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Boot Disk drive letter change

Posted on 2014-04-21
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Last Modified: 2016-06-04
I installed Win 7 to an SSD drive that was assigned a LU letter "P" because the other letters were already in use.  If I change the letter from "P" to "C" ,  what if any impact will that have on boot up?  Can I just change the drive letter using a third party software like Partition Commander or Partition Magic, and not have problems?

I don't have time to "cook" this system again and I really don't want to render the SSD drive un-bootable.  


Thank you.
John.
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Question by:g5pilot
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by:Tony Giangreco
ID: 40013715
Your boot partition probably already has the C drive letter.  Be very careful what letters you assign C to. Many apps expect to run on the C drive.  

If you still want to assign the C driver letter to that drive, go into Control Panel, Administrative Tools, Computer Management, Disk Management

Right click the P drive, select Change Drive Letter and select C.

Have I completely answered your question?
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 40013728
We had a really interesting thread on this back in December:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/OS/Microsoft_Operating_Systems/Windows/Windows_7/Q_28319456.html

Worth a read. Regards, Joe
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by:garycase
ID: 40013790
There have been numerous discussions about doing this over the years.   The bottom line is that you can NOT change the system drive letter easily.     It IS possible ... but requires a lot of "jumping through hoops", registry changes, and even then may not be completely changed -- so you may have some application "bite you" in the future.

The best thing is, of course, to always be sure the drive you're installing to is shown as C: before you do the install (the installer shows the letter).     And if you already have a C: drive and are going to clone it to a new drive, use a partition manager that does this correctly -- it will retain the correct drive letter.

The amount of time it would take you to safely change the letter is likely more than it would take to just re-install it to the SSD.   Best way to do that is:  (a) remove ALL drives except the SSD;  (b)  remove any USB devices that enumerate as drive letters (e.g. card readers);  (c)  install the OS; and then (d) reconnect everything and finish your installation.
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by:g5pilot
ID: 40013805
Thank you for the quick response.  I tried changing the P: to C using the Disk Management snap in, and I get a "The parameter is incorrect" from the Virtual Disk Manager.  

When I installed this Win7, I was booted to Vista on "C".  I told the installer that I wanted to install 7 to the SSD drive which had been assigned the drive letter "P" at the time.  Now that I have unplugged the "C" HDD, I just want to boot to the SSD drive and call it "C".

The reason I'm asking, is that A few days ago I could not boot to "P" without "C".  (These are all SATAs) I ran msconfig and under the boot tab, I see Win 7 (P:\Windows) Current; Default OS on the first line and then next line says c:??? some text.

I should have just unplugged the HDDs and installed directly to the SSD.
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by:garycase
ID: 40013827
".. I should have just unplugged the HDDs and installed directly to the SSD. " ==> Yes, as I noted above.    But you still can.   There shouldn't be any activation issues, since it's the same system ... and even if there are, Microsoft's telephone activation folks will get you activated okay.
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by:Gerald Connolly
ID: 40014495
Had this problem, in the past, too many things hardcoded to C: and too many apps presume the boot device is C:

Changing it will probably cause lots of stuff to fail as they will have hardcoded P: into the setup.

Best course of action is to reinstall with the SSD as the C: drive
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by:lionelmm
ID: 40014619
I would remove all the other drive and run a Win 7 repair-that should fix the Win7 boot up issues but it will NOT fix issue of also dual booting (if that is what you have now) to Vista and Win7. Do you require restoring the dual booting as well?
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by:Tony Giangreco
ID: 40014644
As I mentioned in my response, Windows expects to boot from C. When you change it, many things stop working. Windows may not boot, it may not register.. it may not to a ton of things that it would normally do.

I suggest backing up your data, create a plan of what you want the system to look like and reinstall fresh with the drives you  want.. just keep the C drive and your Boot drive.
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by:McKnife
ID: 40016000
You cannot change the drive letter of the boot drive to c: and keep the system working unless it had been c: before. Don't do it.
Your mistake was to start win7 setup from within your other booted OS.
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by:g5pilot
ID: 40016362
Lionelmm wrote:

>I would remove all the other drive and run a Win 7 repair-that should fix the Win7 boot >up issues but it will NOT fix issue of also dual booting (if that is what you have now) to >Vista and Win7. Do you require restoring the dual booting as well?

No I don't care about dual boot.  The old vista was corrupted by yet another goof move I did where a bunch of permissions got changed.  

While booted to just P:SSD Boot and no other drives present, I did create a recovery disk, and when I boot to it, it finds "problems" and wants to fix the problems.  It says "A problem was found with c:\SSD BOOT do you want to fix and reboot?  "SSD Boot" is the volume label.  The SSD drive is the only drive on the SATA bus now and I don't care about any of the data on the old HDD.  

I will use those for external USB backups.  

Is it safe to say YES to the repair and let it do it's fix?  This sounds like what you said in your response.  

I can live with P: as root.  The only app that complained was re-installed and that fixed it.  

I guess, worst case it becomes un-bootable, in which case I can just boot to the repair disk and restore from the image backup that I just created.  
I will have to plan for that....  

Let me know what is thought to be.. and I will give it a try.
:-)
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garycase earned 500 total points
ID: 40016717
I suspect that C:\SSD:BOOT was a system boot file on the C: drive that is no longer present, since you've removed the drive.    The system was likely booting to that; then switching control to P: (the SSD).

The best way to fix this is to simply reinstall on the SSD ... being certain it's the only drive in the system and that it's enumerated as C:    With an SSD, this will be a fairly quick process -- probably take less time than you've already spent trying to change the drive letter.
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by:lionelmm
ID: 40017275
If you use the recovery disk created with all the drives in then it will be looking for the same setup--I would put in your Windows disk--"try" to boot with only the SDD disk in it and it will ore than likely fail but will also try to repair the "boot issues". In the event it can repair the boot issues then you have a intonational one boot Win7 setup. I have seen Win7 repair all kinds of boot issues and I myself had a similar problem of too many disks and a weird drive letter assigned to my Windows and removing all the other drives and doing a repair (not using a recovery disk) fixed it.
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by:lionelmm
ID: 40017283
sorry dup post (deleted it)
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by:g5pilot
ID: 40018969
The repair disk was created with only the P:SSD drive on the SATA buss, and the repair disk does boot and suggest to fix the "c:\SSD_boot", so I think I might be ok by letting the repair do the fix.   I also successfully created image of just the P:SSD file structure.  
I'm hoping that the repair disk will just fix it, but would not be surprised if it didn't.

I should have got it right before I loaded all my applications.  At least the SSD is much faster...      

I think the best course for me is to wait until Monday when I can afford the time reload it if it doesn't.  

I will certainly post the results to this thread.   Thank you!
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