New hard drive not recognised as C:

By GilesX123
Oct 13, 2003
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  1. Current PC = 20GB HD with Win98SE

    I have just added a new hard drive (Excelstor 60GB 7200 ATA100) which I want to install Win XP onto it, but cannot get it to be the C: drive, it always comes out as F:

    Steps taken so far:
    1. Set jumpers on new drive as master
    2. Set jumpers on old drive as slave
    3. Using the existing cable for the old drive, connected the new drive to the end of the cable and the old drive (which was at the end of the cable) now to be in the middle.
    3. Booted from floppy
    4. at the A: prompt, could only see C: and this was the old drive.
    5. Set BIOS to allow boot from CD
    6. Re-booted, with WinXP disk in CD drive.
    7. WinXP started to install - but it saw C: as the old drive and allowed me to create a partition on the new drive, which it named F:
    8. After WinXP installed OK, re-set BIOS not boot from CD.
    8. Re-boot and PC loads WinXP with no apparent problems - except that it is all F: drive.

    What have I done wrong? I want WinXP to be on the new drive as C: and use the old drive as a different letter.

    Help / suggestions please

    Many thanks
  2. Hodsocks

    Hodsocks TechSpot Guru Posts: 525

    I have had the same probs in the past with Win XP and usually have to resort to disconnecting the old drive, loading XP on the new drive....which is now the c: drive.....and then reconnect the old drive which will now be your F; drive. Its not a very glamorous fix I know, but it works.
    I have a zip drive on my machine which it sometimes calls the c: drive if I need to reload XP and my hard drive as the F: drive. Yet if I redo the installation, the second time it will correctly call my hard drive the C: drive......go figure...cos I can't.
    Someone on here may have a better fix.
  3. GilesX123

    GilesX123 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    I think I have a more fundamental problem than that!!

    I disconnect the old drive - so only the new drive connected and set as master.

    Re-boot from system disk and there are no drives other than A: - all others are "Invalid drive specification".

    I am currently thinking that maybe my BIOS does not recognise the new hard drive - it being new and larger than the original - I know that there was a limit (32GB?) at some stage, but have not idea about how to check if that applies to the BIOS version I am currently using.

    The really wierd thing though is that, as it boots up it says that D0 is an ExcelStor 58GB drive - so somewhere it is picking up the drive specifications, but I cannot then access it from the A: prompt.

    HELP !!
  4. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 6,304   +52 Staff Member

    You cannot access it from A: because it is NTFS, most likely. DOS canot read NTFS.

    Boot from your Windows XP CD and when the option presents itself, use the "Recovery console". You will be able to navigate (much like DOS) through your files so you can see them working.

    If you change drive letters, you'll have change your boot information. Performing a Windows XP repair can do this for you, or you can do it manually through recovery console.
  5. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 Newcomer, in training Posts: 6,504

    Yes it does, and that's what I think that GilesX123 has to do.
  6. alphnumeric

    alphnumeric Newcomer, in training Posts: 209

    The partition that is marked active will always show up as C:\. Doesn't mater where the drive is physically connected in the PC. And yes you can't see an NTFS partition from DOS. XP and 2K pro can handle NTFS and Fat partitioned drives in the same PC. A 9x OS can't see an NTFS partition or Drive in that PC. If your new drive is not partitioned and or formated it won't show up when you boot up with a 9x boot disk. If it's NTFS it will show up as a non dos partition when you use view the partition information in fdisk. If you boot from the XP cd it should be able to formate the disk to what ever format you want.
  7. Betageek48

    Betageek48 Newcomer, in training Posts: 26

    That's where I use Partition Magic to prepare the disk b4 I do any OS setups on them.
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