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Change drive letter using recovery console

Posted on 2011-09-14
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
hello experts
i have a 300 gb drive tha i have  split it in 50 and 250 gb.
i had some problems yesterday and i had to reinstall windows (xp pro sp 3).
After the installation the system drive was the D drive and my drive for storing data was the C drive.
I tried to change it using  regedit.
The result was that it is not booting any more.
I need help to  rename the drives bevore reinstalling the OS using the recovery console.

Any help?
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Question by:Panos
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34 Comments
 
LVL 6

Expert Comment

by:yjchong514
ID: 36535966
You need to edit the boot.ini file, which you can do from the XP recovery CD.
Look at the line for your XP install (and the default OS)and change the partition number to the partition XP is on. So if XP is on the second partition it should look somehting like this:

multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS

If its on the first partition it should read:

multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS

Don't edit anything else except the partition number.

If that's not the problem, try running fixmbr and/or fixboot from recovery console
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Author Comment

by:Panos
ID: 36535975
Hi.
It 's not possible to change the D to C and the C to D?
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Expert Comment

by:souseran
ID: 36536070
Q. It 's not possible to change the D to C and the C to D?

A. If you try to change the drive letter, you'll trigger an advisory message that "Windows cannot modify the drive letter of your system volume or boot volume."
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Expert Comment

by:Amitabh Singh
ID: 36536098
Hi
C: drive always select by default  for system partition which is active ,  if you want to change your C drive before Windows Installation then you need to change Active drive do the fallowing !

Example :
Note : i expect your 250 GB partition is C: and 50 GB is D: and you want to replace it !

1st :  boot the server to recovery console
2nd: # Type:
diskpart

# At the DISKPART prompt, type:

list partition

Make note of the number of the partition that you want to mark as active.

# At the DISKPART prompt, type:

select partitionn

Select the partition, n, you want to mark as active.

# At the DISKPART prompt, type:

active


Now the active  partition will become C
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Author Comment

by:Panos
ID: 36536104
I have deleted the volume (with the OS - in this case the D partition) and will reinstall windows.

Still not possible?
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Expert Comment

by:Amitabh Singh
ID: 36536114
Note : after doing this action you need to reinstall Windows ! it will rewrite MBR and Boot information again !
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Author Comment

by:Panos
ID: 36536138
Hi Tech_Eng
Typing
C:\>diskpart using the recovery console from the windows xp installation cd i get screen with the list of available partitions where i can select to create a partion or delete one.
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Expert Comment

by:Amitabh Singh
ID: 36536149
panosms read the 1 thread which i told you (if you don't want to delete all partition from your drive ), deletion of partition will not help !

your current setup is

you have just one partition which is C (Active partition)
when you reinstall windows doesn't matter if you create a new partition or coos current partition it will remain the same .

so you have just 2 option

1st fallow my 1st  thread and modify your current active partition table  

or 2nd delete your all partition and create from the beaning
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Expert Comment

by:Amitabh Singh
ID: 36536168
can you share what you able to see when you type in diskpart

list partition

how many partition is available their
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Author Comment

by:Panos
ID: 36536187
i understood you Tech_Eng but i'm typing something wrong.
I have now C:\>
what is the next command line?
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Author Comment

by:Panos
ID: 36536239
That what i see is something similar to the second image on this site:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/windows-xp-a-goner,956-3.html above this dexcription:"Graphic" interface for working with partitions: DISKPART
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Expert Comment

by:Amitabh Singh
ID: 36536271
ok type the fallowing command step by step

C:\>diskpart
Diskpart>select disk 0
DISKPART> create partition primary
DISKPART> select part 1
DISKPART> format fs=ntfs label=(new) quick
DISKPART> assign letter (E)
DISKPART> list partition
this command will show you list of partition note the partition number which you want to make active (C:)
DISKPART> select partition  partition number
DISKPART> active
and now re installed the windows
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Expert Comment

by:Amitabh Singh
ID: 36536324
DISKPART> select partition  1 you need to type partition number hear which you want to make as C:
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Author Comment

by:Panos
ID: 36536346
To avoid making any mistake below is a description how it is exactly on my screen. i can't send you a screenshot.

unpartitoned space                    8MB
D:  Partition2 [unknown]          45230 MB < 45229 MB available
C:  Partition1 [DATA]                260005 MB < 12346 MB available


(i have translated some words)
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Expert Comment

by:Amitabh Singh
ID: 36536400
ok great so as i understand you want to make (D:  Partition2) as C: correct ?
if yes then now we just need to active Partition2 as active partition . run the fallowing command

diskpart
select partition 2
active

restart the system and put windows CD and fallow the installation and during partition selection  verify the drive latter , just to be sure  !

enjoy
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Author Comment

by:Panos
ID: 36536437
I write this command
C:\>diskpart
hit enter  and get to a screen like the one i posted above
there is no command line on this screen
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Expert Comment

by:Amitabh Singh
ID: 36536499
aah sorry i forget diskpart in Recovery Console  is different, ok then you have other option

Try changing the active partition by booting to a floppy disk/CD and then using disk utilities to manually change the active partition:

   1. Boot to a command prompt by using a Microsoft Windows 95, Microsoft Windows 98, or Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition (Me) boot floppy disk.
   2. At the command prompt, type fdisk, and then press ENTER.
   3. When you are prompted to enable large disk support, click Yes.
   4. Click Set active partition, press the number of the partition that you want to make active, and then press ENTER.
   5. Press ESC.
   6. Remove the boot floppy disk, and then restart the computer.
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Expert Comment

by:Amitabh Singh
ID: 36536530
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Author Comment

by:Panos
ID: 36536747
I mist your last post and was trying to find my very old windows 98se cd but i did not find it!!!
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Expert Comment

by:Amitabh Singh
ID: 36536801
NP try this and let me know in case of problem
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Author Comment

by:Panos
ID: 36537006
Finally i did take a photo setting the C to active. Take a look at the screen.
unfortunately trying to install windows now i get this again:
unpartitoned space                    8MB
D:  Partition2 [unknown]          45230 MB < 45229 MB available
C:  Partition1 [DATA]                260005 MB < 12346 MB available
IMAG0112.jpg
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Expert Comment

by:Amitabh Singh
ID: 36537230
yes its because your 1st partitions  (45230 MB) in Pic is extended partition , you need your both partitions  as primary partition, give me some time i will test this from my home lab and give you steps in 1 Hr
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Expert Comment

by:Amitabh Singh
ID: 36537305
but in the main time do you have your old XP still OK ? if yes login back via windows 98 CD set your old C: partition as active , remove windows 98 CD boot via windows Xp normally and then go the disk management > delete your D: drive partition again , right click on unallocated space and choose create new partition > next
    primary partition
choose primary partition > and then next , next .. Finished  

after formatting D: drive right click on D drive and choose make this partition as active  
 markactivereboot your system and reinstall Windows !
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Author Comment

by:Panos
ID: 36537452
I have to install windows again. I did delete the partition and wanted to start from the beginning.
I will come back after the installation
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Author Comment

by:Panos
ID: 36537914
Here i m back. Tech_Eng how can i delete the partition with the OS ?
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Expert Comment

by:Amitabh Singh
ID: 36537986
Hi
for deleting  partition in OS you need to use Disk management

go to Run >Type  diskmgmt.msc and press Enter > select the partition which you want to delete , right click and choose delete

Note : you not able to delete system and boot partition from windows !
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Author Comment

by:Panos
ID: 36538035
I'm lost now Tech_Eng.
I have reinstalled windows xp.
Now i have drive D with OS and drive C with my data.
I can't follow your instructions from this comment:36537305 to change the letters
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Author Comment

by:Panos
ID: 36538175
Something  else.
I have disk D status healthy(Boot)
disk C status healthy(system)
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Accepted Solution

by:
Amitabh Singh earned 500 total points
ID: 36538931
panosms as for your current setup you not able to change any thing now , now you need to Install Windows 2 times !

Fallow the instruction step by step
> put Windows Xp CD in your CD ROM and reboot the system
> when system boot from CD and ask you to select partition for installation Delete D: drive  partition  (old system drive ) and select C: drive (your data drive) to install Windows
> when windows will installed go to Run >Type  diskmgmt.msc and press Enter
> now right click on unallocated space and select create a new partition > choose Partition type (Primary Partition ) .. Next ..Next .. Finished
> when partition formating is done go right click on new partition , and choose make partition as active
> put windows XP Cd back and reboot the system and install (this time you will see your Data drive is visible like D and new partition as C:
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Author Comment

by:Panos
ID: 36538967
If windows is allready on the data drive (after the first installation) when i'm going to delete it?
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Author Comment

by:Panos
ID: 36539496
Windows installed successfully on c drive.
As expected i can now install on drive c.
Very very good!!it took some time but it is nice to find the solution in the end.
Before installing the os to the new drive how can i delete the installation of the first one. Wich files do i have to remove?
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Expert Comment

by:Amitabh Singh
ID: 36540605
panosms 1st you need to install new windows in your C drive then you will delete old windows .

for deleting windows you need to delete fallowing folders including sub folder  from your (data drive ).
Windows
Program File
Document and Settings

thats all, it will remove old windows from your system

as you will change your active partition so this option will create new boot.int , ntldr etc etc .. so you don't need to do any more action ,.
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Author Comment

by:Panos
ID: 36541003
Many many thanks Tech_Eng.
It was really a difficult case.
I finished the installations and deleted the files.
It is working now.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Panos
ID: 36541005
Thank you again.
regards
panos
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