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Thread: XP Drive letter change

  1. #1
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    XP Drive letter change

    My problem is I can not find how to change the HDD letter on XP , when installing XP I made the mistake of having my Zip drive hooked up and the letter is now (E) and my Zip is (C), I would start over with out the Zip hooked up but I already activated XP on line.
    Please point me to a link or tell me how to! RoN

  2. #2
    Ultimate Member Strawbs's Avatar
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    IIRC, The only drive letter that can't be changed is the C:\ drive. You have no option but to start over - removing the zip drive & any other removable drive (card reader, ect.) first.

  3. #3
    Extreme Member! BipolarBill's Avatar
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    Datz right.
    MS MCP, MCSE

  4. #4
    Administrator Steve R Jones's Avatar
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    Or you can leave it as is and probably won't have any problems.
    "Vegetarians live up to nine years longer than the rest of us...Nine horrible, worthless, baconless years."

  5. #5
    Ultimate Member rmanet's Avatar
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    how big is the C, or zip drive - my vote's for a reinstall even though you have to deal with M$.....otherwise you got XP on the zip drive and everything else installing to E?

  6. #6
    Ultimate Member G's Avatar
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    The information above is incorrect.

    From my 'More Than Just A Glossary'

    Mount Points
    A mechanism that permits the linking of volumes through directories on NTFS volumes, which results in volumes being accessible without any drive letter assignment. What makes mount points possible is reparse point technology.
    Mount points are reparse points that store a volume name as reparse data. Using the Disk Management MMC snap-in to assign or move path assignments for volumes is an example of a mount point. Mount points can be displayed using the built-in command line tool Mountvol.exe.
    The Mount Manager maintains the Mount Manager remote database on every NTFS volume in which the Mount Manager records any mount points defined for the volume. The database file, $MountMgrRemoteDatabase, resides in the NTFS root directory where volumes assigned a drive letter by the Mount Manager are reserved. Mount points move when a disk moves from one system to another and in dual-boot environments. NTFS also keeps track of mount points in the NTFS metadata file \$Extend\$Reparse – this is not available for viewing. NTFS stores mount-point information in the metadata file so that Windows can easily enumerate the mount points defined for a volume when Windows applications, such as Disk Management, requests mount-point definitions.
    The Mount Manager device driver (mountmgr.sys) assigns all “persistent” (remain assigned to that volume until it is either deleted or changed manually using Disk Management) drive letters for dynamic disk and basic disk volumes created after Windows is installed, storing drive-letter assignments under HKLM\SYSTEM\MountedDevices (note Windows NT-based operating systems store a 4-byte disk signature or volume ID starting within the MBR at offset 0x1B8 (1B8h) which is used to map drive letters to disks in this important registry key. The exception to this rule is that if an online volume (disk) is offline, and a different new volume comes online, it may get the offline volume’s drive letter. Ideally, to keep drive letter assignment intact, keep existing volumes online when introducing new volumes.
    Every volume has a volume name entry in the registry, but not every volume necessarily will have an assigned drive letter. The Mounted Devices registry key is not in the Control set and so is not protected by the Last Known Good Configuration boot option.
    The data that the registry stores in values for basic disk volumes drive letters and volume names is the Windows NT4-style disk signature and the starting offset of the first partition associated with the volume. However, for dynamic disk volumes it includes the DMIO-internal GUID. When a volume is created, the Mount Manager uses the first unassigned drive letter (if one exits) and eventually updates the MountedDevices registry key. If there are no available drive letters, no drive-letter assignment is made.
    A reason for the limit of a directory depth of 32 and a pathname of 256 is to avoid recursion (infinite mount point recursion). Nevertheless, just because Windows assigns a drive letter to a volume does not mean that the volume contains data that has been organised in a filesystem format that Windows recognises. Reparsed points in NTFS make mount points possible.
    On rare occasions the system/boot drive letter, default C, can change without user intervention. It will not be possible to change the volume’s drive letter using the Window Disk Management (WDM) snap-in, which would be the preferred method under normal circumstances.
    The Registry Editor or its equivalent is necessary; serious problems may occur using the method incorrectly. There is no guarantee this method, carried out correctly, will work either.

    1. Create an image and backup critical data.
    2. Go to the following subkey: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\MountedDevices (HKLM is the root key/hive containing all the systemwide configuration subkeys: HARDWARE (hive file path: volatile hive), SAM (hive file path: \Windows\System32\Config\Sam), SECURITY (hive file path: \Windows\System32\Config\Security), SOFTWARE (hive file path: \Windows\System32\Config\Software), and SYSYTEM (hive file path: \Windows\System32\Config\System). This hive key holds most of the information in the registry because it is the placeholder for two other hive keys that are aliased to its subkeys: SAM and SECURITY).
    3. Click on MountedDevices.
    4. Right-click on MountedDevices, and click on Permissions and verify that the key has full Administrative control. This can be changed back later.
    5. Look for \DosDevices\C: (This is the volume with the drive letter C that is not the system/boot volume).
    6. Right-click on \DosDevices\ C:; click on Rename, changing it to a drive letter not in use. The drive letter C is now ready to be reassigned.
    7. Find the \DosDevices\ for the system/boot volume that should be C but isn’t. Right-click on \DosDevices\X:, (X, being the system/boot volume drive letter at this time and is for example purposes only), click on Rename, changing it to C. \DosDevices\X: should now be \DosDevices\ C:
    8. You can change the volume that was incorrectly C using the method, but it can now be changed using the Windows Disk Management snap-in.
    Last edited by G; 06-04-2006 at 05:24 PM.

  7. #7
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    XP Drive Letter Change

    I want to thank all you people who took the time to help with this!
    I'm kind of used to Win. 98Se but XP throwes me curves , and G thank you for taking time to write out what I might be able to do to correct this, I have to get the courage to dive into the REGISTRY, I printed the info out so I can follow it...
    Thanks again RoN

  8. #8
    Ultimate Member G's Avatar
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    The Mount Manager is very important and I used this information to introduce to you about persistent drive letters etc.

    Use the reg instructions and you should be ok. But take an image first and backup critical data.

    Let me know if it works.

  9. #9
    Ultimate Member Strawbs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by G
    ...

    Let me know if it works.
    and let him know if it doesn't too!

  10. #10
    Ultimate Member G's Avatar
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    I'm supremely confident that it will trouble

    Time to seperate the man from the boys

  11. #11
    Ultimate Member G's Avatar
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    Still waiting for news.

  12. #12
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    exelent post G

    G,

    Even though the originator of this thread didn't reply, you can be assured that someone was helped!
    I installed an SATA drive with XP installed into a system that already had an IDE drive with XP on it. I was trying to create a system in which I could boot from either drive. To make a long story short...whenever the IDE drive was booted the file system mounted as d$ instead of c$. The system would boot up to the control-alt-delete screen, but every time a UID and password was entered it cycled from a login directly into a logoff routine and then the control-alt-delete screen came back up.
    I applied the fix you described below and I'm back in business!

    Thank you very much!

  13. #13
    Ultimate Member G's Avatar
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    Thank you for your kind words.

    Glad to have been of help


  14. #14
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    Drive letters for USB Drives?

    Hello G,
    I think you can help me understand something. I bought a Maxtor USB drive (One Touch IV). I prefer to divide the 500 GB into smaller volumes according to the type of information.
    I had many problems having Windows XP recognize the drive correctly. In the end the only thing that worked was doing all the formatting directly with the Disk Management. Then I had a long, nice time without problems.
    Recently I had to reinstall windows. After that, the drive (and all its volumes) won't be correctly recognized unless I start first windows and then plug in the drive. Otherwise I would get only to see the first of 5 volumes and the rest appears as an unformatted partition.
    I am just guessing, but I'm pretty sure that this has to do with the way drive letters are assigned to those volumes in the registry. What I want to do is "fix" the assignment and eliminate any other USB device (sticks...) or removable media (my DVD drive) so they won't "compete" for the same letter. Can I do that? Is there a way to erase everything else? I know there is a record somewhere because I have successfully changed a letter drive for a USB stick (changed from H: to Y and after removing it and inserting it again (even after a restart) it correctly gets again the assigned drive letter.
    I hope my question was clear. I want windows to "forget" any device that is not currently online and ideally fix these assignments.

    Frantz

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    Extreme Member! BipolarBill's Avatar
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