Drive letter assignments

P

Pierre Szwarc

I have the following disk setup:
Partition 1, primary and active, 1GB, contains only the boot files and a few
utilities
Partition 2, logical, 40GB, contains XP SP2
Partition 3, logical, 40GB, contains Vista build 5308
Partition 4, logical, 39GB, contains common data

I (re)installed Vista by booting from the DVD, not from within XP.

When I boot to XP, the drive letters are assigned as follows:
P1 is C:
P2 is D:
P3 is E:
P4 is F:

When I boot to Vista, this is what I get:
P1 is D:
P2 is E:
P3 is C:
P4 is F:

This is rather confusing. At worst I might have expected the letters for P2
and P3 to be swapped, but the boot partition should remain C: in all cases,
IMO. Better yet, the setup process should allow chosing the letter
assignments from the word go.
--
Pierre Szwarc
Paris, France
PGP key ID 0x75B5779B
------------------------------------------------
Multitasking: Reading in the bathroom !
------------------------------------------------
 

My Computer

R

Richard Hay

This is why I now label my hard drives based on what is installed.

The first time I booted into Vista and saw it was on "C" I just about
freaked because just a few weeks earlier I had a big data loss and thought I
had done something wrong.

Turns out all was OK - just did not expect the behavior.

:-)


--
Richard Hay
Webmaster
http://WindowsObserver.com


"Pierre Szwarc" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:%[email protected]
>I have the following disk setup:
> Partition 1, primary and active, 1GB, contains only the boot files and a
> few
> utilities
> Partition 2, logical, 40GB, contains XP SP2
> Partition 3, logical, 40GB, contains Vista build 5308
> Partition 4, logical, 39GB, contains common data
>
> I (re)installed Vista by booting from the DVD, not from within XP.
>
> When I boot to XP, the drive letters are assigned as follows:
> P1 is C:
> P2 is D:
> P3 is E:
> P4 is F:
>
> When I boot to Vista, this is what I get:
> P1 is D:
> P2 is E:
> P3 is C:
> P4 is F:
>
> This is rather confusing. At worst I might have expected the letters for
> P2
> and P3 to be swapped, but the boot partition should remain C: in all
> cases,
> IMO. Better yet, the setup process should allow chosing the letter
> assignments from the word go.
> --
> Pierre Szwarc
> Paris, France
> PGP key ID 0x75B5779B
> ------------------------------------------------
> Multitasking: Reading in the bathroom !
> ------------------------------------------------
>
>
 

My Computer

S

SlowFax

On Fri, 31 Mar 2006 10:25:51 +0200, "Pierre Szwarc"
<[email protected]> wrote:

>When I boot to XP, the drive letters are assigned as follows:
>P1 is C:
>P2 is D:
>P3 is E:
>P4 is F:
>
>When I boot to Vista, this is what I get:
>P1 is D:
>P2 is E:
>P3 is C:
>P4 is F:
>
>This is rather confusing.


Microsoft says this was done "by design". In earlier betas they used
another wording: "not a bug, but a feature".

You can avoid this ugly behaviour by hiding other partitions during
setup. (Partition Magic or similar utilities)

SlowFax
 

My Computer

P

Pierre Szwarc

I also label them, out of long habit, so I didn't freak out for more than a
couple of seconds ;)) Anyway, this is a test system, all the contents are
expendable.
--
Pierre Szwarc
Paris, France
PGP key ID 0x75B5779B
------------------------------------------------
Multitasking: Reading in the bathroom !
------------------------------------------------

"Richard Hay" <[email protected]> a écrit dans le message de news:
[email protected]...
| This is why I now label my hard drives based on what is installed.
|
| The first time I booted into Vista and saw it was on "C" I just about
| freaked because just a few weeks earlier I had a big data loss and thought
I
| had done something wrong.
|
| Turns out all was OK - just did not expect the behavior.
|
| :-)
 

My Computer

P

Pierre Szwarc

Thanks, but I strongly wish (sarcastic understatement) Microsoft wouldn't
interfere with how I like to set my machine up. As long as the OS operates
normally, this is *my* computer, not Microsoft's. Unless they wish to pay me
for it, of course <eg> Especially as there doesn't seem to be a valid
technical reason for this design decision.
--
Pierre Szwarc
Paris, France
PGP key ID 0x75B5779B
------------------------------------------------
Multitasking: Reading in the bathroom !
------------------------------------------------

"SlowFax" <[email protected]> a écrit dans le message de news:
[email protected]...
|
| Microsoft says this was done "by design". In earlier betas they used
| another wording: "not a bug, but a feature".
|
| You can avoid this ugly behaviour by hiding other partitions during
| setup. (Partition Magic or similar utilities)
|
| SlowFax
 

My Computer

G

Gerry Hickman

Hi,

The way Vista has assigned the letters is interesting, and in some cases
preferable to the "old" system. Your setup is not what most people would
have, because you have a special "boot" partition. Most people end up
with the boot loader and at least one o/s on the same partition.

Here are my thoughts on the situation:

1. The "normal" way of setting up computers (as recommended by Microsoft
to OEMs) is totally stupid. Your method is superior, but not many
people's machines are set up that way (also see below about boot sectors).

2. The "old" setup behavior (when booting a second Windows install from
CD/DVD) was for the text mode portion of setup to assign drive letters
depending on which partitions it could see, and then installing Windows
to the next one - this usually ended up being something like "Drive E"
and there was no way to change it later. In my view this was annoying
(for both servers and clients) because on a big network you need
everything to have drive letter consistency. There were ways round it
like manually editing the MBR, but that's not ideal for everyone.

3. The "new" setup behavior allows you to install a second Windows o/s,
but when you boot into that o/s, it "sees itself as residing on the C"
drive regardless of which partition it's on. Most other drive letters
can be assigned from Disk management. In my view, this is great.

However, that part where it's not so great is the Vista boot loader.
From what I can tell this will simply overwrite your existing boot
loader regardless of which partition it was on. If your old C drive was
#1, it will write a new boot sector and replace NTLDR with the Vista
boot manager. I'm guessing it must have done this on your system too? In
other words, your Partition #1 got stomped by the Vista install program
and now contains the Vista boot manager?

On a setup like yours it won't matter because the boot loader has it's
own partition, but on my test system I ended up with Vista on partition
#4, but the Vista BCD boot loader is now on partition #1 and has
overwritten the NTLDR boot loader which wasn't what I wanted although it
was no surprise.

Pierre Szwarc wrote:
> I have the following disk setup:
> Partition 1, primary and active, 1GB, contains only the boot files and a few
> utilities
> Partition 2, logical, 40GB, contains XP SP2
> Partition 3, logical, 40GB, contains Vista build 5308
> Partition 4, logical, 39GB, contains common data
>
> I (re)installed Vista by booting from the DVD, not from within XP.
>
> When I boot to XP, the drive letters are assigned as follows:
> P1 is C:
> P2 is D:
> P3 is E:
> P4 is F:
>
> When I boot to Vista, this is what I get:
> P1 is D:
> P2 is E:
> P3 is C:
> P4 is F:
>
> This is rather confusing. At worst I might have expected the letters for P2
> and P3 to be swapped, but the boot partition should remain C: in all cases,
> IMO. Better yet, the setup process should allow chosing the letter
> assignments from the word go.



--
Gerry Hickman (London UK)
 

My Computer

P

Pierre Szwarc

You're correct, the Vista boot loader overwrote the NT one. My next step is
to see what happens with a 3rd-party boot manager (namely, System Commander
8.02).
On the way Vista assigns the drive letters: I can understand the OS
"deciding" it's residing on C: *by default*. But there should be a way for
us geeks to set the drive letters at setup time, or at least telling the
setup to switch the boot and system partition letters. Until MS does away
with drive letters altogether, of course.
--
Pierre Szwarc
Paris, France
PGP key ID 0x75B5779B
------------------------------------------------
Multitasking: Reading in the bathroom !
------------------------------------------------

"Gerry Hickman" <[email protected]> a écrit dans le message de news:
[email protected]...
| Hi,
|
| The way Vista has assigned the letters is interesting, and in some cases
| preferable to the "old" system. Your setup is not what most people would
| have, because you have a special "boot" partition. Most people end up
| with the boot loader and at least one o/s on the same partition.
|
[snip]
 

My Computer

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