Hard Drive Letter Changed...Won't Boot

  01chris 17:57 08 Feb 2007

After getting a new external hard drive I decided to backup my PC. I ran Norton Ghost and told it to backup the C drive to the E drive. Foolishly I didn't make a recovery disc!!

So the computer rebooted and did the usual "Press F2 to enter setup" etc. Then the screen went blank for a second and a small message saying "Missing Operating System".

I checked in the BIOS and the hard drive is being detected, I then booted using a Slax live cd and all the files on the hard drive seem to be intact. I then tried the Windows CD and ran the recovery console which told me that the C drive had been changed to the D drive...I presume this is why it is telling me the OS is missing.

Bearing in mind I can't boot into Windows, how do I change the drive letter back to C? I read somewhere that using a Windows 98 floppy and running fdisk\mbr would reset the drives but without having a Win98 PC I can't try it, I am also wondering if that is the right route to take.

Any ideas?

Thanks in advance

  VoG II 18:05 08 Feb 2007

Have you tried booting from the Norton Ghost CD then from the Recovery Environment restoring an image from E to C?

  01chris 18:32 08 Feb 2007

Thanks for the quick reply VoG, but

(A) No image was made...after the reboot Norton Ghost didnt even start up.


(B) The contents of the hard drive is still intact, all I need to do is change the drive letter.

  skidzy 18:41 08 Feb 2007

You may find something from Bootdisk click here

Not sure if this will help,will the system boot into safe mode...... Just to add,im not sure you can edit the registry in in safemode. click here

  Ashrich 18:42 08 Feb 2007

Have you tried altering the boot settings , it sounds like it is trying to boot from the backup drive , have a look in the bios again .


  01chris 20:47 08 Feb 2007

skidzy - thanks, I am trying a boot disc now and as for safe mode...it can't find the OS so it wont be able to boot into safe mode.

ashrich - thanks but I have tried that...anyway, the backup drive isn't plugged in anymore

  lotvic 21:20 08 Feb 2007

Give this a try. Get a Win98 boot floppy (download one from
click here if you need to). Boot your computer from the floppy.
Execute the command "fdisk /mbr". Remove the floppy and reboot into XP.
See if that fixes it.

XP boot drive letter changed click here ""The "fdisk /mbr" trick forces XP to rebuild the partition signatures by deleting the Disk ID in the MBR (which invalidates the old signatures). The XP recovery console's "fixmbr" and Win98's "fdisk /mbr" are functionally
equivalent except "fixmbr" is smart enough to not touch the Disk ID. In this case, we want the Disk ID deleted, which fdisk will do (albeit,

  01chris 23:48 09 Feb 2007

I have discovered that, for some reason, what I think to be a Dell partition for diagnostics, has been assigned to C:\, therefore knocking Windows back to D:\.

I just need a partition manager that I can run outside of Windows that will change the partition letters around for me, then I think I have cracked it. Anyone know any good ones?


  Phphred 11:02 10 Feb 2007

you could try getting the OS selector from Acronis

  Graham. 11:56 10 Feb 2007

Can you rename the current drive C, perhaps to Z? This will make C available, and the OS may revert to it.

  01chris 18:27 10 Feb 2007

Thanks but I need an app that I can download on one pc, put onto a floppy/cd then boot the other computer from. I have no way of installing it on the "broken" computer.

also, graham, thanks, this is what I was hoping to do.


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