Assign Specific Drive Letter during Windows Server 2003 install

Posted on 2012-03-12
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-06-27
I want to install Windows Server 2003 without using C: as the default drive. I don't see anywhere in the setup that lets me choose a letter at all, it just picks C. After installation, I tried to change the drive letter in Disk Management but I get a message that reads, "Windows cannot modify the drive letter of your system volume or boot volume."

Any ideas? I just want to be able to pick a different letter.
Question by:MikeTheRed6
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Expert Comment

ID: 37710461
You could try the following guide
It's intended for win XP but I think it's going to work.
The microsoft way is to install win 2003 twice.
which will also work but take more time..
hope it helps.
LVL 23

Expert Comment

by:Ayman Bakr
ID: 37710574
When you boot from the CD and accept the EULA and press F8 you will be presented with the screen for creating/selecting the partition where Windows will be installed.

Assuming that your hard disk is unpartitioned, the first partition will assume the Drive letter C:.

You need to create two (or more) partitions and then select the partition with the drive letter you want to setup Windows on.

Author Comment

ID: 37711056
Creating additional partitions as suggested by Mutawadi did not work exactly as I wanted but it's good enough. I was able to install Windows on a driver other than C: but C: is still lingering as a "System" drive where the letter I picked is the "Boot" drive. This appears to be acceptable for my purposes.

Author Comment

ID: 37711384
After installing Windows updates, the machine would no longer boot up. I got the following message before the Windows logo:

Windows could not start because of a computer disk hardware configuration problem.
Could not read from the selected boot disk. Check boot path and disk hardware.
Please check the Windows documentation about hardware disk configuration and your hardware reference manuals for additional information.

Back to setting up partitions for a new install, still attempting to pick my own drive letter.
LVL 23

Accepted Solution

Ayman Bakr earned 1000 total points
ID: 37719162
It is interesting that you got this error when doing Windows updates. However, I tend to believe that the mounted devices in registry is somehow still pointing to C:. I would suggest that you apply the steps in the following article to overcome this issue:


Please note that in the article the steps demonstrate swapping two drives (C: and D:) by using a third temp drive Z:. In your case you only want to change the drive letter from C: to D: without caring for swapping.

Hope this helps.

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