Multiple Vista installations – force each to be drive C?


Where there are multiple independent installations of Vista installed on multiple drives/partitions on the same computer, I am aware that each installation may assign drive letters independently. Is it possible to force each installation of Vista, when it is running, to see its own partition as C?

In case that wasn’t clear, here’s the (long) scenario: I had a machine with factory installed Vista. A few months ago, I moved the factory HD to SATA channel 1, and installed a new HD on SATA 0. I did a clean install of Vista onto the new HD. Following install, I could not boot into my old Vista install by selecting the SATA 1 drive in BIOS (as expected). However, in my new Vista install, I could see the old SATA 1 drive as Drive D. So, I used EasyBCD to make an entry pointing to D, and now the system boots from the SATA 0 drive, then gives me a menu to either boot the Vista on SATA 0, or the installation on SATA 1. Perfect. Whichever installation I boot into, the currently active HD is shown as C, and the other HD is shown as D.

Now I’ve installed a third HD at SATA 4 (other ports were in use). The goal is to move the SATA 1 partition to SATA 4, the SATA 0 partition to SATA 1, and do a new clean install on SATA 0. I moved the partition from SATA 1 to SATA 4 using Clonezilla. I booted back into the SATA 0 installation then used EasyBCD to create an entry for the SATA 4 partition, which worked although I had to use Storage Management to assign the partition a drive letter first (P), as Windows did not do so automatically. This worked OK, but when I then booted into the new SATA 4 partition, it showed itself (the boot partition) to be H. The SATA 1 partition was C, SATA 0 was D. The problem with this is that many Windows components are pointing to file locations on C. The boot succeeded only because the boot partition, H on SATA4, was a clone of C on SATA1, so during startup Windows found the files it needed there. Once the partition on SATA1 was deleted, Windows gave me errors about not being able to find files on C, and will not properly boot.

So, how do I tell each of my three Vista installations that, while that installation is running, it should consider its own partition to be C? The boot partition is the one you can’t change the drive letter of in storage management.

Sorry for the long post, and thanks for the help.
Hi Bram, welcome to NST.
Try this.
It might not be your only problem though.
A cloned OS has an internal memory in the registry of what its world used to look like, and if you transplant it into a different environment, it can be as confused as you'd be in an alien world.
No problem with installing multiple Vistas and having them all think of themselves as C:\. That's what'll happen if you install from the booted DVD. (if you run setup from within another running Vista, the new one will see the existing C:\ and choose another letter)
Multiple Vistas will not create multiple BCDs, they will all add themselves to the existing BCD.
Have a read of this for more information.
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Thank you!

Terry60 -

Thank you! The first link you provided was exactly what I was looking for. I've fixed everything up, and now I know how to make all the partitions behave properly in future.

Thanks for the caution about changing boot drive letters, but in this case it helped rather than hurt. The partition I am dealing with had been C when it executed on its prior hard drive, so it was the move to H that messed up all the file paths. Putting it back to C has restored functionality.

Thanks again.