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Windows 7: Swapping System Drive Letters in Dual Boot Setup

11 Dec 2011   #1

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 
Swapping System Drive Letters in Dual Boot Setup

I set up an XP/Windows 7 dual boot system using 2 partitions on a single hard disk (XP was pre-installed). All seemed to go smoothly, except for the fact that I couldn't boot from the Windows 7 DVD for some reason. The process would start loading files from the DVD but would keep stalling just after the progress bar got to 100% and disappeared. After several attempts and trying 2 different DVD drives, I ended up just running the Windows 7 setup.exe from XP and that got the install completed.

The problem is when I boot into Windows 7 the system drive is designated as "W:\" not "C:\" ("W" is the letter I assigned to it when creating the partition that would hold Windows 7). I hate this. Some people mentioned in different how-to's I checked out that their dual boot system automatically designates the system drive as "C:\" regardless of which OS they boot into or partition letters assigned to each OS. How can I get that to work?

Everything else seems to be working properly when in either XP or Windows 7.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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11 Dec 2011   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-Bit
 
 

The problem you are faced with is that by default Windows looks for the boot files on your C drive and that is why you've got a problem.

I'm fairly certain there is no other way round your problem, but to boot into Windows 7 and change the system (Windows) drive letter to C.

I'm just intrigued as to why you dislike the default settings so much.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Dec 2011   #3
Microsoft MVP

 

Windows 7 will always see itself as C as long as you boot the installer and not run it from another OS.

You would have to reinstall to change it now as you cannot change an OS drive letter without ruining your OS.

Did you try wiping the HD first so installer autostarts to install? SSD - HDD Optimize for Windows Reinstallation

Did you test your HD with maker's HD Diagnostic extended CD scan, run Disk Check?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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12 Dec 2011   #4

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

seavixen32:
By default settings do you mean the fact that Windows 7 defaulted to the "W:\" partition? I'm so used to the system drive being C:\ (which it is when I'm booted into XP) that it gets a little confusing, esp. since the C:\ is visible within Windows 7 in all navigational dialogs and I find myself going there by habit. Plus, I only plan on keeping XP until I get all my programs installed and configured on Windows 7 and give them all a thorough testing to make sure they're going to function properly in 7, which will take a few weeks or so. Then when XP's gone, I'd like my Windows 7 system drive to be C:\

When you say "boot into Windows 7 and change the system (Windows) drive letter to C", will that not wreak havoc on my system, esp. if the boot files are on C?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Dec 2011   #5

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-Bit
 
 

I'm still a bit confused as to why you changed the Windows 7 partition letter to W.

Please post a screenshot of your expanded disk management layout so we can see exactly what is going on.

Screenshots and Files - Upload and Post in Seven Forums

What normally happens when you create a dual-boot system is this:

If you boot into XP that will take drive letter C and Windows 7 will take the next available drive letter; typically D.

If you boot into Windows 7 then 7 will take drive letter C.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Dec 2011   #6

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

gregrocker:
Yeah, I had a feeling this happened because I installed Windows 7 while in XP (because I wasn't able to boot from the Windows 7 DVD). I didn't wipe the HD first because I wanted to keep XP and have access to it for the next few weeks. I didn't test the HD with the extended HD Diagnostic test you asked about, but before I created the extra partition for Windows 7, I did run an error check and full defrag.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Dec 2011   #7

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

ME/XP/Vista/Win7
 
 

Quote:
I'm still a bit confused as to why you changed the Windows 7 partition letter to W.
If you install Windows 7 from the Win XP desktop, Windows 7 will use the same drive letters as Win XP.
Therefore if you install to Win XP drive W:, Windows 7 will take drive W: as it's drive letter.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Dec 2011   #8

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

When I set up the extra partition for Windows 7 on my C drive I assigned it the drive letter "W" since "C" wasn't available.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Dec 2011   #9

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by theog View Post
If you install Windows 7 from the Win XP desktop, Windows 7 will use the same drive letters as Win XP. Therefore if you install to Win XP drive W:, Windows 7 will take drive W: as it's drive letter.
All makes perfect sense. When starting the Windows 7 install from within XP it asked which partition I wanted to install to. I clicked the new partition of course since I was keeping XP, and the new partition was "W".
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Dec 2011   #10

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-Bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by theog View Post
Quote:
I'm still a bit confused as to why you changed the Windows 7 partition letter to W.
If you install Windows 7 from the Win XP desktop, Windows 7 will use the same drive letters as Win XP.
Therefore if you install to Win XP drive W:, Windows 7 will take drive W: as it's drive letter.
Thanks for that, as the OP says, it all makes sense now.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Swapping System Drive Letters in Dual Boot Setup





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