Installing Windows XP on a drive other than C:

  DannyOH 14:50 27 Jan 2005

Hi all.

Having finally dipped my toe into the mysterious world of drive partitioning, I now understand the wisdom of installing Windows (XP)on a drive other than C:

Disillusioned as I am with Maxblast3, I am trying to partition my Main Hard Drive with the Windows Setup routine.

Windows however INSISTS on calling the first partition C:, the Second, D, and so on. I can see no facility for installing Windows under under any other drive letter.



  taffyal 16:41 27 Jan 2005

I did mine with Partition Magic, but I think theres a way from XP itself- sorry cant help more, but this should bring you to top of list again, maybe someone will explain.

  Chezdez 16:46 27 Jan 2005

may i just enquire as to what the wisdom in installing windows on a drive other than C: is?

  Gongoozler 16:49 27 Jan 2005

Look at paragraph 11 here click here

  anon1 16:49 27 Jan 2005

2 oprating systems but I dont see the point if it is a large partitioned hard drive you are trying this on. I used to have 2 hard drives and had win 98se on one and xp on the other. that made a dual boot system. In theory you should be able to install it as a dual boot.

  Jeffers22 16:54 27 Jan 2005

Like chezdez I would be interested in understanding "the wisdom of installing Windows (XP)on a drive other than C:" Please enlighten us DannyOH.

  FelixTCat 17:38 27 Jan 2005


You are cofusing 2 issues: partitioning and installation. When you partition a single hard disk, the first drive is always C, the second D etc, irrespective of Windows version. When you then install Windows, it asks you where you want to install it, giving a default of c:\windows. You can change this to anything you like in XP.

There is normally no reason to install it on any drive except C: unless you have an installation on C: already and you wish to dual-boot, eg as a test-bed for programs etc, or you have a messed-up installation on C: and you need to access it from a different system.

  DannyOH 19:40 27 Jan 2005

Thanks, guys, for all the input.

Gongoozler: Can you point me to this "I want to install..." checkbox? I've never seen it. Assuming, as you say, it is there somehere, I would have missed it dozens of times!

As for the "wisdom", Chezdez, I was reading on a tech site only today (sorry--forgot which one) that as virtually all Windows systems exist on the default, C: drive, hackers and spyware writers are so spoilt for choice, that normally they couldn't be bothered targeting systems where the OS is under another drive letter.

FelixTCat (and Anon1): Yes, you are right, but if you create (say) three partitions, you only have the facility to install the OS on C, D, or E: What if you want to use "S"--or "O", or whatever? In Disk Manager you can change any drive to any letter you want--except, that is, for the drive on which you've installed the operating system. I know. I've tried it, and it refused, with a bright big message to say so. (A right Catch-22!) As my system requires a minimum of fourteen drive letters, "S" becomes less of an oddity and more of a practicality than for most users.

Way back in the dinosaur-days before the Hard Drive became standard issue in Home Computers, the Floppy Drive (remember when it really was "floppy"--and 5-1/4"??) was (naturally) called A:, with "B:" left vacant in anticipation of when the super-rich amongst us would be able to afford a second floppy. (!) Then, when Hard Drives came in, they (again, naturally) were called C:

Things however, are no longer natural. The C: Drive as Default is a dinosaur left-over, made more hideously ironic by the fact that floppies have already begun to be phased out. Already many top-rank manufacturers no longer include them as standard issue. If anything these days, the Default HD should be A: --but why not, "S:" (--for "System"). Aside from lazy programming, there is no good reason--and shouting to the world what drive your system is on only makes things that much easier for spies and hackers.

Or perhaps there IS a good reason? Can anyone think of any way at all in which putting the (sole) Operating System on a drive other than C: actually might CAUSE a problem? If there is, I'd sure like to know.

All the best to all,

  dan11 21:28 27 Jan 2005

I think I understand what you are looking for. You wish to install the operating system on an extended partition. Have you already got the drive partitioned now, or are you going to do this in the windows setup routine.

Either method is easy to do. I can only guess, so I guess you have a partitioned drive, with nothing on any of the partitions.

This is the way I would do it. Start the setup routine and follow all the prompts to this screen click here ( here C is the main drive with a partition E. D is a slave drive)

Lets assume that your hard drive is sectioned into three partitions. You will of course have a C listed, the other two partitions could be any letter. It depends on the optical, card readers and usb drives you have connected. Lets say you have your hard drive as a C + F + G partition.

Scroll down to highlight the partition you wish to install the operating system, say G on the example and press enter to install.

This should do the job you want.

If your drive is not clean, info on the disks then post back and someone will help you clean this and then start the installation.

If your drive is not partitioned and you wish to partition and format the partitions ( to make them active) and then install on a partition, then post back.

Sorry it's a long thread, but I am trying to cover all bases.

Best of luck:-)

  vitrocmax 23:53 27 Jan 2005

I've seen this link before somewhere in an answer on this forum, and I think it's a great idea. Only thing is, I haven't done it yet...

click here

This example is a bit extreme, I think more than 3 would be getting a bit confusing. I already have 4 card reader drives, my external backup with 2 partitions (to backup 2 separate PCs)and my pen drive. With the DVD and CD I'm up to N: in explorer already.

  temp003 03:04 28 Jan 2005

I'm not sure there is much in the perceived security of having Windows on a drive letter other than C. Most viruses look for the Windows directory (or the system32 subfolder) anyway, whether it's C, D, E or S:\WINDOWS. Ultimately, it comes down to a good AV and firewall, constantly updated, and safe surfing (sorry, I'm sure you know all that).

What is it that you want to achieve?

(1) To have one copy of XP only, but the partition should not be called C (so that D or E would be fine), or

(2) You don't want there to be a C partition at all on your computer?

If you're happy with (1), then you should try dan11's suggestion. If for any reason, XP Setup would not allow you to install the first copy of XP to anything other than C, post back.

If you want (2), that's not easy. You may or may not be justified in complaining about the C convention, but that's the convention. You are right that you cannot change in Disk Management the drive letter for the boot partition or system partition. There is a way of editing the XP registry, but it's risky as you may not be able to log on to Windows if you get it wrong, and it's not recommended. Otherwise, try and find some software to do it for you. At the end of the day, (2) is not worth the trouble.

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