does swapping hard drives change their letter

February 27, 2011 at 14:18:46
Specs: Xp media, Penguin d 820
My c drive went bad and I have a second hard in the machine designated as k:/ if I swap drives will the k drive become the c drive.

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#1
February 27, 2011 at 14:26:51
You mean like magic? Nope. If you mirror these two hard drives it could work, depending on the kind of hard drives they are (IDE or SATA), and what drives are set to boot in the BIOS.

If your K:\ drive was just a backup hard drive, that's all it is, a backup; there would be no operating installed on that drive and you couldn't boot to it.

Just another stupid saying...


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#2
February 27, 2011 at 18:37:15
It depends. Drives do not have a letter permanently allocated to them unless you the user allocate drive letter via Disk Management and then the information is stored in the registry, not on the applicable drive.

Windows allocates drives letters EVERY TIME it boots, allocating letters first to primary partitions then extended partitions and finally, removable drives, taking note of any information stored in the registry on the boot drive.

If you take out the C: drive an install the operating system on what is now the K: drive it will almost certainly end up a the C: drive. If it had been allocated a drive letter in Disk Management, that information is now lost. Exactly what happens depends on what other drives you have in the system. If you were to reinstate the old drive C: while the computer is booting from the old drive K: it would almost certainly get a different drive letter.,

It is for this reason that when you boot the Windows Installation disk you are likely to get different drive letter allocations than when booting the system becasue it does not have access to the registry to read any allocations that have been made by the user. This has caught a few people when they have deleted a partition according to the drive letter only to find out they have deleted the wrong partition.

Since Windows XP the actually letters allocated to drives is just for convenience. The necessity to boot off drive C: is no longer there. It can boot of any drive and the drive letter is immaterial.

Stuart


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#3
February 27, 2011 at 19:39:36
2000 and XP's Setup assigns the drive letter used for the hard drive partition Windows itself is installed on according to which hard drive partitions Setup detects have already been assigned drive letters by 2000 or XP.

If Setup detects no other hard drive partitions that have been assigned a drive letter, or if it does but C is available, it assigns C to the hard drive partition Windows itself is installed on.

If you deleted the existing partition you now see as K and made a new partition in the same drive space, Setup when run after that will assign C to the hard drive partition Windows itself is installed on - if it is installed on the partition formerly assigned K that was deleted, it will be assigned C.

If you do not delete the existing partition you now see as K but just delete the data on it, I don't know whether it would still be assigned K or be assigned C - I haven't tried that. I would delete the partition just to be sure it was assigned C.
.....

If there ARE other hard drive partitions that Setup detects have already been assigned a drive letter by 2000 or XP, Setup will use the first available drive letter for the hard drive partition Windows itself is installed on .

In Windows, in Disk Management, you can change the drive letter assigned to any hard drive partition (or optical drive, or flash drive partition, or external hard drive partition, or memory card partition) to any other available - free - drive letter between C and Z and including C and Z, except that you can't change the drive letter assigned to the partition windows is booting from - the one for the hard drive partition Windows itself is installed on.
If the drive letter you want to use is not free, you can change the drive letter of whatever is now using it to another drive letter to free up the drive letter you want to use.
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If there ARE other hard drive partitions that Setup could detect have already been assigned a drive letter by 2000 or XP, if C is already being used, and if you want the new Windows installation to use C for the hard drive partition Windows itself is installed on,
- if all the other hard drive partitions are on other physical hard drives, disconnect them, or disable them being detected in the mboard's bios, BEFORE running Setup. May require changing the jumper setting on the back of the one remaining connected hard drive is if it's IDE.
- OR - use a "partition manipulation" program to HIDE all other existing hard drive partitions BEFORE you run Setup, then un-hide them after Setup has finished. E.g. use the freeware Easeus Partition Master Home Edition, or Partition Magic if you have that but it's not free.

If you want to dual boot 2000 or XP, you can use the same methods to have both operating systems see C as being assigned for the hard drive partition their Windows installation itself is installed on, but you will need to set up the dual boot feature after you have un-hidden the other windows installation if you want to use Windows built in multi-boot support.



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#4
February 28, 2011 at 23:37:21
Windows stores information about drive mapping in registry, so if the HDD where you had your C drive went down and you reinstall windows on another HDD which currently holds your K drive, it will be a totally new installation and that drive will become C.

Laptop Blog


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