How to change a drive letter

Wed, 2007-07-18 09:32 by admin · Forum/category:

The simple way

You can change the local drive letters in Start, Control Panel, Administrative Tools, Computer Management, Storage, Disk Management.

Changing the drive letter of a boot or system partition

Changing the drive letter of the drive that contains the boot files or the operating system is more involved.

First of all, it is very difficult to change the drive letter of a partition with a Windows installation from that on which it was originally installed, because there are usually many references to the drive letter in the registry and in INI files, and some may even be hidden in unknown configuration files.

Therefore you should only attempt to change the drive letter of a partition with Windows back to what it originally was.

If you installed Windows XP or 2000 only recently, it is much better to fix the problem that led to the wrong drive letter, usually by removing removable drives, then install Windows again.

Please check the following Microsoft Knowlege Base article. It was written for Windows 2000, but works perfectly well for Windows XP.

Q223188 - How to Change the System/Boot Drive Letter in Windows 2000

If you copied an entire Windows installation and now find that your new system drive letter is no longer C:, you can use this method to change the drive letters accordingly.

Then remove the old drive or set its partition to hidden, to test whether drive C: alone is now bootable.

After this you can reinstall the old drive if you like or make its partition accessible again.

Changing the system drive letter if you cannot boot or log on

This procedure is even more complex than the preceding one.

  1. Connect the problem hard disk to another computer or boot another operating system installation on the same computer, if you have one.
  2. Identify the SYSTEM hive structure of your system.

    It is stored in the SYSTEM32\CONFIG folder. Its filename is just SYSTEM without any extension. Ignore files like SYSTEM.LOG, SYSTEM.ALT, SYSTEM.SAV, or the like.

  3. Fire up the regedit.exe registry editor (or the old REGEDT32.EXE, if you are still running an early XP version where regedit.exe cannot do this).
  4. Load the SYSTEM hive into HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE on the helper computer.

    To do this, select the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE branch of the tree in the left pane (window if you use REGEDT32.EXE). In other windows, like HKEY_CURRENT_USER, the Load hive ... command is greyed out and not available, but HKEY_USERS could also be used.

    Use the command Registry, Load hive ..., to load the SYSTEM hive temporarily into the helper computer's registry and give it an easily recognizable name, for example: SYSTEM_MOD

  5. Remove the offending drive letter assignments.

    To remove the drive letters, navigate to the newly loaded registry key/hive:


    You can then change the drive letters with the same procedure described in the Microsoft Knowledge Base article mentioned above. Example:

    • \DosDevices\C:
    • \DosDevices\D:

    In this example edit the value names as follows. Change C: to Z:, then D: to C:, then Z: to D:.

  6. Unload the SYSTEM_MOD hive to remove it from the helper computer's registry.

    It is not necessary to save it, as the changes are made to the actual hive file.

  7. Disconnect all other drives that could snatch the desired drive letter from the target computer.
  8. Put the thus repaired system disk back into its computer and try again to boot.

changing drive letter

Wed, 2012-10-24 22:20 by tech-man

I had a triple boot system with XP, Vista & Ubuntu linux from which I removed Vista. That left XP running from the E Drive.

Using Hirens boot CD 15.1 I downloaded and used the registry toolkit to do a find & replace on all occurrences of E:\ and E: to change them to C:\ & C:. I discovered the find&replace also replaced occurrences of file: with filC:, so I did another replacement of filC: to file: case sensitive.

Upon reboot all was fine that I tested: windows update, internet explorer, firefox. I did not test Windows Media Player or Media Monkey however, and although they both opened and ran OK I could no longer play the songs in their music libraries.

After playing around with them awhile I decided to uninstall & reinstall both apps. That didn't solve the problem with either app. I did another uninstall, and checked the registry for Media Monkey & Windows Media Player entries and removed many (probably not all). I removed the Media Monkey folder under program files and reinstalled.

I then used each app to search for music, which it did successfully and populated their respective libraries. However, both apps still refuse to play any of the music found, and exhibit strange behavior like scanning every entry in the library whenever a single entry is clicked to play.

I inserted a CD and it played OK. Both programs were able to rip that CD and create files that could play.

One question is, is there something both apps share in common that might be stored in a hidden file or binary registry entry that I need to update?

Can anyone suggest how to fix this short of doing an entire OS reinstall (way too painful for this issue)?


Incomplete uninstall

Thu, 2012-10-25 07:15 by admin

This seems to be another case of the many programs that cannot be uninstalled completely. Programmers apparently tend to think that their work is so infinitely important that they refuse to uninstall all of it. And Microsoft rarely follows its own design guidelines.

Windows Media Player is beyond hope anyway, so many knowledgeable users refuse to use it. Perhaps you want to go that way too. For music my recommendation is the small and efficient foobar player. For video I recommend the excellent Media Player Classic Home Cinema and as a fallback for the very rare cases that it cannot play, the VLC player by VideoLAN.

There are other good players around. There is no shortage of them.

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