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Windows 7: XP stays as Drive E: in Dual Boot With Windows 7


11 Nov 2009   #1

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit
 
 
XP stays as Drive E: in Dual Boot With Windows 7

I have a Dell Inspiron laptop which I recently upgraded to Windows 7 Home Premium from Vista doing an inplace upgrade. Everything works fine. I wanted to dual boot with XP so I followed the tutorial from this site to do so. The dual boot works just fine but XP is always drive E:, whether I'm in Windows 7 (which is always drive C: ) or in XP. Isn't the currently loaded operating system supposed to be drive C: and the other drive will be assigned a different letter? Or is that only on systems with two physical hard drives? And, does it matter? Seems to me some programs are going to choke trying to install and run on drive E:

A few more details on my system and what I did: I started with a single 93 GB partition and shrunk the volume in Windows 7 so the drive was roughly split in half. I left the unallocated space as unallocated and booted with the XP disc. I selected the unallocated space and XP made a partition using all but 8 MB and left 8 MB unallocated (not sure why it wouldn't use it all). I installed XP on this new partition, updated drivers, etc. and then ran EasyBCD as shown in the tutorial. When I boot the machine now I get the option to select which OS I want and I can boot into either just fine.

Advice? Thoughts?

Thanks.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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11 Nov 2009   #2

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Peregrine View Post
The dual boot works just fine but XP is always drive E:, whether I'm in Windows 7 (which is always drive C: ) or in XP. Isn't the currently loaded operating system supposed to be drive C: and the other drive will be assigned a different letter? Or is that only on systems with two physical hard drives? And, does it matter?
Hi! Welcome to SevenForums!
1. NO Windows isn't always supposed to be on the C Drive
2. It doesn't matter

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Peregrine View Post
Seems to me some programs are going to choke trying to install and run on drive E:
They won't. The ONLY reason that they install on Drive C is because that's how it's set in the registry.....

WARNING! BEFORE EDITING THE REGISTRY, MAKE A BACK-UP BY GOING TO FILE THEN EXPORT IN REGEDIT


To change it open Registry Editor (Write regedit in the start bar and press enter)

1. Navigate to:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion and click on it.

2. Find ProgramFilesDir in the right bar.

3. Right-Click it and click Modify

4. Under Value Data write in the location you want your files to install for exampe D:/Programs

Remember you have to reboot for your changes to show.

Thanks!
ZeshanA
If someone helps your click the scales at the top right of their post and click I APPROVE!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Nov 2009   #3

Windows 7 x64 finally!
 
 

Please be very careful when changing the registry. Pls backup your data first and backup the registry, create a restore point or image your drive. If something goes wrong you can come back to where you were before.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


11 Nov 2009   #4

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by wallyinnc View Post
Please be very careful when changing the registry. Pls backup your data first and backup the registry, create a restore point or image your drive. If something goes wrong you can come back to where you were before.
Thanks Wally. Adding that to my post now.

ZeshanA
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Nov 2009   #5

Windows 7 x64 finally!
 
 

Very clear now!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Nov 2009   #6

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit
 
 

Thank you all.

I won't bother with any registry settings. If it's happy, I'm happy.

A question though for my own understanding: Why is it that in some instances the currently loaded operating system is always drive C: and the other OS/partition gets another drive letter? I tried to find some answers to my question prior to posting and came across numerous posts where the operating system that boots is always drive C: and the other drive/system takes some other letter. Does it have to do with the order in which the operating systems were installed? One hard drive versus two? I'm curious how you end up with these different scenarios.

Thanks again.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Nov 2009   #7
Microsoft MVP

 

It has to do with how the last installed OS views the drive config. The fact that XP is not D means that letter must have been taken by optical or other drive.

It almost isn't worth worrying about since it will have ZERO effect on installed programs or files.

Most importantly, though, never try to change an OS drive letter using registry. It will ALWAYS make your system unbootable. The exception is if somehow the letter slips off after being assigned. Then MS has a tutorial which warns clearly NOT to use it otherwise.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Nov 2009   #8

Windows 7 Home Premium x64 OEM
 
 

When I boot to XP, its drive C:, when I boot to Windows 7, its drive C: .. the other drives will have other letters, as long as you know that, it does not matter what drive letter windows is...its a Windows thing and will always be that way, its all about the Active partition and the Master Boot record (MBR)

MOOT POINT with Windows

Most software installs will default to C:\Programs Files...you can change that in the install.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Nov 2009   #9

Windows 7 x64 finally!
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Peregrine View Post
Thank you all.

I won't bother with any registry settings. If it's happy, I'm happy.

A question though for my own understanding: Why is it that in some instances the currently loaded operating system is always drive C: and the other OS/partition gets another drive letter? I tried to find some answers to my question prior to posting and came across numerous posts where the operating system that boots is always drive C: and the other drive/system takes some other letter. Does it have to do with the order in which the operating systems were installed? One hard drive versus two? I'm curious how you end up with these different scenarios.

Thanks again.
+
Do you also have the 100MB partition? I think that is getting C: when you boot
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Nov 2009   #10

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit
 
 

Thanks to all for your help. I think I understand what is going on now.

@ wallyinnc: no 100 MB partition since I did an inplace upgrade from Vista.

It turns out that it's the order that the OS's get installed that causes this behaviour. If Windows 7 is installed first followed by WinXP, XP doesn't really know what to do with the Windows 7 partition and just calls it the C: drive and then calls itself the E: drive (in my case). And it forever remains E: drive.

If WinXP is installed first it becomes the C: drive. Then when installing Windows 7 it recognizes the XP partition and does know how to deal with it. So once this installation is done either OS becomes C: when it is loaded at boot.

I guess the only downside to the former (Windows 7 first) is that any programs that have C: hard coded into their programming wouldn't do well with the OS on E:

Since this is a test box I wiped it clean and reinstalled XP first and then Windows 7 and everything works just fine. Each is now C: when it is loaded.

Thanks again for all the replies. Much appreciated.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 XP stays as Drive E: in Dual Boot With Windows 7




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