C drive changed to N and now screwed up

November 1, 2011 at 17:09:05
Specs: Windows XP
When attempting to troubleshoot why my PC (Windows XP) suddently wasn't detecting my external hard drive, followed a forum poster's advice to change the drive letter to above "M." I didn't realize it but accidentally changed the letter on my C drive (it was called "O" when I followed directions below. Now I've totally crashed computer; it won't even start b/c (I guess) it can't find the "C" drive commands (don't know language . . . I'm just an amateur). Any help of how to reconfigure to C when I can't even get PC to boot up?

Directions below I followed but changed C drive accidentally to "N."

Right click on my computer
Choose MANAGE
Then find DISK MANAGEMENT
You should see your ext hard drive under the list.
Right click on it, and choose CHANGE DRIVE LETTER
Choose anything, but I recommand something higher than M:


Patrice


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#1
November 1, 2011 at 17:33:43
You did something more than just change the drive letter in Disk Management. Disk Management will not let you change the drive Letter of the System or Boot drive which is usually C. because it will prevent the system from booting.

The only option you have is a re-install. A repair install might do it but it might need a complete reinstall. There is no telling what has happened. If you have any on the drive that you need I would back-it up first using a third party boot disk like BART-PE

Stuart


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#2
November 1, 2011 at 18:22:16
You can't by default change C to any other letter the last time I checked.

1/3 of highway deaths are caused by drunks. The rest are by people who can't drive any better than a drunk.


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#3
November 1, 2011 at 18:26:08
Stuart, thx alot for reply. And I agree with what you said -- you would think it wouldn't have let me change the drive letter of the system or boot drive. But seriously, I followed instructions outlined in my post above, didn't see the external drive b/c for some reason computer stopped recognizing it. There was only one drive, called "O" and I mistakenly changed this (turns out it had to be the "C" drive). It allowd change of drive letter without any warning notice or special hoops to jump through.

What I did before this, maybe contributed to cause, was another person's advice to delete "Upper Filters" and "Lower Filters" in regedit . . . but I dont' think this would cause my c drive to be inaccessible.

Talked to my client's IT guy who tried to help me over phone but that wasn't a good arranagement. He thinks if I mail the desktop to him, it'll take a minute to fix and he's 99% sure he can restore . . . but I really doubted if it's that simple or fixable.

I was afraid the only solution would be re-install as well so you've confirmed this for me. I back up regularly (in fact, was trying to back up when my computer stopped registering the external hard drive which led to this whole mess in first place) so luckily I won't lose much data. Still might look into BART-PE. Thx alot for your help.


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#4
November 1, 2011 at 18:28:09
jefro1, thx for your interest/attempt to help. Pls read my reply to Stuart.

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#5
November 2, 2011 at 12:59:03
Time for an attempt at restore point maybe or use older version of registry or use repair by booting to xp cd. Might just reload it from OEM disks and have a nice clean system.

1/3 of highway deaths are caused by drunks. The rest are by people who can't drive any better than a drunk.


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#6
November 2, 2011 at 13:46:38
" it but accidentally changed the letter on my C drive (it was called "O" when I followed directions below."

StuartS said:

"Disk Management will not let you change the drive Letter of the System or Boot drive which is usually C. because it will prevent the system from booting. "

jefro said:

"You can't by default change C to any other letter the last time I checked."


You can't change the drive letter of the partition Windows loads from. That's usually C, but not necessarily !.

You can change the drive letter of any other drive, EXCEPT for that drive letter for the partition Windows loads from, in Disk Management, to any available drive letter. If the drive letter you want to use is being used, you can change the drive letter of that drive to some other drive letter to free up the drive letter you want to use.

XP's (and 2000's) Setup assigns the drive letter for the partition Windows itself is installed on according to whether not Setup detects that other hard drive partitions that have already been assigned drive letters when Setup is running.

If Setup doesn't detect any other such hard drive partitions, if assigns C to the partition Windows itself is installed on.

If Setup DOES detect any other such hard drive partitions, it assigns the first available drive letter alphabetically to the partition Windows itself is installed on., NOT C !
........

If O were assigned to the partition Windows itself is installed on, you COULD NOT have changed it !.

You're changing that drive letter has nothing to do with why your computer isn't booting properly !

Your computer is not booting normally for some other reason !

Is the mboard booting fine, you have video before Windows is supposed to load ?

Are the power led and hard drive activity led lighting up "?

Does the hard drive activity led blink like it normally does while booting ?

Does the mboard been once or twice like it normally does while booting ?

Do you hear the CPU fan and hard drive spinning ?

Is the power supply fan spinning and blowing air out of the back of the case ?

Do you have, or can you borrow, an XP CD to boot the computer from ?
If you can there are many things you can try to get your system working properly again, without having to install Windows from scratch !
.........

If you install Windows from scratch, if you want XP to assign C to the partition Windows itself is installed on for sure, if you DO have other hard drive partitions drive letters are already assigned to, there are things you can do that will make that happen for sure.



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#7
November 2, 2011 at 13:51:19
Thx a lot for sticking with me, jefro!!! Another forum suggested re-install from OEM disk. I set out to do after some forethought knowing I'd lose a little data, my settings, drivers, etc. But it seemed worth it since most of my data was backed up. At last minute, I saw the R for "Repair" option (which I had considered but doubted it's possible resolution) before I pressed on "delete existing Windows partition." I decided to try repair. It worked!!! I'm so excited. All my data is back as it was before this foopah and I can access all my files.

Sure hope this thread can help someone else and they will have same resolution I did with a lot less stress and "beating myself up for changing C drive" punishment that I went through!!! :)


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#8
November 2, 2011 at 13:54:46
All I can say is (said earlier), it allowed me to change the C drive to "N." Hope all can learn from this -- I'm just an amateur, not an IT person, and changing the letter on c drive was not only possible in 5 seconds but it screwed everything up and crashed my system. It said "O" and I was stupid to fool with it . . . but luckily it was resolved through method I just posted to jefro.

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#9
November 2, 2011 at 14:01:35
We're glad to hear the Repair installation of Windows worked for you,

Installing Windows from scratch or running a Recovery procedure on a brand name computer is a last resort, and a VERY SHORT SIGHTED thing to do if you didn't actually have to do it Those things are only the first step. It can take DAYS to get Windows updated, SP3 updates installed, and everthing else you need to update updated, and the other programs you need to load, minimum, loaded even if you don't care about losing your personal data.

READ the first part of, and the last sentence in, response 6 FYI for the future !


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#10
November 2, 2011 at 14:54:12
" it allowed me to change the C drive to "N."

In that case C WAS NOT the drive letter for the partition Windows itself was installed on !

Start - Run - type: msinfo32 (click OK or press Enter.)

On the right side of the first screen you see there, the lines
Windows Directory
and
System Directory
have the drive letter of the partition Windows is actually running from !

By the way, running the Repair installation of Windows procedure can't change the drive letter assigned to the partition Windows itself was installed on.


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#11
November 3, 2011 at 07:13:17
tubesandwires wrote:

"READ the first part of, and the last sentence in, response 6 FYI for the future !"

Thx for taking your time to attempt to correct this issue. I don't understand what you wrote in these referenced sentences. That didn't help me in starting up a computer I couldn't even boot.

The Repair installation DID resolve the problem and my computer works perfectly as it did before this mistake on my part occurred even though you say it "can't change the drive letter assigned to the partition Windows itself was installed on." What you say may very well be true and I don't know what partition Windows was installed on. I couldn't even boot computer to find out if I'd wanted to know.


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#12
November 3, 2011 at 07:43:49
"What you say may very well be true and I don't know what partition Windows was installed on"

See response 10 !
.....

Regarding the last sentence in response 6:

"If you install Windows from scratch, if you want XP to assign C to the partition Windows itself is installed on for sure, if you DO have other hard drive partitions drive letters are already assigned to, there are things you can do that will make that happen for sure. "

How the drive is connected to the mboard is important regarding whether the partition Windows is installed on will be assigned C by Setup.

You make sure the way the drive is connected to the computer is seen as Master, not Slave, in the mboard's bios Setup. Preferably it should be connected to the first drive controller data connection on the mboard.
If it's an IDE hard drive, on the back of the drive it should either be set to Master (doesn't matter which cable connector of the two for drives it connects to), or to Cable Select and be on the END connector of a 3 connector data cable, and preferably be connected to the Primary IDE data header.

You do things that will HIDE the hard drive partitions that have already been assigned a drive letter previously BEFORE you run Setup, then Setup will always assign C to the partition Windows itself is installed on, then un-HIDE the other partitions after Setup has finished.

- if all the other hard drive partitions that already have been assigned a drive letter previously are on a different physical hard drive, you disconnect that drive's data cable at the drive BEFORE you run Setup. If the drive you disconnected is an IDE drive, you MAY need to change a setting on the back of another drive on the same data cable when you do that.
Or you may be able to disable dtecting that drive in the bios Setup of the mboard.

- if there is one or more hard drive partition(s) on the same hard drive you want to install Windows on that already has(have) been assigned a drive letter previously, you use a free or paid for third party "partition manipulation" program to HIDE the other partitions on the same hrd drive BEFORE you run Setup.
E.g. if Windows is still working properly, the freeware Easesus Partition Master Home Edition is a good one.
If Windows is not working properly, you need a program that has the option of you making a bootable CD you can boot the computer with that has the Dos (or Linux ?) version of the program on it (the free Easesus program can't do that, but the paid for version can) , or a paid for program that has that ability built into the CD - e.g. Partition Magic 8.x , although that's relatively old and is no longer sold new by Symantec.

You can even have more than one XP (or 2000) installation on the same computer, when you're multi-booting, EACH see themselves as having Windows itself installed on C.


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