I reinstalled Windows XP on a new 320G HDD (in Dell Dimension 2350, 2.4G Pentium, 768M RAM) using DELL supplied CD's. Unfortunately the boot drive is F: (left a Zip Drive plugged in and it became C:). I went on installing applications, some of which complained about No Disk in C and similar during install. Nevertheless everything seemed to install after many Continue boxes were responded to.
I had second thoughts about future use possibly being plagued with problems caused by the Boot Drive not being C:, and looked into changing it.
Was referred to Microsoft article How to restore the system/boot drive letter in Windows http://support.microsoft.com/kb/223188#appliesto
and noted the warning For the most part, this is not recommended, especially if the drive letter is the same as when Windows was installed.
Researched your knowledge base which has many articles on this (common problem, no warnings in re-install procedures it seems), and the consensus seems overwhelmingly NOT to do it, reinstall is the best way;
Two such articles are
with the latter saying I STRONGLY RECOMMEND not changing the system drive the others are ok
really spells it out bluntly:
Unfortunately the best solution to ensure everything is correctly referenced is to reinstall the OS. After this happens to you once (or twice) you'll not make that mistake again ... but as you've discovered there's no convenient way to change the system partition's drive letter.
Probably more than you needed to hear ... but the bottom line is simple: Re-install the OS as the only partition on a drive ... and be sure XP is designating it as C: before you continue with the installation.
Having resigned myself to learning from my mistake and some more pain, I spotted hope in https://www.experts-exchange.com/questions/21951500/DRIVE-LETTER-CHANGE.html
which suggests that doing an XP Repair Install with ONLY the one drive connected will change it back to C:, then have to reinstall the Windows XP updates, with some applications only having to be re-installed to straighten them out.
A reference to how to do the XP Repair Install is given: http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/XPrepairinstall.htm
Given the general consensus that a re-install of XP (with ALL other drives REMOVED) is the best action to take, followed by a re-install of all applications, I have two questions:
1. Is the XP Repair Install likely to achieve that same outcome (a risk free system) with slightly less grief (i.e is loading all drivers avoided, and maybe reloading some applications avoided).
2. Is my belief that its better to deal with changing the Boot Volume to C: now, rather than risk annoyance in future by leaving it at F:.
Any procedure to follow, and pitfalls to avoid would be appreciated.