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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 9th January, 2002, 03:58 AM
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Changing Hard Drive Letters?

Can you change a hard drive letter without fdisk or a third-party program? I have three physical drives, 1 (40GB), 2 (45GB), and 3 (20GB). Originally, under XP, Drive 1 had C: and D: on it, with C being NTFS and D being FAT32, 2 had E: on it in NTFS, and 3 had F: on it, FAT32. This was under XP. I went back to 98SE, and had to partition and format drives C and E, so they would be FAT32 and recognizable. After the fdisk and format, drive 1 now has C: and F:, Drive 2 has D: and drive 3 has E:. Any way to change them back the way they were without partitioning and formatting?
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Old 9th January, 2002, 04:24 AM
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dang, I used to have 2 win98se machines too... I crossed over on all to XP a couple of weeks ago... In XP, it's easy in disk tools. I don't know about win98se. If you right click on the drive, select properties, can you select the drive letter? I know this works for CD/DVD rom, but can't remember for HDDs.
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Old 9th January, 2002, 05:43 AM
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That's actually under the Hardware Manager, but that only works for CD-ROM drives, not for hard drives.

At Overclockers.com, I got an answer for a change in the registry, but it didn't do any good. The changes didn't stick after a reboot. So I'm still lookin' for help. Anyone?
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Old 9th January, 2002, 06:12 AM
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I've been lucky lately and haven't had to re-explore this issue, which I also had months and months ago... never came to a resolution, though Steve stole my answer for 98se, which I do now remember about 98 and cdrom drives

Sorry man... looks like third party utility time...
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Old 9th January, 2002, 06:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Pinky
Sorry man... looks like third party utility time...
I distrust third party utilities for such things. I'ma just try it with fdisk. First I'll delete the d: then E: then F:, then add them back in the order I want them to show up, and we'll see if that don't work.

Prolly sometime tomorrow, as I'm backing up all my stuff to my roommates computer right now over the network. Thank god for networking and geeks who know how to!
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Old 9th January, 2002, 01:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Wa11y
I distrust third party utilities for such things. I'ma just try it with fdisk. First I'll delete the d: then E: then F:, then add them back in the order I want them to show up, and we'll see if that don't work.
That won't help you - you'll find the drive letters are still wrong.

Win98 follows the same rules as DOS (and other OSes) regarding drive letters.

The system scans any hard disks attached to the system at boot time, generally in the order IDE then SCSI.

The first primary partition found is assigned "C:". The second primary partition found is assigned "D:" and so on. Once the system has scanned all primary partitions and allocated letters, it scans for logical partitions. The logical partitions then take letters up after the the primary partitions.

The drives are scanned in order, so the first IDE drive will be allocated the lower letters for that partition type. If you have SCSI (or other option BIOS based device), then it'll be allocated letters after the IDE drives.

If you had three hard disks with a mixture of primary and logical disks, the system would allocate....

Code:
|    Drive One          Drive Two    Drive Three
---------------------  ------------  -----------
| Primary | Logical |  | Primary  |  | Logical |
---------------------  ------------  -----------
The primary on the first drive is the first primary partition encountered. It gets allocated drive C. The primary on the second drive is the next primary partition encountered, so it's drive D. The Logical partition on drive one is the first logical partition encountered, so it's drive E. The logical partition on drive three is the next encountered, so it's drive F. In the end, the map looks like the following:

Code:
|    Drive One          Drive Two    Drive Three
---------------------  ------------  -----------
| Primary | Logical |  | Primary  |  | Logical |
---------------------  ------------  -----------
|   C          E            D            F
The bad news is that there's only 4 entries for Primary partitions. The extended partition containing the logical partitions takes up one of those entries.

So, the answer is, no you can't change them without repartitioning the disk.

AidanII
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Old 10th January, 2002, 04:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by AidanII
That won't help you - you'll find the drive letters are still wrong.

Win98 follows the same rules as DOS (and other OSes) regarding drive letters.

So, the answer is, no you can't change them without repartitioning the disk.

AidanII
To give credit where it's due, you're right. It does follow the same rules as DOS. But XP didn't.

As for changing it by fdisk, that didn't work either. I removed all four partitions, and added them back, and it still changed them the same way.

And partition magic doesn't seem to help.

Short answer: Wally = buggered. Such is life.
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Old 10th January, 2002, 06:05 PM
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I know in Fdisk, you can't have more than one primary, but does partition magic allow more than one primary partition per disk?? With what AidanII said, maybe you could still get the order you want, by tinkering with the primary/logical partitions. Sorry, I'm taking shots in the dark, but it seems possible.

I know I've seen a disk management program that let's you change drive letters... I thought it was partition magic, but I obviously that's not it.
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Old 10th January, 2002, 06:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by SteveI
I know in Fdisk, you can't have more than one primary, but does partition magic allow more than one primary partition per disk?? With what AidanII said, maybe you could still get the order you want, by tinkering with the primary/logical partitions. Sorry, I'm taking shots in the dark, but it seems possible.

I know I've seen a disk management program that let's you change drive letters... I thought it was partition magic, but I obviously that's not it.
I didn't play around with PM much, because it didn't look like it had what I wanted, and I didn't want to spend the time on it.

Wouldn't two primary partitions cause problems? Granted, only one would be active, but I would still think it would cause problems.

At this point, I've pretty much given up, and I'll just work with it as they are.

But thanks again.
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Old 10th January, 2002, 09:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Wa11y
To give credit where it's due, you're right. It does follow the same rules as DOS. But XP didn't.
XP doesn't rely on the BIOS or Int13 calls to deal with the disks, so like most other 32bit systems, it doesn't have to worry about such things.

Two primary partitions isn't a good idea... generally Windows 9x and DOS can't handle having two FAT primary partitions.

Although, you might be able to get away just an extended partition with two logical partitions on the second disk.

That would give you C and D on the first drive, and E - F on the second.

AidanII
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Old 10th January, 2002, 09:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by AidanII
Although, you might be able to get away just an extended partition with two logical partitions on the second disk.

That would give you C and D on the first drive, and E - F on the second.

AidanII
So...have no primary partition on Drive 1? Will that work? But then it would assign drive 2's primary partition to the C:, wouldn't it?
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Old 11th January, 2002, 12:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Wa11y
So...have no primary partition on Drive 1? Will that work? But then it would assign drive 2's primary partition to the C:, wouldn't it?
Not quite.. You'd have a primary partition on the first drive only. All other disks would only have extended/logical partitions.

The first disk has a primary partition and an extended partition containing a logical partition.

The second disk has an extended partition containing a logical partition. The third disk also has an extended partition containing a logical partition.

The first disk would be letters C and D. The second disk would be E and the third disk would be F. If I recall correctly, this is what you wanted, yeah?

AidanII
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Old 11th January, 2002, 03:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by AidanII


Not quite.. You'd have a primary partition on the first drive only. All other disks would only have extended/logical partitions.

The first disk has a primary partition and an extended partition containing a logical partition.

The second disk has an extended partition containing a logical partition. The third disk also has an extended partition containing a logical partition.

The first disk would be letters C and D. The second disk would be E and the third disk would be F. If I recall correctly, this is what you wanted, yeah?

AidanII
Yeah, that's exactly what I want. But.....how do you create an extended partition without a primary partition? PM or will fdisk let you do that? I have honestly never heard of that!
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Old 11th January, 2002, 04:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Wa11y
Yeah, that's exactly what I want. But.....how do you create an extended partition without a primary partition? PM or will fdisk let you do that? I have honestly never heard of that!
Pssst... Don't tell anyone I told you this, but an extended partition is actually a type of primary partition.

I don't beleive there's any rules against not having a primary partition other than the extended partition.... I've got one disk with only an extended partition on, but it's a ZIP disk... Not sure if that's quite the same. ZIP disks normally have primary partitions on them, but that screws up my drive ordering.

AidanII
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Old 11th January, 2002, 04:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by AidanII
Pssst... Don't tell anyone I told you this, but an extended partition is actually a type of primary partition.

I don't beleive there's any rules against not having a primary partition other than the extended partition.... I've got one disk with only an extended partition on, but it's a ZIP disk... Not sure if that's quite the same. ZIP disks normally have primary partitions on them, but that screws up my drive ordering.

AidanII
Your secret's safe with me!

I'll try that. One of the drive (Drive 3, 20GB) is empty for now, so I'll try to repartition that to have no primary, and only an extended, and tell you how that goes.

Thanks for this info! This is WAY more than I knew about hard drives and partitions.
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Old 13th January, 2002, 02:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Wa11y
Thanks for this info! This is WAY more than I knew about hard drives and partitions.
There's nothing like being up against a problem to learn quickly! Not my preferred way of learning, but it'll do in a pinch.

There's a general lack of information on partitioning. I guess most people think of partitions as something you create once and forget all about.

AidanII
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Old 14th January, 2002, 08:33 PM
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It's always been my experience that once you've got your drives partitioned, you usually dont' have to mess with them again.

But, I did find an answer, and you were right. I deleted the primary partitions off drives D and E (disks 1 and 2), and added extended partitions, and they work just fine. So yes, you can partition drives to only have extended partitions, and in pre-2K OSes, they show up as D:, E:, F;....
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Old 15th January, 2002, 11:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Wa11y
But, I did find an answer, and you were right. I deleted the primary partitions off drives D and E (disks 1 and 2), and added extended partitions, and they work just fine. So yes, you can partition drives to only have extended partitions, and in pre-2K OSes, they show up as D:, E:, F;....
Excellent stuff! That's pre-NT OSes BTW, as even NT can affect drive letter changes.

AidanII
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Old 15th January, 2002, 03:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by AidanII
Excellent stuff! That's pre-NT OSes BTW, as even NT can affect drive letter changes.

AidanII
Wasn't sure if NT could do it or not, I don't have much experience with it, so I just went with what I knew. But that's for that clarification.
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