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Anyone ever solve the not-installed-as-C: problem in Setup?


Volatus
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After all these years of XP setup being around, and all these years of XP setup doing whatever it wants, I'd think someone would have a solution to this all too common problem...

Scenario:

Computer has a media reader that appears as 4 drives (all too common and all too annoying)

Hard drive is unpartitioned

Problem:

Even though there is no media in the slots, and Setup says such (no media in drive), Setup still assigns those drives to letters C, E, F, and G, with D as the CD drive. Hence, the hard drive is drive H:.

With no way to assign drive letters during Setup, or even any way to find that it totally ruined your new Windows installation by installing it as drive "H:" (where does MS get the nerve?!), you've got no choice but to "try" changing something (maybe unplugging the media reader), and fully reformatting/reinstalling, yet again.

Hasn't someone fixed this problem yet, at a level where, perhaps, it can be added/fixed as a "tweak" in nLite to force Setup to recognize the first hard disk as letter C:?

post-125405-1214952979_thumb.png

Edited by Volatus
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It's very simple.

After a fresh install, hit Start=> RUN and type regedit then go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\MountedDevices. There are a bunch of entries that correspond to random drive letters such as \DosDevices\C:, rename the one for the hard drive to Z for the time being. Then shift the other letters forwards as you need and rename drive Z to C and reboot. It usually works although I have had it fail once or twice when it wasn't on a fresh install.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/223188

Edited by meh11
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Well, NO, you need also to change lots of registry entries.....

...though feasible, it is probable that you will have problems:

http://www.msfn.org/board/Change-Boot-Driv...art-t90495.html

The "right" way is to create a migrate.inf file:

http://www.911cd.net/forums//index.php?showtopic=19663

The drawback is that the migrat.inf will be "tailored" for a certain hard disk signature, thus the SETUP disk will only work the intended way on that particular machine and if you do not change the HD signature.

jaclaz

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it totally ruined your new Windows installation by installing it as drive "H:"
What do you mean? Windows will run fine from drive 'H:'.

It runs fine, but it won't be long before you're driven insane by having your hard drive as H: instead of C:. Batsh*t freaking insane. Not to mention that some badly written scripts or programs won't understand H:\Windows - they'll be looking for C:\. Tons and tons of reasons why a Windows install at H:, while functional, isn't long for this world.

jaclaz is also right - you can't just change the letter of your boot drive and expect it to work. There's a LOT of registry entries (particularly those relating to user profiles and the profiles directory) that don't move with Windows, that will be forever lost.

Migrate.inf can't be made "universal"...?

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Take it from someone whose done over a thousand clean installs over the last twenty years:

Disconnect any and all devices EXCEPT the keyboard, mouse and monitor, before booting up and running setup.

No USB stuff, no printers, no external ANYTHING, especially drives!

Set BIOS to boot from the HD you want as C FIRST. Be certain it has an ACTIVE partition, preferably occupying the entire drive.

Then use whichever key gets you to the one-time boot menu (on my Dells it's F12, on my AMD box it's F11, etc.) to select the CD/DVD drive with the XP setup files. You'll only do this the one time, then let setup reboot to the HD after the initial textmode file copy.

That's the way I do it and it's worked consistently, although your particular hardware environment may introduce other variables.

After setup is complete, you can reconnect all that external stuff one device at a time and let them configure completely.

Best luck to you, with greets from Atlanta, GA. USA.

:thumbup

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Migrate.inf can't be made "universal"...?

Migrate.inf is dependant from the MBR hard disk signature, so, it is somehow "hardcoded".

Something you may want to experiment with (untested by me) is to write a "conventional" hard disk signature to the first drive MBR - matching the entry in migrate.inf - before installing.

Then after system has booted, change it with a "random" one.

Would the system "sense" automatically the signature change and "keep" the drive letter? :unsure:

Cannot say, but if you use a batch to call (for example) MBRFIX to change the signature, the same batch could directly modify accordingly the Registry entry in DosDevices.....

jaclaz

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Take it from someone whose done over a thousand clean installs over the last twenty years:

Disconnect any and all devices EXCEPT the keyboard, mouse and monitor, before booting up and running setup.

No USB stuff, no printers, no external ANYTHING, especially drives!

this was an internal device.

A this point and if it's really fresh, I think Volatus is beter off reinstalling, unless he wants to loose a lot of time and hair.

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this was an internal device.

A this point and if it's really fresh, I think Volatus is beter off reinstalling, unless he wants to loose a lot of time and hair.

Volatus may wish to resinstall, yes, but mark_strelecki makes a very valid point.

I, myself, have an internal card reader/floppy combo drive that will do the same thing. Before I install the OS I have the FDD cable connected to the motherboard but I disconnect the internal USB connection for the card reader. I install the OS and do what I need to do and when I'm done then I reconnect the reader USB cable to the motherboard. It's easy and saves me a headache.

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If I may, it seems to me that this thread is taking a "strange" turn. :unsure:

Volatus asked something, i.e. if anyone knows a way to have Windows XP on HD to get drive letter C: even if some other devices are connected.

So far there were TWO valid replies:

1) install the XP on whatever drive letter it gets and later change it. (tricky) :blink:

2) install the XP "pre-mapping" the hard disk (tricky as well) ;)

Then a number of replies, saying more or less that he should dis-connect all other devices before installing, which I am sure was a "trick" Volatus already thinked of, and that probably caused in first instance the question.

What is the point to post that kind of info? :w00t:

The original question does not appear to be a poll of the type:

What do you think is best?

1) Find a way to assign the C: drive letter without disconnecting other devices.

2) Disconnect all other devices.

So, taking as granted that disconnecting all devices is the most popular and possibly simpler way, are there alternatives?

:unsure:

jaclaz

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It runs fine, but it won't be long before you're driven insane by having your hard drive as H: instead of C:. Batsh*t freaking insane. Not to mention that some badly written scripts or programs won't understand H:\Windows - they'll be looking for C:\. Tons and tons of reasons why a Windows install at H:, while functional, isn't long for this world.

I'll bet you have only one Windows OS installed on your machine. I've had three installed for many years and you can be sure they aren't all on the C partition. In fact I never install an OS on the C partition because I might want to reformat and re-install the OS. It's messier to reformat the C disk because that's usually where boot.ini etc. hang out.

In the last few years I've encountered very few installers that insisted on using the C disk, and those were old or poorly done and probably not something anyone would want installed anyway.

If you have multiple OS's installed you will soon learn not to pay much attention to the drive letter because each installed OS can assign different letters to the same partition. Also the OS setup disk and things like BartPE are apt to assign different letters. I use partition labels. They make more sense than letters and because they are actually stored on the partition, every Windows OS or setup disk will show you the same label for a given partition. Of course the OS does use letters but when I need to know the letter, Windows Explorer or Disk Management will show me the letter.

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meh11 is right, just change the driver letters in the registry. Windows XP adds the drive letters as they are enumerated. During the beta of XP this was seen as a zip disk being assigned drive C or D. This was never fixed, probably because it would require so many changes it would be better to fix it in windows vista.

-gosh

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I have done many many Clean installs and only had a similar problem once. Sometimes if Windows recognizes other drives or other partitions, it may choose to install to that drive/partition even though you don't want it to.

I always have two partitions on my clean installs, One for the OS, One for the "Factory Restore". The important thing to do BEFORE you start doing anything is to disconnect ANY hard drives that are not your Primary IDE Master Drive or USB devices. Hopefully your using IDE as it's more reliable and less problematic then SATA.

Then you change you BIOS options to Boot from CD First and you need to have a boot CD like Hiren's so that you can prep your master drive using a partition manager such as Partition Magic or Acronis Disk Director. Preferably you want to partition & Format your drives in FAT32 and if you setup more then one partition, make sure you hide the additional partitions using the partitioning program (you can unhide them after the Windows install). After partitioning/formating is done, you can stick in your bootable Windows XP cd to begin installation. Just make sure that you choose to leave partition intact (unchanged) if it asks you where to install Windows.

After installation and your computer is off, you may connect any other internal drives / memory card readers and then power up. Your Windows will remain on the C: drive. Also, if you hid any partitions, you can use your boot disk to access the partitioning program and unhide them.

This is my formula and it's been working great for years. I don't think there is a quick reliable fix for your existing situation, so backup any personal data and use my procedure for a clean install.

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