Hard Drives Switched Names

June 16, 2009 at 21:12:13
Specs: Windows XP
I own a SYSTEMAX PC which started to have problems recognizing external hard drives. i checked their website for an answer and it recommended a Microsoft upgrade (i forgot which one). I downloaded and installed the upgrade and now my computer won't boot up.
i checked and now the C Drive has become the D Drive and vice versa. I know this because of their difference in size. I can't even get into the compter to change their drive names. Stupid question: Can I just switch the drives internally in the computer? I really didn't want to do anything until I backed up my family photos but i can't use an external hard drive! Thanks for your help.

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June 16, 2009 at 23:09:06
Well if you can still go in the windows then copy the important files from the drive where the OS is installed and then save them on the other partition.

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June 17, 2009 at 22:51:17
Switching them might work. If they're jumpered CS then you don't need to change any jumpers. If they're jumpered MASTER/SLAVE you need to swap those settings.

If it doesn't work then just move everything back to the original configuration.

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June 17, 2009 at 23:56:14
Thanks but I'm not all that up to speed with the lingo. I am comfortable with adding RAM and installing video cards and wireless cards, stuff like that but i don't know all of the terminology. What is "CS" and what are the "jumpers"? I'm guessing that if i need to ask these questions i may need to have someone more proficient do the work. Thanks for your input.

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Related Solutions

June 18, 2009 at 14:21:42
On the back of the drives next to the ribbon cable connection will be a block of pins. There's a diagram here:


that will give you the general idea of what it looks like. If you post back the exact model number of the hard drives we should be able to direct you to their settings.

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June 18, 2009 at 18:45:24
"I own a SYSTEMAX PC which started to have problems recognizing external hard drives."

External harddrives require 500ma of current from the USB port they connect to, or from two USB ports or one USB port and an external power adapter if they can't get enough current from one port.
Problems with you not being able to get external hard drives recognized properly are almost always caused by you plugging them into a port that can't supply enough current, or on a desktop computer, much less likely, the power supply is failing, or you have an IRQ sharing problem you need to fix.

See response 6 in this:

OR - you have been unplugging the external hard drive(s) while Windows is running without clicking on the Safely Remove icon in your task bar (by default it's a gray rectangle with a lime green arrow overtop - it may be hidden and you have to click on a < at the left end of the taskbar icon area to reveal it) and choosing to Stop accessing the drive BEFORE you unplug it.
NOT doing that can damage the data on the drive!
The same applies to flash drives, or any USB connected device user data can be stored on.

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June 18, 2009 at 21:38:46
The c: and d: drives whose names have been switched, were those internal or external drives?

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June 19, 2009 at 07:08:33
The title of this topic is incorrect.

Hard drives can't switch names (volume labels) unless you deliberately do that to them yourself - but the logical drive letter assigned to the drive can change.

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June 19, 2009 at 18:16:13
DAVEINCAPS and tubesandwires,
Thank you both for your input. The hard drives are internal. If i switched the drive names, it was completely unintentional. normally, if i am unsure of a YES/NO answer when it comes to computers, I hit "NO". In this case, i was installing a microsoft update and didn't question what was going on. Another hard lesson learned. Thanks.

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June 20, 2009 at 08:25:21
If you tell us which Systemax model you have, we may be able to help you better. The specific model is usually on a label on the outside of the case somewhere.
E.g. you may merely need to change a setting in the bios Setup.

"If i switched the drive names, it was completely unintentional."

Nothing you have mentioned indicates you have changed any names.

The logical drive letter assigned to a drive partition is NOT it's name.

It's common to call each letter assigned in Windows a drive, but it's actually a logical drive.
A logical drive letter in Windows can be for the only partition on a physical hard drive, but not necessarily.

It sounds like you have one partition on each of the two internal hard drives. In that case, one logical drive letter is assigned to the one partition on the one physical hard drive, another logical drive letter is assigned to the one partition on the other hard physical drive.
However, there can be more than one partition on each physical hard drive, and in that case a logical drive letter is assigned to each partition on them that Windows recognizes (it has to be partitioned using a partitioning type XP recognizes - FAT, FAT32, or NTFS - and formatted), so in that case the number of logical drive letters is greater than the number of physical hard drives.

Each physical hard drive has a name - usually a model name -- however many partitions it has on it. That NEVER changes. However, that's not visible in My Computer ot Windows Explorer.
The name - usually a model name - is shown in Device Manager in Windows, and often on newer mboards, in the bios Setup.
E.g. RIGHT click on My Computer - select Properties - Hardware - Device Manager - open up Disk drives to see the list of hard drives.
In most cases their manufacturer's model names are listed, unless you have a relatively ancient hard drive, in which case it may show generic drive or similar.

In My Computer or Windows Explorer in Windows, XP doesn't assign a name - a label or volume label - to the drive by default, but you can assign a name to it if you so desire - a label or volume label - that does NOT normally change if the logical drive letter assigned to the drive changes.
RIGHT click on the logical drive letter - select Properties - type a name - label - you want to assign to the partition in the top box. Click OK to save the name - label. You then see that name - label - beside the drive letter in My Computer or Windows Explorer.

Installing software does not normally change the name - label or volume label - assigned to the partition - it's possible but that would be extremely rare for it to do so.

Older mboard bioses often assign drive letters to hard drives according to how the bios detects them and in what order they are detected and how they are connected/jumpered to the mboard - but they're not necessarily the same drive letters assigned to the same drives in XP

Running or installing software can but doesn't normally change the logical drive letter assignments, but loading bios defaults in the mboard's bios Setup, or clearing your cmos by moving a jumper on the mboard then moving it back, or flashing your bios with a newer version (update) or older version, or the same version, CAN change logical drive letter assignments of two or more internally installed drives, if the boot order in the bios Setup is changed by doing so

Or switching which IDE drive is on which connector on a 3 connector data cable when both on a data cable are jumpered CS (cable select) , or changing which drive is jumpered master or slave, or removing or installing a drive, CAN change logical drive letter assignments of two or more internally installed drives, if the boot order in the bios Setup is changed by doing so, or for other reasons.

You usually don't need to touch the existing jumpers for master or slave or cable select on the drives or change which connectors on a data cable they connect to (especially if you didn't do that just before the drive letters changed) . Just go into your bios Setup settings and change which hard drive boots first to the one you want to be C by finding and changing that in the boot order settings if each hard drive is listed there, not just one, or in a list of hard drives which is usually in on the same page as where you set the boot order settings.

The logical drive letters are assigned by default to external hard drives (and flash drives) in the alphabetical order, C and above, of the the first and lowest one after whichever drive letters were already assigned at the time they when they were plugged in. XP retains whatever drive letter was assigned until that particular physical drive is unplugged.

Under normal circumstances, if the logical drive letter assignments have not changed for some reason, that applies to internal drives.
XP retains whatever drive letter was assigned until that particular physical internal drive is unplugged.
E.g. If E was assigned to your CD or DVD drive, it retains that drive letter even if you unplug one of the drives that were assigned C and D.


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June 21, 2009 at 17:58:18
It is a SYSTEMAX Venture B517.
I bought is from tigerdirect and had it custom made.
What used to be the C drive is a 80GB 7200rpm 3G SATA II. The D drive is a 160GB 7200rpm 3G SATA II.
I never had the drives partitioned but after all of this took place My Computer showed a "new" drive was crested. The new drive has a capacity of 10GB.
Thanks again for all of your input and advice.

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June 21, 2009 at 22:18:58
SATA?? Then ignore what I said above about the jumpering, etc. That was for regular IDE. For specific info on your drives it might be best to go to their manufacturer's site.

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