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Change Boot Drive Letter for System Partition?


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I had a dualboot scenario on my laptop: WinXP on C; User data on D; and Vista installed on E. Because I installed Vista fom within WinXP, I got the Boot Manager deposited on the C Drive.

Now I have deleted WinXP and reorganised so that Vista has the entire drive to itself. I had to boot from the Vista DVD to do a "Start-up Repair" but it worked OK, and I now have the laptop booting OK straight into Vista. The partition uses the whole drive (55MB).

However, after booting the system drive is STILL labelled E: (I expected it would have shifted it down to C: which is what I want).

I have tried everything I can thing of but nothing works.

How to I force the partiton to become C: again??



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With NT before Vista it was not possible to do what you want. Too many registry paths such as - E:\Windows, E:\Documents and Settings, etc. are required on bootup so you would never get to the desktop. http://support.microsoft.com/kb/249321

There has definitely been a change in Vista because now you do get to the desktop, but your account/profile is of course gone and you need to create a new one so you can login to Windows. I have not gone past this point so can’t tell you if Vista will then be ok and usable. If you don’t have a backup image of your Vista install then it will be a gamble.

If you are sure bootmgr and BCD are now on the Vista partition and it is the Active partition on the hard drive, then the easiest way to force a drive letter change and get it to become C: would be to clear the list of mounted devices in the registry. About halfway down this page http://www.multibooters.co.uk/cloning.html

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With NT before Vista it was not possible to do what you want.

Well, no, it was tricky but it could be done:

P.S.: if you want to change the drive letter of a XP install (mind you, it is tricky business) the instructions are NOT these ones:


but these ones:


which, if followed will lead you to a system to which you will not be able to log in, unless you do what is suggested here:


After having (hopefully) rebooted OK, you will still need to use a tool like registrar lite to find occurrences of D:\ in the Registry and change them to C:\, otherwise some utilities will not work.


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Ok, perhaps it was too general to say ‘not possible’ I should have said Microsoft don’t offer a complete KB on how to do it and say it is not advisable to try and will most likely fail.

Have you managed it jaclaz?

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Not on XP, but yes, on Win2K I managed to do it.

The key step is doing the changes in kb249321 BEFORE those in kb223188.

Of course the later "search and replace" in the registry has to be carried on with a minimun of patience and attention.....


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My hat off to you then jaclaz. It was something I spent some time on about 4-5 years ago, but I could never get a bug free system and I decided the effort involved was just not worth it for a system you could never be sure about. In the end I recommended a reinstall as being easier and quicker and more reliable.

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