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Unable to log into Windows XP Pro after changing system drive letter

I am running Windows XP Professional SP 2. When I originally installed XP, the drive letter assigned to the hard drive was F. Today, I came across instructions to change the drive letter by modifying HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\MountedDevices only. After restarting the system, I get the login splash screen but no listing of login accounts.

I do not have network access to that computer. But I can boot using the installation disk and get into the recovery console. I have tried FIXMBR, but that has not solved the problem. Is there a way to modify the registry through the recovery console?
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hdhillis
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hdhillis
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6 Solutions
 
venom96737Commented:
You can use ultimate boot disk found here http://ubcd.sourceforge.net/ and edit the registy using the nt offline password/registry editor.  Remember to NEVER change the drive letter assigned to windows because that is where all the files all looking to access all data and such if it is not there they dont know what to do.  The only way to change this is to reinstall windows so that all files will be looking at the new drive letter.
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sramesh2kCommented:
How to edit the registry offline using BartPE boot CD ?:
http://windowsxp.mvps.org/peboot.htm
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Mohammed HamadaSenior IT ConsultantCommented:
You can boot up using knoppix and then use bartpe from it to edit or fix the registry or download a tool for knoppix that can edit the windows registry the same way the windows reg editor works.. this tool is called "The chntpw tool" .. here's the link to it..
http://packages.debian.org/unstable/admin/chntpw
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r-kCommented:
You can also edit the Registry from a command line:

 http://www.petri.co.il/reg_command_in_windows_xp.htm

though the above suggestions are probably easier to work with.

As said already, you can't change the boot device letter without re-installing. See e.g.:

 http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;223769
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hdhillisAuthor Commented:
Thanks to all who have commented. I downloaded UBCD and tried to use the offline registry editor, but it proved to be to esoteric for me to use. Then I made a BarTPE CD and used regedit to reverse my drive letter assignments using the directions at http://windowsxp.mvps.org/peboot.htm . After rebooting, I still got the blank login screen. I then tried deleting the path to userinit.exe as suggested in Q_20643424.html, and I still got the blank login screen. Finally, I deleted all the values in HKLM\System\MountedDevices as suggested in Q_20555533.html, but same story.

Is my only solution to re-install Windows XP Pro? If so, will I be able to save my data files in MyDocuments?

Believe me, I have learned a painful lesson here.
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sramesh2kCommented:
hdhills,

See if these articles help.

Unable to log on if the boot partition drive letter has changed:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/249321/

How to restore the system/boot drive letter in Windows:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/q223188/
(I know you've followed the steps in the above article, but pls double-check the steps you followed)
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r-kCommented:
"If so, will I be able to save my data files in MyDocuments?"

In most cases reinstalling should not erase your data. However, if your files are important I would very definitely make a copy before reinstalling. You can boot with the Bart PE and copy them to another location on the same or some other disk, e.g.
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Mohammed HamadaSenior IT ConsultantCommented:
Hello hdhillis..

If you are able to goto safe mode without any blue screens then you can use system restore to restore your computer to a previous point, Otherwise follow this link for instructions about performing a repair installation..
http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/XPrepairinstall.htm

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Mohammed HamadaSenior IT ConsultantCommented:
Forgot to tell you that you have to goto safe mode with command prompt to use system restore, the following command will bring you system restore...

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;304449

hope this helps
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hdhillisAuthor Commented:
sramesh2k

Thanks for the URLs. I am familiar with both. Yes, I did double-check the steps I followed.

r-k

I did boot with BartPE and went into the Command Prompt. After navigating to my user account in Documents and Settings, I could not find My Documents directory. There was a WINDOWS directory and NTUSER.DAT and reglog.txt files. Where would I find My Documents for my user account?

moh10ly

I am unable to log in under Safe Mode. Is there a way to do what you suggest when booting with BartPE?

Thank you all for your continuing suggestions.
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r-kCommented:
"I did boot with BartPE and went into the Command Prompt.."

As I recall, the BartPE also has a graphical interface program (named something like A43) that is a lot like Windows Explorer. You can find it from the Start button. That makes it a lot easier to browse and work with folders.

For a default XP installation, the "My Documents" folder should be in "C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\My Documents". If you don't find it there, examine all the other users under "c:\documents and settings"
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hdhillisAuthor Commented:
r-k

Thank you! A43 makes all the difference. I located My Documents and have successfully copied my data files to an external drive. Later today, I will begin the re-install of Windows XP Pro.
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hdhillisAuthor Commented:
I would like to thank all of you that contributed suggestions. Last night, I reinstalled Win XP Pro successfully. Previous to the install, I used BartPE's A43 program to copy My Documents to an external drive. That step saved me a lot of time and grief since the re-install deleted the previous My Documents.
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r-kCommented:
Excellent. Thanks for the feedback.
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