Drive letters mixed up - WinXP

#1
Hi All,

I have been a reasonably careful PC user but this just got me good!

Win Xp Home, 120 GB Maxtor and 160 GB WD. Was trying to install a newer 160 GB to replace the Maxtor 120 GB and things got screwed up.

Maxtor 120 GB had 2 partitions: C:~14 GB and D:~100 GB
WDC had 3 partitions: H: ~14 GB, I:~100 GB and J:~40 GB

WDC 14 GB boot partition is a copy of the original Maxtor 14 GB when PC was new.
With the intent of replacing 120 GB with 160 GB to increase some capacity in C: I replaced the 160 GB with the new WDC 160 GB but stopped the partition process (using WDC's DataLifeGuard) in the middle to change the partition sizes - that's where my troubles began.

In trying to get back to where I was, C: and H: got switched - with the PC now booting from H: - and lost access to my installed programs in D: - with some working others like IE screwed up.

Is there any reasonable easy way out of this? I tried changing drive letters thru MyComputer>Manage>Disk Management and it won't let me change the H: becuase its a boot disk or C: because it contains the pagefile.sys!

I thought I was reasonably savvy and lucky todate but I guess my luck finally ran out. Now thinking of taking the PC to GeekSquad at Best Buy, unless I can fix it from the advice I get from here.

Sorry, for this being long but will appreciate any advice.
 
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#2
Hi Maxneo. Welcome to the forums.
Have you tried putting the drive that has C: first in the boot sequence (F2 of similar at startup to enter into the BIOS, where you can change the boot order), since apparently you changed it since that drive was first the first time, and your computer now boots from the drive that contains H: instead? That should solve your problem with the drive letter mixup.

If it doesn't, then how about posting a screenshot of Disk Management, so we can get a clearer picture of your situation?

Jake
 
#3
Mixup picture posted

Here's the pic of the Computer Management screen arrived at from:

My Computer> Manage> Disk Management

I can try the setup route - I wanted to do that but could not access it since I thought it was only accessible from F1 (not F2). I hope it can be accessed. Might try that but will wait for some more comments based on the attached pic.

Thanks,

Maxneo

Tried the Bios setup route thru F2 - no go - there is no option to change drive assignments.
The choice is whether floppy, CD or Hard Disk
In the Hard Disk, the 120 gb Maxtor is listed but the drive H is the boot drive when the PC boots up.

So no luck so far.
Thanks for the suggestion though.
 

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#4
Ok, I don't know what happened to your boot files on C, but you can fix the issue by performing the following steps:


  1. Go into the Folder Options in the Control Panel, and make sure the "hide protected system files" option is deselected, and the "Show Hidden Folders and FIles" option is selected.
  2. Open up My Computer, and look inside the root of the (H) partition. You should see three files there, named "boot.ini", "ntldr", and "ntdetect.com". Copy those over into the root of your "C" partition.
  3. Now open up Disk Management, right-click on (C), and select "Mark Partition as Active".
  4. Now reboot, go into the BIOS by pressing F1 or whatever key it is that your computer tells you to press at startup to enter the BIOS.
  5. Find the section called "boot sequence" or "boot priority" or something to that effect.
  6. Put the second drive (i.e. the one that contains the (C) partition) first in the boot sequence, instead of the drive that holds (H). Now reboot, and the problem should be fixed.
Cheers,

Jake

Addendum:

Tried the Bios setup route thru F2 - no go - there is no option to change drive assignments.
The choice is whether floppy, CD or Hard Disk
In the Hard Disk, the 120 gb Maxtor is listed but the drive H is the boot drive when the PC boots up.

So no luck so far.
Thanks for the suggestion though.
Yeah, you will need to change it so that the drive that holds (C) boots first instead of the one with (H). :wink: The normal procedure to move up a drive in the boot order is to select it, and then push the "U" key as many times as it takes until the drive you selected is first in the boot sequence.
 
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#5
Am looking at your suggestion:

"boot.ini" and "ntdetect.com" in C: and H: are identical.

The file "ntldr" (245 kb) are the same size and creation date on C: & H: but have different modified dates.
C: 9/11/2004
H: 8/21/2008

Right Clicking on C: in Disk Management does not offer the "Mark Partition as Active" choice - it's greyed out so you can't select it.

The Maxtor drive is in the Bios setup as the 3rd in boot sequence after floppy and CD.

The irony is H: where the PC boots from is in the 2nd drive i.e. the 160 GB WDC.


Looking at these two links for now:
Change drive letter on a boot device Leghumped
How to restore the systemboot drive letter in Windows
 
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#6
SUCCESS!!!!!!!

Using the 2nd of the two links above:

How to restore the systemboot drive letter in Windows

Simple but SCARY!! It seems like I am back to where I was. Not a bad place to be, compared to where I have been!

Now, what do I do about that 2nd WDC 160 GB - take a chance at installing the 2nd time around?

I think I will take a couple of days to think about that!! Thanks for the help and hope this helps someone else.
 
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#7
Am looking at your suggestion:

"boot.ini" and "ntdetect.com" in C: and H: are identical.

The file "ntldr" (245 kb) are the same size and creation date on C: & H: but have different modified dates.
C: 9/11/2004
H: 8/21/2008

Right Clicking on C: in Disk Management does not offer the "Mark Partition as Active" choice - it's greyed out so you can't select it.
Sorry, my bad. I should have realized that the partition would already be set to "active" since it is the only primary partition on that hard drive. So C is already "active". All you needed to do to get it back to the way it was before was simply change the boot order so the Maxtor drive was before the WDC. And you also already had the boot files in C as well as on H, for some odd reason. :wtf: Have you already copied them over there?
The Maxtor drive is in the Bios setup as the 3rd in boot sequence after floppy and CD.

The irony is H: where the PC boots from is in the 2nd drive i.e. the 160 GB WDC.
Nothing strange about that. It makes perfect sense, seeing as you're booting (currently) from the WDC, from (H), which comes before the Maxtor drive in the boot sequence. The reason why it boots the HDD first even though you have the CD drive and floppy before the HDD is because there is no disk in either one. However, if you were to put a bootable CD in the drive, that would be what boots first, not the HDD. :wink: You really should put your HDD first, so that wont happen if you don't want it to.

Anyway, I'm glad you found the solution to your problem.

Jake
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#9
Note my deleted post !
I pointed you to that MS registry hack, then realized you were talking about XP not Vista.
I was under the impression that XP couldn't get far enough to execute regedit, so it wouldn't be any use to you.
I know better now for future reference.
Glad you found it anyway, and thanks for letting us know.
 
#10
Did not see your deleted post but, thanks.

Hi Terry,

Don't recall seeing your post but do appreciate the thought. It is a tremendous relief to see it resolved.

Here's a question perhaps you or anyone here who has had a chance to look at my problem can help me with in setting up and partitioning of the 3rd WDC 160 GB drive:

What should I do to create a duplicate of the current 1st drive - Maxtor 120 GB with the goal of ultimately replacing the Maxtor 120 GB with the 3rd WDC 160 GB?

What is the best way to proceed from here to use the 3rd WDC 160 GB and duplicate the current C: & D: setup. Obviously, I have to remove and replace the current 160 GB drive with the new 160 GB - assuming its not screwed up. Just to remind you, the current 2nd drive with H:, I: and J: partitions and the 3rd drive are both WDC 160 GB.

The PC has and will have a maximum of 2 hard disks.
Current : 1st drive: Maxtor ( C & D) , 2nd drive WDC (H, I, J)
Goal --- : 1st drive: WDC --( C & D)-, 2nd drive WDC (H, I, J)

My thoughts:

a: Remove the 2nd WDC 160 GB drive (H:, I: & J: ), reboot with just the 1st (Maxtor 120 GB) C: & D:. Shut down and install 3rd 160 GB drive before proceeding with the WDC's DataLifeguard software partitioning process - assuming nothing goes wrong and the 3rd 160 GB is recognized. Partition the 3rd WDC 160 GB with two partitions H: (~30 GB) & I: (~130 GB) with the ultimate goal being C: & D:

b: Should the installation of the hard dive be done in safe mode and under administrator log in?

c: In this process, do I have to make any changes in the BIOS if all hard drives are set to "AUTO"? I assume presence or absence is also auto detected.

d: I understand that in each step, the drive jumpers will have to set appropriately.

Will appreciate any advice or suggestions or corrections in "My thoughts" above?

Thanks,

Maxneo
 
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Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#11
What I would do, (indeed what I'm thinking of doing myself because I now think I should have made my Vista partition bigger than the 25 Gb I gave it), is install the new drive in the PC, format it with the partition sizes/names I wish I'd used on the current boot drive, clone the OS partitions one by one from the boot drive to the new drive using one of my free magazine apps (Paragon 9 probably), bulk copy/paste my data folder/files from boot disk data partition to new disk (the best way of getting a 100% defrag as a bonus), then just switch the BIOS boot sequence to boot from the new disk to see if it's all working.
When I'm happy, reformat the old boot disk to its new role.

btw you didn't see the deleted post because it was only there for 30 seconds till I realized you were talking about XP and I deleted it for the (erroneous) reason I gave before.

Sorry, I'm doing it again (replying before reading properly). I see you only have space for 2 HDD at one time, so you can't just bung in a new disk as I intend doing. In that case, taking out the second disk while you clone the first is your only option assuming there's nothing on the second that you need to get booted. (e.g. move your page file back if you've migrated it to the 2nd HDD for performance reasons).

If you're all IDE, as I assume, then your best bet is to jumper all your drives as "cable select" so you don't have the problems of having to remember to keep resetting them from slave to master and v.v. as you switch them around.

Remember, always a good idea with every newly created system when you boot it for the first time, go into disk management and set the disk letters for your other partitions to what you want them to be, and every other connectable device too. I set every DVD drive,external HDD, flash-drive, camera, card reader etc to my standard set of letters as the first action of a new install, before doing any software install or update, so there's no possibility of some piece of software looking in the wrong place because it registered on a letter which subsequently dynamically changed.
 
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#12
What is "cable select"? I know thats one of the jumper settings on hard drives but am not sure what it does. If both physical drives are on "CS" how would the PC know where to boot from?

Any comments on my previous "My thoughts"?
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#13
Cable select means assign the master/slave status (that's really just disk0/disk1) from the position on the cable. the one in the middle is 1 ( grey,slave) and the one on the end is 0 (black,master).

My previous post was my comment on your thoughts. Once you've cloned (I'm not familiar with the particular software you mention), just try booting it. No need for safe mode or any of that.
 
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Rrrr

New Member
#14
Allow me to add to this thread because my problem is similar, although I have only one drive.
I dont know how to add a screen image, but I will describe:

I made the mistake (?) of letting WIndows 7 use unallocated disk space to create its partition and since then I have been trying, to some success, to dual boot with XP.

After repairing with Windows 7 recovery, the system now boots into Windows 7.
This is the order of the partitions on DIsk 0:
D: XP: Logical drive
C: Windows 7 : Boot, Page File, Crash Dump, Primary Partition
F: Backup (I did not intend this to be the system drive): System, Active, Primary Partition

Then, I used EasyBCD Beta to dual boot into XP and into Windows 7.

However, EasyBCD still detected F: as the Boot drive

I would like to make the XP partition the official boot drive, so after reading on this forum, I copied the 3 XP files to the root of the XP partition (D: ) and moved the three away from the root in F: to a directory called F:\bootbkup.

Upon reboot, the system did not boot properly and gives the error it cannot find WINLOAD.EXE

Again, I repaired with the Windows 7 RC DVD recovery console and the system now boots again into Windows 7 (only).

I thought the only thing left to do is to make D: with XP the active partition and then use EasyBCD to add XP to the boot and then change the order to default boot into XP: However, also I cannot set D: as the active partition.

Please can you make a suggestion?
 
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Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#15
Hi Rrrr, welcome to NST.
There's no problem with having the boot files on a partition other than one of the OSs.
However, if you want "system" to be an OS partition, it will have to be the W7 partition.
Windows cannot boot from a logical disk. That's why it won't let you set XP "active". A logical drive can never be "active".
Make W7 active, boot the W7 DVD and "repair your computer" / "startup repair" 2 or 3 times until W7 is booting by itself and the W7 partition has become "system" "active".
Download EasyBCD 2.0. Add an entry for XP, allowing it to auto-configure boot.ini for you. Copy the 2 XP files into the "system" partition root and you should be fixed.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#17
When you invoke the auto-configurator, it will tell you the files which need to be copied. (ntldr and ntdetect.com)