odd h drive letter assignments

  zabbat 01:11 25 Jan 2004

recently reinstalled windows xp pro, i have 2 hard drives 80 gig and 120 gig, they where partitoned but i wanted to remove partitions and have just 2 drives in windows, c and d. i used xp disc to reformat the drives and thought i had done well but once windows was up and running i dicoverd that my hard drives where C and F with my 2 dvd rom drives being D and E. I am at a loss why this is as i thought hard drives where assigned letters first. Also my boot drive is F.
i never had a problem formating and installing when i had just 1 hard drve but since i bought another (the 120 gig) i have had nothing but problems. i know the problems are not with the drive the problem is i do not know how to format them correctly. can any one please help.

  Djohn 03:01 25 Jan 2004

zabbat, with XP and if you are doing a fresh install, then you can format and partition the drives from the install sequence shown on-screen. You just use the arrow keys on the keyboard to move up/down to select the drive you want to partition then format it.

After formating each partition, come back to the C: drive, or "0" drive as it will be shown and install XP to there.

Once you have XP installed, up and running, then you do your formatting/partitioning from within windows and not from the XP CD.

Right click on your "My Computer" Icon and choose "Manage" then click on "Disk Management". This will show both your drives and any partitions you have. You can alter any partition on any drive except the partition that has your O/S on.

If your first drive has a partition of say 10gb and the O/S is on that, then that will have to stay, [Unless you use a third party software like partition magic or similar]. But the rest of that drive can be formatted and set up in separate partitions or left as a whole.

The second drive can also be left as a complete drive or sectioned into partitions as you wish. Also the letters can be assigned from here as well. If your second drive already has partitions on it and you want to alter or remove them, you can.

Lets say your second drive is divided into three partitions, right click on the partition you no longer want and select "Delete" this will leave you with 2 partitions. If you want to delete one of those then do the same again. After deleting one or more right click again and select "Format". This will format the drive or partition ready for you to use.

Hope this helps, if not please post back and I will try to explain further. j.

  temp003 04:50 25 Jan 2004

Follow Djohn's advice, and start again (particularly when the "boot drive" is F - which is too confusing).

Make sure that the hard disk you want to boot from is set as the master (check jumpers), and go into BIOS to make sure that the first boot device is the primary master.

Boot up computer with XP CD. Back in XP Setup, choose install fresh copy. When asked where to install XP and you get the graph of the hard disks and partitions, highlight the existing partitions one at a time, and select D to delete the partition. Confirm the action.

When all the partitions have been deleted, highlight the first hard disk, and press C to create a new partition. Enter partition size in MB (1GB=1024MB) - see later. Back to the graph, highlight the newly created partition, and press Enter to install XP there. Then choose format with NTFS file system, and after that proceed with installation. Don't bother about creating and formatting another partition in the second hard disk at this stage.

When XP has been installed and loaded, go into Disk Management as Djohn suggests. Right click your optical drives, one at a time, and select change drive letter. I suggest you change it from D and E to X and Y respectively. And make the changes as early as possible, before you install programs (to avoid wrong drive letters in the registry).

[Note also that changing the optical drive letters will also mean that the drive letter for XP's installation source in the registry (stated as the D drive) will be wrong - but that will not cause you any problem. You don't have to change the registry, but if you want to, you can.]

By pushing the optical drives to X and Y, in future whatever partitions or removable drives you get, you'll always get D, E, F and so on. You also have the Z letter available if you need to install a third optical drive.

Then create further partitions on the hard disks, as Djohn suggested. For the second hard disk (called Disk1), you may or may not need to "initialise" the hard disk. If you right click the drive and that's the only option available, just select that option. Then you can right click again and create new partitions, when you'll be prompted for partition size and file system for formatting. Wait until you see the word "healthy" for the new partition before you exit Disk Management or create further partitions.

You've had partitions before and obviously that's a personal choice. You may have your own reason for not having smaller partitions (such as video editting). It's just that 80GB and 120 GB partitions are so large, that any defragging is going to take an age. If for any reason you need a large Windows partition (e.g. if you need a large disk for the Temp folder for, say, video editting), you can always change the environment variable in XP, and move the Temp folder to another partition, but keeping the XP partition smaller. But that's your call.

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

Elsewhere on IDG sites

WPA2 hack: How secure is your Wi-Fi?

HP’s new Surface Pro rival is designed specifically for Adobe-using designers and artists

Best kids apps for iPhone & iPad

Que faire si son iPhone ou iPad est tombé dans de l'eau ?