How do I ensure my hard drives have the same driver letters in different operating systems?

Joseph Videtto December 10, 2012
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How do I ensure that on a dual-boot XP/Win7 system, that all of my hard drives have the same drive letter regardless of which operating system I log in ?

When I log into XP, my 5 hard drives get mapped C, D, F, X, Y (I believe I somehow set 2 of my drives to be X and Y under XP, and the others are mapped ‘automatically’

When I log in under Win 7, the letters are C, D, F, G, H (automatically).

Had I anticipated having a dual boot system, what’s the best way to ensure the hard drives always have the same letter or name under either boot, so I don’t need to change directory paths for various application programs.

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  1. Charles Yost
    December 11, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    Here is something that I found that might me useful for you: http://communities.vmware.com/thread/413321.

  2. josemon maliakal
    December 11, 2012 at 4:02 am

    what is the benefit of that?

  3. Manuel Guillermo López Buenfil
    December 11, 2012 at 3:08 am

    Disk Management is the way to go.
    To use it in Windows 7, go to the Control Panel, make sure that "View by" says "Large icons", select "Administrative Tools", and then "Computer Management". There, select "Disk Management" on the left side (under "Storage"). That will show you your drives and partitions. To modify a drive letter, right click one of them and select "Change Drive Letters and Paths".
    I do not remember exactly how to do this on Windows XP, but it should be similar.

  4. Roomy Naqvy
    December 10, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    Yes, you can change it in the Disk Administration in XP.

  5. Jack Schiff
    December 10, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    Better to use understandable labels for disks. The letters is a conditional of windows. And with labels, you can boot from external media, or install Linux third OS .. always clear where each partition.

    • Joseph Videtto
      December 11, 2012 at 11:19 am

      I simply use Disk Administrator to do this - as Roomy suggested, and all operating systems will see the change ?

      • Jack Schiff
        December 11, 2012 at 12:31 pm

        No. This is the problem. In EACH windows to do their OWN changes. Moreover, it will be difficult to do so when the disk ?? OS which you installed such as Seven and visible in it as C, to rename to D - as it is called in XP. It is possible, but quite difficult. Why do you need these complexities? If you are used to give meaningful disk labels, such as "XP_system", "Seven", "torrents", etc. then you will always have easy to navigate.
        Have already set up the drive letters "as necessary"? Boot WinPE liveCD. Surprise waiting for you)))

  6. Jan Fritsch
    December 10, 2012 at 9:27 am

    Generally it is possible by manually setting the drive letters in each OS. For example

    C = WinXP
    D = Win7
    E = optical drive
    F = drive1
    G = drive2
    H = drive3

    However one thing you have to keep in mind is that Windows should always be on the "C:" drive (so active Windows=C, inactive Windows=?). Yes, you can install Windows on a drive called e.g. "D:" but there are plenty of tools, software or scripts that assume it is "C" and may run into errors then.

    The best thing probably is to start at the mid-end of the alphabet ~ this way you will not run into conflicts with the automatic assigning of Windows (which starts with A & B being reserved for diskette drives and C the OS drive).

    drive 1 = X
    drive 2 = Y
    drive 3 = Z

  7. Douglas Mutay
    December 10, 2012 at 8:29 am

    You could also rename non OS drive to make them easily recognizable on any system you will install.

    • Joseph Videtto
      December 11, 2012 at 11:18 am

      How do I do this ?

      • Douglas Mutay
        December 11, 2012 at 11:37 am

        Just like you do for any file in your Windows. Right click on the drive and select rename. Just make sure you have admin privilege on that PC.

      • Anonymous
        December 11, 2012 at 3:31 pm

        I agree the Douglas response. With the only addition that the OS partitions, you can rename the same.

  8. Ramón García
    December 10, 2012 at 7:29 am

    Disk Aministrator tool, that comes with XP and 7, allows you to change the unit letter assigned to a disk partition/hard disk unit.

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