How to change denomination of DRIVES in Win XP, please??

By franklogus ยท 11 replies
Jul 23, 2004
  1. Hi all !
    I got a problem with Windows XP and one new HD that I have installed in my PC...
    I have installed a bigger and better HD in my PC; I have formatted it and, into the BIOS, the "old" HD, that was as "primary/main" (I had two HDs before, too), I set to "slave/secundary" ... So, my newest one I set to "main/primary"...
    The problem is: My Windows Xp is recognizing my NEW HD as F: (I would like C:), and my "old" HD as C: (I would like F:). I dont know why, but Win XP "changed" its names ... All they are working well, but as I am accustumed that my "main" HD is C:, this situation is odd...
    Is there some way of to fix this problem (to invert its denomination), in a SAFE way?? (I wouldnt like to damage any data of the two devices)
    Thanks a lot in advance for any help !!

  2. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +422

    Yes in the Computer Management control panel you can change your drive letters. If you want one of them a letter that is already taken you will need to change to a different letter temporarly.

    HD1 = C
    HD2 = D
    change HD2 to C
    HD1 change to T or somethign
    HD2 to C
    HD1 from T to D
  3. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    I don't think you can change the boot partition's drive letter (without reinstalling something).
  4. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    Your system drive letter cannot be changed though. So if you installled XP on your new drive which is showing up as F:, then you cannot change that.

    You'll need to delete the partition and reinstall XP.

    When you format a drive, it leaves the partition intact. I think Windows has some sort of information it tags the partition with to identify the drive as a certain letter.

    But if you delete these partitions, the first partition on the primary master drive will always be C: when you recreate the them.
  5. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +8

    actually, you can change ANY partition letter by editing the registry :evil:


    If you wanted to change c: to d:, you would go in there with regedit and rename the value name from




    Then reboot.

    Windows will no longer try and stop this from happening as it might in device manager. However, this is a great way to break your machine, which is why windows DOES stop you.

    When this is useful is where you find, after a hard disk upgrade and a restore, that Windows has mistakenly made your system drive d: or something, when in fact it should be c: .
  6. franklogus

    franklogus TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 47

    Thanks for your hints!
    But I am afraid of to try to change it before some questions:
    1) If I try to change using "disk management" (above), will I be able to use Windows system restore if something go wrong? Can I have "boot" problems with my PC?
    2) Can I create a "transitory" drive letter (as G), for my current drive C (Because I need to rename my actual "F" to "C", which is currently in use ...)?
    PS: My PC is booting by the "right" drive (actual "F" - No problems of boot ...), So, I ONLY need to change/invert DRIVE DENOMINATION, nothing more...
    Thanks for your attention!!
  7. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +422

    Well it appears that you can't swap drive letters like you want in this senario. Your best bet is to just keep it the way it is and get used to it. Or do what Rick discribed above.
  8. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +8

    windows 2000 would let you change drive letter of the system drive, but windows xp will not. It was the first Microsoft OS that would not.

    At least... as far as I remember, anyway. I have not tried it in a long time.

    If you try to boot XP with a changed system drive letter, I doubt seriously you will get to a useable desktop. Maybe if you were to log in with an account that had no locally cached profile... I dunno. All I know is that it does not like it and I could not find a way to make it like it.
  9. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    Hmm, if %systemroot% or %windir% contain drive letter (I don't remember if they do), it could explain why the operating system would express blue colors and death ;)
  10. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    I imagine a lot of programs out there have hard paths, instead of relative drive paths. I'm positive it would cause more harm than what it is worth.
  11. searayx350

    searayx350 TS Rookie

    Change Drives In Xp

    I had a similar problem. I built a fresh sys and configured a SATA RAID 0. to my dismay winXP labeled the drive as "I"
    I used the advise given by Phantasm66 about the





    All you have to do to make this work is to

    1. Run regedit and export your registry

    2. Use notepad to find and replace all old references of the drive letter (in my case "I:") with the new value (in my case "C:").

    3. Import the edited reg file by clicking on it (you will get a couple of errors about some values in use - this is normal)

    4. Reboot

    5. Export reg again and do the find and replace thing one more time to cover the values previoulsy in use and then re-import it

    6. Reboot

    7. Enjoy

    The above worked fine for me on 2 systems with different hardware / software installed.

    NOTE! -- Make sure when you find and replace you use "I:\" to "C:\" so the changes will be made as intended.

  12. Dundas

    Dundas TS Rookie

    Main drive is "I:/" and I want it to be "C:/", BUT C:/ is already occupied!

    Hi, I have the very same issue as Searayx350 where I installed a Raid 0 setup and my main "C:\" drive letter changed to "I:\". However, I have an additional related problem and that is my "C:\" is currently taken up by a CD Rom. The interesting thing here is that I unplugged all my CD/DVD/removable card readers and Floppy devices and this CD Rom device still appears!!! After double checking I could not find a way to remove it.

    I have just spent the better part of 48 hours setting up my new system (3rd time this year, but first on this brand new system) and I would like help/advice on what I should do here. I have some programs still wanting to find the program files on "C:\", but of course they won't find it on a phantom CD drive and therefore they won't boot up.

    My question is: if I follow Searayx350's proceedure will I encounter a problem with the seemingly phantom CD device? Will it automatically change to something else if I attend to changing the I:/ to C:/?

    If all fails, how should I recover my original registery? Will going to Safe mode and resetting to a former date work or will I have to copy a backup of the registery first to a floppy (& I nearly didn't buy a floppy for my new system!) and reload it - if so, what is the proceedure to do this?

    My System:
    pet name - "Hercules"
    Op - WIN XP SR2
    Athlon Board - Diamond K8N (Max 6 HDD in 2 x dual raid)
    Onboard dual Raid Chip 1 - Silicon Image Raid Sil3232 (max 2 drives)
    Onboard dual Raid Chip 2 - Nvidia nForce Raid (max 4 drives)
    Onboard FarStone SCSI Host Adapter
    Onboard 7.1 Creative Sound
    Athlon CPU - 3700Mhz
    Memory - 2Gb Dual 3200 (2 x 1Gb)
    HDD SATA - 4 x 200Gb (2 HDD on each RAID chip)
    HDD IDE - 2 x 200Gb (raid not deployed)
    HDD Firewire (Internal) - 2 x 200Gb (video editing)
    HDD USB 2.0 (Internal) - 2 x 200Gb (audio editing)
    Pioneer DVDRW/CDRW
    Pioneer DVD/CDRW
    PlusDeck 2 (internal cassette deck)
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