changing system drive letter

  Babou 16:59 12 Jan 2005

After a few days' faffing around with a refurbished system (swapping hard drives, adding optical drives, swapping hard drives back again, installing XP, adding USB drives, installing SP2 etc etc) everything is working - but the system drive is E, not C.

The old hard drive had stayed C even though it was slaved to the new one. I was so focused on retrieving data I didn't notice the drive letters. I renamed the old drive R using the Disk Management tool, but you can't rename the system drive.

I was going to live with it, but then I tried installing Norton Anti-Virus, and it threw ten kinds of wobblies. It refuses to install because drive C doesn't exist.

My data is safely backed up and it would be no big deal to reformat and start again; but I read somewhere that you can use Partition Magic to change the letter of the system drive. I already have Partition Magic (haven't installed it on this system yet), but before I dive in, can I ask has anyone done this? Will it work?

Otherwise, how best to proceed?

  Zak 19:26 12 Jan 2005
  Mango Grummit 19:29 12 Jan 2005

Yes - Partition Magic has Drive Mapper included. It is quite easy to use to do what you want to do BUT can Partition Magic be installed on anything other than 'C' ??

I don't know the answer to that.

  Babou 20:18 12 Jan 2005

Zak - I had already printed that out and have it in my handbag! But thanks anyway.

Mango - I hadn't thought of that. Good lord, this could run and run ...

  temp003 05:28 13 Jan 2005

In an XP system, XP writes the hard disk drive letter asignment into the MBR (disk signature) and remembers it. This has advantages and disadvantages, but in a case such as yours, it's a bit of a pain.

In the long run, it might be simpler to reinstall XP. Make sure your data is backed up first. Connect the hdd where you want XP installed and set as master, disconnect the other hdd, boot up with CD, choosing to install fresh copy. When asked where to install XP, highlight each partition one by one and press D to delete. Confirm. Re-create partitions. Choose desired partition to install to. Format in NTFS. Carry on.

  Babou 16:36 13 Jan 2005

Thanks, temp003. In the end what I did was even simpler - I installed Partition Magic (an old version but still compatible) and changed the drive letter. As the program warned me, this did indeed make the computer unbootable. But I just dropped in the XP disk and rebooted, then reformatted C and reinstalled XP. The data on the slaved drive was still intact and everything is now working smooth as butter.

Thanks everyone for your help.

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