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Can I reconcile altered logical drive letters in Win'95(a) registry?

Posted on 2001-08-06
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2008-03-10
Preparing to upgrade from Win'95 version A to Win'98 upgrade 2nd Edition I may have gotten myself into a hopeless situation with regard to maintaining access to all of my extensive previously loaded applications which I really DON'T WANT TO HAVE TO RELOAD AGAIN. I use System Commander Deluxe which allows selection of which OS to boot upon startup.  The manual said safest way to upgrade is to install new OS into a separate partition. So, I deleted an empty 2GB logical G: in Extended partition area of Drive-0 hoping to recreate a new G: in the Primary partition area after shrinking Extended partition and growing Primary partition. What happened was the new partition on Drive-0 came back as K: (in Extended area but showing as a "Primary"), AND logical drive letters H:,I:,J:, and K: on Drive-1 were all shifted back one letter (D: remained unchanged). Now it appears that some of my applications have just vanished because the registry doesn't coincide with the altered drive letters. I hear that Win NT 4.0 System Administrator allows changing drive letter designations but I don't know if there's a way to do it in Win'95(a)??? My partitions are all valid, free of virus', and defragmented. (I have installed: Norton Utilities, Partition Magic, and Cleansweep which has a pretty good registry edit utility. Also a CD-R drive.)

I only mentioned the above as possible tools to accomplish my goal of ugrading to Win98 without having to reload all of my applications.  I assume Win'98 will be able to convert the Win'95 Registry if it is correct.  So it seems to me I have two options: 1) restore logical drive letters to what they were before some of them got shifted by using the System Commander partitioning tool (which has no undo feature); or, 2) Ugh, cleanup hundreds of registry entries for applications now residing on different drive letters.  I currently have the same number of logical drive letters  I had originally, it's just that G:,H:,I:,J:, and K: are not what they used to be.  I'm thinking if I delete and re-create again, they'll probably all shift one more position.
Question by:lhale
LVL 24

Expert Comment

ID: 6356368
No, Windows has not those the features of WinNT. Further, for multi-OS/multi-boot, each has its own registry, so applications will need to be added to each, and since they do not communicate, the options and features of each application is not synched, so modifying for one O/S could degrade the other. This was less complicated for older sytems saving configurations in .cfg and .ini files that had single entries for definitions and could be backed up and moved separately.

MS-Windows itself will assign drive letters in the exact order of discovery. That is the base from which the problem should be approached. Generally, clean installs work better for long term than any update, so consider putting new O/S on c:, and have it small FAT for compatibility.

Still, for original Win95, two possibilities come to mind. First revisit the 3rd party partitioner program, since it seems to be the one that messed it up. See if it has a go_back undo option or if there is a step missing in the process performed to achieve the goal desired.

On the drive mappings, if you cannot get PM to provide g: as desired, consider revisiting the 2GB you deleted from g:, and take back a minimum small slice of it back to extended partition area. To give it a functional meaning, consider it a backup for few critical files, such as for booting, like AutoExec.Bat and Config.Sys.  I often have a couple directories for these, where they are easy to edit for maintaining backups and boot diskettes. Or simply chalk it off to 'normal' loss of disk space.


You are beginning to learn, we are not given much choice on that. Any time there is a change, there is increasing likelihood you'll have to do just that. Only bright side is that is also a defragging option (when rebuilding entire machine, it is best defragger). You just can't back up preferences as well anymore.

> I have installed: Norton Utilities, Partition Magic, and Cleansweep

IMO they all can and do cause problems, but in this case the first and last one are irrelevant to the problem described (mappings), as is "System Commander Deluxe which allows selection of which OS to boot upon startup". A quick revisit - choosing OS also chooses different set of application definitions. While you can first install app to one OS, then, to save space install it to other OS in exactly the same subdirectory/drive (two efforts duplicating where to place files), there will (usually) remain separate entries in the two registries. You can then go uninstall for one OS, but the other won't know. It (OS) will think product is still installed (reg.entries etc.), but it will be corrupt, missing critical files, and you likely will NOT be able to run an uninstall to clean it up (unless you can succeed in installing it yet one more time).
LVL 50

Expert Comment

ID: 6356759
It seems you added a new partition and this is affecting everything.

Possibilities to think about.

Delete the new partition.
Or hide the new partition.  This is possible.  You need a good partiion manager to do this.  By hiding it you should then be able to access your partitions as normal.  For a partition manager that can change the partition type to hidden try

For a boot manager that can hide partitions on startup try GRUB (it's free).  Be warned it's not as easy to use as System Commander
LVL 63

Accepted Solution

SysExpert earned 1200 total points
ID: 6356792
I would suggest restoring the partiton as it was or tr the following.

1) Assign Drive Letters in win 9x


Solution #2 (use with caution, and only if Solution #1 doesn't work):  Change Drive letter
                  Run the Registry Editor (REGEDIT.EXE).
                  Open one of the following branches, depending on the type of device you wish to
                configure (your system may vary):
                      For all SCSI devices, and most non-SCSI CD-ROM drives, open
                    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ Enum\ SCSI.
                      For IDE hard disks, open HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ Enum\ ESDI.
                      For standard floppy drives, open HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ Enum\ FLOP.
                  Expand the branch of the SCSI device you wish to configure, and click on the key
         under that device (if you have two of the same device, there will be two keys here).
         Double-click on the string value called UserDriveLetterAssignment (create it if it's
                not there by selecting New and then String Value from the Edit menu).
       In the box that appears, type the desired drive letter once, in all caps (example:
                type NN to configure this drive to use N:).
                  Next, double-click on the string value called CurrentDriveLetterAssignment.
     In the box that appears, type the desired drive letter once, in all caps - if this device
   is partitioned into more than one logical drive, include all drive letters (example: type
     CEFG to configure this drive to use C:, E:, F:, and G:).
        Close the registry editor when finished, and restart your computer immediately for
                this change to take effect.

                  Important: neither of these methods will work if the drivers for the device are
                loaded in CONFIG.SYS or AUTOEXEC.BAT, since Windows 98 will not have control
                over these devices. If the devices are supported in Windows 98, you should remove
                the old drivers from these files - see Do I still need CONFIG.SYS and
                AUTOEXEC.BAT? for more information.

          Notable exceptions to the above include SCSI controllers with their own BIOS's (like
                Adaptec's 2940), and any devices with non-standard software drivers.
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Author Comment

ID: 6357581
OK, there are some good ideas in the comments.  I'm trying to clarify my original question by asking, "Under the circumstances is there a way to upgrade to Win'98 and keep all my software applications and Start Menu structure as is without having to reload 20-30 CD's and who knows how many diskettes and patches?"
LVL 41

Expert Comment

ID: 6357710
also note that partition magic has a drive mapper which can remap the apps to the now correct partition. I have used it in the same situation as you are in now
LVL 50

Expert Comment

ID: 6357826
If you had upgraded from 95 to 98 it should have kept all of your menus and applications for you without having to reinstall.  It's an upgrade, not a complete reinstallation.

Author Comment

ID: 6359315
I'm not out of the woods yet but I downloaded Letter Assigner and I believe it will do the job nicely.  It's interesting to note that the System Commander's repartitioning tool (which got me into this mess) does not agree with Letter Asigner or Partition Magic at this point.  I found an error in the System Commander's log file and other things lead me to believe it is no longer trustworthy (hosed up!).

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