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Control USB drive letter during XP install

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I'm installing XP from a USB flash drive created with Rufus. I want XP on the second HDD partition as D:. But XP's installer decides that the USB drive is D, so Windows ends up on E.

How can I force a certain drive letter order in the installer? Or maybe, create a bootable USB XP setup where the USB drive appears as an optical drive?

Extra details: I've pre-created the partitions before XP's installer because I want them all to be primary, not logical. If I start from an unpartitioned drive all is good, because the installer doesn't assign the USB drive any letter (in the partitioning screen it appears as "-:" instead of "D:"). In that case, the HDD partitions properly get consecutive drive letters.

 

Edited by shae

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What you report does not sound "right" in the sense that if the USB has no drive letter, it should not be possible to install from it. :dubbio:

Anyway you can usually pre-assign the USB stick drive letter, however, i.e. make it so that the USB gets - say - drive letter U: via migrate.inf, this is one among the many "special" features that some of the methods talked about here:

https://msfn.org/board/forum/157-install-windows-from-usb/

provide, but nothing prevents you to use the same approach "manually".

You will find details in the "historical" thread:

but essentially all you need to know basically is here (via Wayback Machine):

https://web.archive.org/web/20091125065150/http://www.911cd.net/forums//index.php?showtopic=19663

jaclaz

 

 

 

 

 

 

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@shae

Try both:
set a drive letter for the USB partition.
And set drive letter d: for the hard disk partiitons in addition.

Or boot a PE after first reboot.
Import the XP registry system hive. And adjust MountedDevices, rename e: to d:
Raw example, to be adjusted https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/223188/how-to-restore-the-system-boot-drive-letter-in-windows

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Thanks.

I tried setting the USB drive letter with \i386\MIGRATE.INF (only the USB, not the HDD partitions). Seems like the easiest and most generic way to do it. But it still ended as before, with the USB disk appearing as drive D. I'm not sure if it integrated MIGRATE.INF at all.

When overridden correctly, should the forced USB drive letter show in the setup's partitioning screen?
It didn't in this case. I figured maybe the registry import phase happens only later on, so I let it install fully, to no avail.

Regarding the USB drive having no drive letter, which jaclaz said didn't sound right, I assume it assigns it later on. Isn't it normally how it looks?
Whatever the reason may be, that's when it worked correctly (except that D was a logical partition and not primary).

9IKtakXm.jpg

Edited by shae
Clarifications

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20 minutes ago, shae said:

Isn't it normally how it looks?

No, the USB get's a drive letter at textmode normally.

As far as I know, the Rufus MBR at USB does addional settings, like drive swapping.
I don't remember details.

Didn't get hard disk second partiton the d: drive letter at textmode?
Is this with or without a migrate.inf? Does this change at installation?

Which hardware do you use? There are some strange BIOS releases.

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Hmmm.

Maybe the partition ID on the USB stick is not 07? :unsure: (like 17 or 27)

Another thing, how (EXACTLY) are you creating the partitions that are shown as "RAW" in the screenshot you posted?

jaclaz

 

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On Κυριακή, 9 Σεπτεμβρίου 2018 at 5:34 PM, shae said:

I've pre-created the partitions before XP's installer because I want them all to be primary, not logical.

The Windows XP installer makes primary partitions as far as I remember. In order to make logical partitions you must first create an extended one to contain them.

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Answers below, but by now I've given up and connected an optical drive. :)

Before that I tried running the installer from the HDD, with the setup files in a 3rd partition. It didn't work. After first reboot it ended with some error message.
(BTW, it took surprisingly long to get there. Maybe FreeDOS' LBACACHE wasn't set right.)

If GRUB4DOS can boot an ISO as a CD drive, maybe that would be the best solution.


cdob>> the USB get's a drive letter at textmode normally.

When MIGRATE.INF works correctly, does the setup's partitions screen show the USB drive as U:?

 

cdob>> As far as I know, the Rufus MBR at USB does addional settings, like drive swapping.

Yeah: https://github.com/pbatard/rufus/tree/master/res/mbr

Maybe that's adding complications? I'm not sure if it swaps volumes/partitions, or whole drives (in which case I'd expect the HDD drive letters to remain consecutive regardless of what happens with the USB drive).

cdob>> Didn't get hard disk second partiton the d: drive letter at textmode?
cdob>> Is this with or without a migrate.inf? Does this change at installation?

Sorry for being unclear in the message above. The screenshot was just to show how it looks when the USB drive is letterless. That happens when the HDD partitions are created in the setup and not in advance.

The presence of MIGRATE.INF doesn't change anything. For HDD partitions created in the setup (primary+logical), it's C and D. For partitions created in advance (primary x2), it's C and E.

After full install Windows was in E, and there was no MountedDevices \ DosDevice\U:.
And BTW, in Windows after setup, the MountedDevices entry for the USB drive (D:) wasn't of the 12-byte/fixed-HDD type. It was "_??_USBSTOR...". I don't know if that's expected or not.


cdob>> Which hardware do you use? There are some strange BIOS releases.

A C2D-era Asus with AMI.


jaclaz>> Maybe the partition ID on the USB stick is not 07? :unsure: (like 17 or 27)

The USB's partition is 07h (I don't know why Rufus insists on NTFS rather than FAT32).
But the "active" byte is 81h (Rufus's default) rather than 80h, though I think it may be tweaked dynamically by Rufus' MBR.


jaclaz>> how (EXACTLY) are you creating the partitions that are shown as "RAW" in the screenshot

The raw partitions are what's created in the setup's partitions screen (primary+logical).
(And in cases where I pre-created them as two primaries, it was with an old GParted).

 

HarryTri>> The Windows XP installer makes primary partitions as far as I remember. In order to make logical partitions you must first create an extended one to contain them.

Maybe in the commandline tools? But during setup it just asks for a partition size, creating an Extended automatically if it's the 2nd partition (see in the shot: there are two "unallocated" areas, one at end of the Extended, the other at the end of disk, where XP likes to reserve a few MBs).

Edited by shae

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Sure grub4dos can boot a .iso as a "virtual" CD drive.

That is essentially what WinsetupFromUSB uses 

It is possible that Rufus - since XP was never a "real" target and it is now unsupported by Akeo (aka Peter Batard, the Author of Rufus) - has some "queer" behaviour that is good in 99.99% of cases but that somehow breaks the install in your specific case.

Not that WinSetupFromUSB is actually guaranteed to work 100% in ALL possible scenarios, but surely it has been tested (and corrected/fixed/modified) for a much longer period of time, so more likely your same situation has been already found and solved.

jaclaz

Edited by jaclaz

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On Τρίτη, 11 Σεπτεμβρίου 2018 at 12:49 AM, shae said:

Maybe in the commandline tools? But during setup it just asks for a partition size, creating an Extended automatically if it's the 2nd partition (see in the shot: there are two "unallocated" areas, one at end of the Extended, the other at the end of disk, where XP likes to reserve a few MBs).

The unallocated area at end of the "Extended" exists because you don't allocate it to a partition? How are you sure that it is really an extended partition? If you mean that the unpartitioned space is inside the second partition because it is listed separately from the 8 MB that Windows XP Setup reserves for the setup process I don't really think so, there is no real evidence for that. I suggest to install Windows once creating the partitions with the Windows XP Setup and then check in the Disk Management Console if the partitions are primary or not. I have installed Windows XP countless times and the partitions were always primary (with one exception which I don't know how it occurred).

Of course you use a modified installation source which may make some difference (Rufus etc.) but yet have you checked that the second partition is really an extended one?

Edited by HarryTri

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Right. So next time GRUB4DOS it is.

@Harry
I don't recall ever getting more than 1 primary partition out of XP's stock tools.

Here's another experiment. No Rufus, in a VM.

1. After creating 1st partition, there's one "unpartitioned space".
SRu9NWC.png

 

2. After creating 2nd partition, there are two "unpartitioned space"s.
tiyWToe.png

 

3. Disk Management says partition 2 is logical.
eEBa0oi.png

 

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1 hour ago, shae said:

3. Disk Management says partition 2 is logical.

That's real evidence. Strange anyway since I have the opposite experience. What type of Windows XP you have? I have Windows XP Home Edition.

Of course the fact is that when installing Windows XP I create 2 or 3 partitions that cover all the disk space except for the known 8 MBs. I wonder if this makes the difference...:dubbio:

Edited by HarryTri

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On 9/12/2018 at 9:32 PM, HarryTri said:

I have installed Windows XP countless times and the partitions were always primary (with one exception which I don't know how it occurred).

Allow me to doubt that the setup allows to make more than one primary partition :dubbio:.

The "standard" (more exactly the *whatever* MS - mainly through mis-information - pushed to the final user) has traditionally been:
1) one single, primary (and active) partition
2) optionally  one single, extended partiton containing one or more logical volumes

Their stance AFAICR did change, but later than the time the XP setup/install was made (which actually is essentially the Windows 2000 setup[1]), and DiskPart (for XP) came much later than the release of the OS, so - while possible, it's years since I used it to install a XP and I never used its partitioning features anyway - I don't think that the plain setup allows to make more than one primary partition. :unsure:

jaclaz

[1] which is actually the NT one [2], and the behaviour in XP (set aside the 4/8GB limit) should still be along the lines of this KB "Rules" (via Wayback Machine):

https://web.archive.org/web/20071224011157/http://support.microsoft.com/kb/138364

[2] which is actually largely that of MS-DOS FDISK [3]

[3] In the good ol' times Partition Magic or Ranish Parittion Manager were widely used to make non-MS-approved partitioning setups.

Edited by jaclaz

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It was with XP Pro. I doubt Home would work differently.

18 hours ago, HarryTri said:

when installing Windows XP I create 2 or 3 partitions that cover all the disk space except for the known 8 MBs. I wonder if this makes the difference...:dubbio:

I tried now partitioning the whole HDD in XP's setup. Still ended up a logical partition:

LBN1ICS.png

 

Edited by shae

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