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Windows 7: Advice please on swapping Win7 and XP drive letters (separate disks)


17 Feb 2014   #1

Windows XP Pro and Windows 7 Pro
 
 
Advice please on swapping Win7 and XP drive letters (separate disks)

Hello all,

First post here and seeking some advice please.

The intention is that eventually I (and other family users) will "migrate" to being Windows 7 users.
The crux of what I want to end up with is Windows 7 being C:\windows(7)..... etc and XP being D:\Windows(XP).....etc. I want to keep the idea that the OS will be on drive letter C (because other users cannot get their heads around drives other than C


Current arrangement is Disk0 has C: with XP and all my current programs, user documents etc. Disk1 has D: with new install of Win 7 Pro. So far have not copied any existing user files into Windows 7, but I'm happy with doing that together with re-installing software as I come to needing it.

Disk 0 - C:\ is marked as system disk and has bootmgr which is currently dual boot Windows 7/XP (actually it is triple boot) because Disk1 also has a 3GB partition of H:\ which has a "skeleton" XP install with just an admin account - put there in case I ever had trouble with C:\ or wanted to backup C:\ with all files closed.

I know (from helpful advice on here) that I cannot change drive letter of the system disk (currently C
but is there a way to get to where I want to be.

In summary,

The Windows 7 install is new, so could be sacrificed and re-installed if need be - presumably there would be no issue putting the activation code in again ?

I have external storage onto which I can image any of the partitions. Disk0 has already been done.
I use Macrium Reflect (free) for my imaging. I've d/loaded Paragon Backup and Recovery Free 2014 after reading other threads on here.

Any help or pointers very gratefully appreciated.

Regards
Gromwood




Attached Thumbnails
Advice please on swapping Win7 and XP drive letters (separate disks)-gromwoods-disks.png   Advice please on swapping Win7 and XP drive letters (separate disks)-bcd.png  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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17 Feb 2014   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center
 
 

Hello Gromwood, welcome to the Seven Forums.

Your screenshots seem to be taken from XP, showing a (quite) normal Windows XP 7 Seven dual boot system.

Windows always uses the letter C: for system partition, where the operating system is installed. When you boot to Seven you will notice it has become partition C:, and again booting back to XP it will use the letter C:.

As far as I can see your Disk Management shows no issues, nothing to worry.

Kari
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Feb 2014   #3

Windows XP Pro and Windows 7 Pro
 
 

Hello Kari

Thanks for replying. When I read (in XP) your reply , straightaway I did a restart and used the boot menu to boot into Windows 7. Then I took the screenshots attached. As you can clearly see, the Windows7 environment is drive letter D, not C

So at what point will your statement ... "When you boot to Seven you will notice it has become partition C:" become true ? From the screenshots it is not true at present.

I'm sorry if I did not make myself clear, the screenshots show what I currently have. What I want to end up with is a dual boot system with Windows 7 having drive letter C, and XP on separate disk with drive letter D. Can I achieve this and how ?

Thanks

Peter
(gromwood)


Attached Thumbnails
Advice please on swapping Win7 and XP drive letters (separate disks)-win7info.png   Advice please on swapping Win7 and XP drive letters (separate disks)-environment.png  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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17 Feb 2014   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center
 
 

I will check something, will post later.

In the mean time a suggestion: Why dont you backup your user data from XP to another partition or external device, then simply boot the computer from Windows 7 install media and install it on top of XP, completely wiping the XP partition, then restore the user data to newly installed Seven? This way you get your Seven on first HDD and no more XP, which I understand is your plan anyway.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Feb 2014   #5

Windows XP Pro and Windows 7 Pro
 
 

I guess I could do as you are suggesting and wipe out XP by installing Windows 7 straight over the top. However I'd rather proceed a bit more slowly than that and keep an XP install around for a while. I wondered about creating another partition on Disk 0 to put Windows 7 onto but a) C:\ is pretty full no room and b) the partition would use another drive letter anyway so defeats the object.

I wondered whether moving the bootmgr to Disk 1, the disk that has the current drive D - Windows 7 install on it would work, then physically removing Disk0 before booting. I suspect it wouldn't be that simple.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Feb 2014   #6

Windows 7 Professional 32-bit/Windows 8 64-bit/Win7 Pro64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gromwood View Post
Hello Kari

Thanks for replying. When I read (in XP) your reply , straightaway I did a restart and used the boot menu to boot into Windows 7. Then I took the screenshots attached. As you can clearly see, the Windows7 environment is drive letter D, not C

So at what point will your statement ... "When you boot to Seven you will notice it has become partition C:" become true ? From the screenshots it is not true at present.

I'm sorry if I did not make myself clear, the screenshots show what I currently have. What I want to end up with is a dual boot system with Windows 7 having drive letter C, and XP on separate disk with drive letter D. Can I achieve this and how ?

Thanks

Peter
(gromwood)
How come you do not have SP1? The screenshot says Build 7600 not 7601. You should get it for better security and performance first before doing anything else. (Unless it messes with the dual boot)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Feb 2014   #7

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center
 
 

OK, I did a fast dual boot install to get screenshots.

I installed Windows 7 on secondary HDD on a PC which already contained Windows XP. After the first boot, this is how Windows 7 looks:
Advice please on swapping Win7 and XP drive letters (separate disks)-2014-02-18_00h02_36.png
Disk Management clearly shows the older operating system Windows XP has gotten letter D: because Windows 7 installation took the C: for itself.
  1. Disk Management shows Windows 7 partition as C:, Windows XP partition as D:
  2. File Explorer > Computer shows Windows 7 partition as C:, Windows XP partition as D:
  3. File Explorer > Computer > C: shows Windows 7 system folders installed on C:
Now booting to Windows XP, same computer:
Advice please on swapping Win7 and XP drive letters (separate disks)-2014-02-18_00h11_38.png
Disk Management clearly shows the newer operating system Windows 7 has now gotten letter E: because Windows XP uses C: for its system drive and D: for CD/DVD drive.
  1. Disk Management shows Windows XP partition as C:, Windows 7 partition as E:
  2. File Explorer > Computer shows Windows XP partition as C:, Windows 7 partition as E:
  3. File Explorer > Computer > C: shows Windows XP system folders installed on C:
This is the result if you do a clean install when installing the second Windows OS (in your case 7) on a dual boot in computer which already contains another Windows OS (in your case XP).

With clean install I mean that you start the Windows 7 installation by booting the computer with Windows 7 install media (DVD or USB), not by booting to Windows XP and launching Windows 7 installation from XP desktop.

Tutorial: Dual Boot Installation with Windows 7 and XP

Kari


My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Feb 2014   #8
Microsoft MVP

 

Where is the DIsk Mgmt screenshot from Windows 7? We can tell better what's happened once we see it.

If Windows 7 is booting as anything other than C it normally means it was installed from the XP OS and not from the booted installer, so XP blocked the use of the letter C Windows 7 would have otherwise taken. If you don't mind having Windows 7 on D then you can leave it as is.

To reinstall so Windows 7 boots as C, unplug the XP HD, boot the Windows 7 installer to reinstall to its target HD making sure to delete its partition to create New and format first. In fact I would delete all partitions on that drive after backing up any needed data. You hardly need a second install of a defunct OS when you now have the best OS ever.

After Windows 7 install, plug back in XP HD to boot it using the one-time BIOS Boot Menu key. This keeps the HD's independent to come and go as you please. If you don't like that arrangement install EasybCD to Windows 7 to add XP which will still keep its System flag so that both remain independently bootable and one is not dependent upon the other as when you install with another OS plugged in.

If you are happy with Windows 7 performance and would like to keep it but would like to make it independently bootable, mark the XP C partition Active in Disk Mgmt, power down to unplug it, boot the Windows 7 installation media to run Startup Repair - Run 3 Separate Times
until it starts on its own and holds the System boot files.

You can then choose which OS to boot via the BIOS, or install EasyBCD to Windows 7 to add the other OS while still maintaining each as independently bootable. Later if you need the now-hidden XP partition you can add it to a Dual Boot using Easy from Windows 7.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Feb 2014   #9

Windows 7 Professional 32-bit/Windows 8 64-bit/Win7 Pro64-bit
 
 

You may have to deactivate your current Windows 7 installation before doing what Greg says. Remember to keep your product key for activation of the clean install.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Feb 2014   #10

Windows 7 Professional x64 Linux Mint 16
 
 

Greg is correct and you should unplug all other drives and re install windows 7, there is no reason to have it not showing as C.

Product Key Number - Uninstall and Deactivate in Windows
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Advice please on swapping Win7 and XP drive letters (separate disks)




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