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Drive Letter Assignments in WinXP Pro:

by George Walker

What happened to drive C:

Have you done a clean install of Win XP and had the installed drive turn out to be either E: or F: ? Well you didn’t do anything wrong and there is nothing wrong with your system.

The fact that your hard drive is E: or F: is not a problem as far as the operating system is concerned; however, older software that you wish to install may have a problem if files and information can’t be installed on drive C: .

The assignment of a drive letter other than C: to the hard drive can occur when you are using a new out-of-the box drive, or a drive that has had zeros written to the Master Boot Record. Installing the Win XP operating system from the Windows CD, and proceeding through the install process in a normal manner with a drive as described above, can cause the problem.

The fact that the drive letter will be other than C: can be observed and corrected during the install process as follows:

Welcome to setup Press Enter
EULA Press F8

Screen shows “unpartitioned space” Press C to create a partition

Then press Enter to have only one partition and drive; or, Backspace to clear and enter the desired partition size and then press Enter.

We have created a partition with a drive letter that is not C:
Now we need to delete the partition that was just created.
Press D and the follow the instructions (press L)

We are back where we started and will now repeat the process.

Press C -- backspace and enter the partition size -- Press Enter and the letter shown is C:

Proceed with the installation and when complete the System will be installed on Drive C:

  1. 307844 - HOW TO Change Drive Letter Assignments in Windows XP:
  2. 51978 - Order in Which MS-DOS and Windows Assign Drive Letters:
  3. 318534 - Best Practices for Drive-Letter Assignments on a Server Cluster:
  4. Editing Drive Letter Assignments:
  5. 51978 - Order in Which MS-DOS and Windows Assign Drive Letters:
Disk Management
Windows Help

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