your system partition C: to avoid other problems and for sheer compatibility.
     
  6. Lanks

    Lanks Thread Starter

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    Thanks again Elvandil! I appreciate the help a lot, learning new things :)

    Regarding the partitions, technically, should it have had a partition on it already if it was a brand new hard disk? I didnt think they did. And it was a brand new hd.

    Another issue is, i wouldnt have seen what partitions were previously used as i built it using an image on our network, so if there was a used partition it would have just built the os on the next letter?

    I've rebuilt it now, just installing Windows Updates as i write!
     
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