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Windows 7: Assign Windows installation to a different letter than C?

02 Oct 2016   #1

windows 7
Assign Windows installation to a different letter than C?

Had a crazy thought. Wouldn't assigning Windows installation to a different drive letter than C help in some measure against infections? Or I guess even after installing Windows, just change drive C to another letter.

Obviously for sophisticated infections this might not work, but wouldn't generic infections have code that assumes the system is installed on the default C drive, so the virus code is written with generic paths for infection (ex. C:/windows/system32/... etc)?

Or is this not how it works?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Oct 2016   #2

win 8 32 bit

Virus will read system variables which will tell it all it needs to know just open a CMD prompt type set
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Oct 2016   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

What if windows was installed on a more sophisticated partition format, where you would actually have file permissions instead of a flag added by the os, so the infection would really need root permissions to install itself inside the system and make itself executable?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

02 Oct 2016   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

or what if all windows system files were encrypted, so any executable would need a key
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Oct 2016   #5

Windows 7 HP 64

- If you change the letter of an installed Windows it wont work as register has all data referring to C:
- Virus and malware will infect the target file as it looks for %SystemDrive% not for C:
- Virus and malware are programs that, when ran, modify a target file. So an encrypted drive wont help as when the Virus or the malware is executed, the drive is already open.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Oct 2016   #6

Windows 7 x64

How to you do fresh installation of Windows OS.

By default, Windows installation will use C:\ drive to install to.
The boot, system, files etc; will occupy the very 1st partition in order to boot to the correct partition with Windows OS.

Let say, you install to a drive G:\
All programs, Windows system, application, etc are in G:\ drive

The virus still can go about infecting your G:\ drive as stated as partition contain the system.
That is to say you run any program, application, etc from the G:\ drive.

Do use Internet Security software and an antivirus-spyware to protect from virus, malware.
The Internet Security is usual active from boot to shutdown.
The other anti-virus/spyware can be scan ad-hoc, with latest update of virus signature files.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Oct 2016   #7

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit

I don't think modern version of Windows (Vista and later) can be installed to a partition other than C. Drive letters are not a property of the partition itself but are defined in the registry. When the OS is installed it will call it's own partition C and assign drive letters to other partitions as it sees fit. You can have multiple operating systems installed and each one will see it itself as on C.

In any event it wouldn't likely do much good. Operating systems provide extensive facilities for applications (and malware) to locate where things are located. Windows can use many different languages and the names of folders often depend on the language used. Any sensible software will use these facilities rather than assume English language defaults.

Changing security settings from the defaults won't do much good either. To do their work malware must in some way achieve admin rights and once it has that it owns your computer.

Many modern systems are fully encrypted. But the encryption is done at a low level and is invisible to software. Malware could do as it wishes completely unaware that the drive is encrypted.

You have to understand that modern malware is VERY sophisticated, far more so than most people can imagine. Malware authors understand the security of a modern OS very well and are experts at evading the various forms of protection. OS designers include security experts, as do the designers of anti-malware software. When it comes to suggestions for improving security they have heard it all. They know about everything suggested in this thread and a whole lot more.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Oct 2016   #8

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64

The OS drive letter doesn't need to be C. Doubt that would make any difference to malware.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Oct 2016   #9

Windows 10 Pro x64

Exactly, they don`t look for a certain letter, they just infect whatever they find wherever they find it.

You`re still downloading to that letter so it doesn`t matter what letter it is.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Oct 2016   #10

Windows 7 x64

To add:

If you have installed 2 Windows OS on separate HDD.
HDD 1 --> Windows XP
HDD 2 --> Windows Vista

The current HDD 2 will consider as Active, as C:\ drive.
The other HDD 1 will have no Active stated.

If you select the HDD 1 as Active.
Upon reboot, this HDD 1 will be considered as C:\ Active.

Then if you want to go back to the previous HDD 2 and select as Active.
Upon reboot, this HDD 2 will be considered as C:\ Active.

I did some testing on this during Windows XP period.

As for Windows 7 i am not sure, and may do some testing with other Windows OS.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Assign Windows installation to a different letter than C?

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