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Installing WinXP onto E: drive

RobDickson
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Registered: 06-08-2007

Installing WinXP onto E: drive

I installed WinXP onto a new PC that has two hard disks. Unfortunately, I selected the wrong disk during installation and WinXP is now installed on the E: drive with the C: drive being black. This doesn't matter to me (they're both 500GB drives), but I just wondered whether it is likely to cause problems in the future.
I would have thought that any programs would install to E:\Program Files instead of C:\Program Files and that they would look for files in the My Documents folder (which is on the E: drive), rather than trying to find a My Documents folder on the C: drive.
I've installed SP3, the motherboard drivers, the graphics card drivers, IE8 and NIS2009 (in that order) so far and everything seems OK. The only slight issue is that when the drivers were installed, two text files were saved into the C: root directory instead of the E: root directory.
From what I can tell on the web, installing an OS onto the E: drive isn't a problem, but I wondered what people here think.
Thanks in advance.
Update: I'm going to have all my programs and data on the drive that has WinXP installed on it, and use the second drive to back-up files to.
9 REPLIES
Community Veteran
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Registered: 14-07-2009

Re: Installing WinXP onto E: drive

You have already encountered the issue.  It should not make any difference but some sloppily-written software assumes that Windows is installed on the C drive or occasionally forgets that it is not, hence the text files that arrived there.
RobDickson
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Registered: 06-08-2007

Re: Installing WinXP onto E: drive

Thanks for your message.
I suppose the safe option is to install WinXP onto the C: drive and reformat the E: drive once I've done that. My concern about doing that is temporarily having WinXP installed on both drives. I haven't checked the BIOS set-up on my new PC, but assume that with two hard disks I have 4 boot-up options (floppy, DVD, C: and ESmiley.
If anybody has any comments about reinstalling onto the C: drive, I'd appreciate your help.
David_W
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Registered: 19-07-2007

Re: Installing WinXP onto E: drive

Most (well behaved) programmes are not hard coded with C:\Program Files but use variables, so your Windows Folder may be under E:\WINNT but a well behaved programme would see that at %SystemDrive%\%WinDir%. 
Try it yourself, open a command prompt, switch to C drive then type %SystemDrive% and it will change back to your E drive.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 02-02-2008

Re: Installing WinXP onto E: drive

I have plenty of systems with multiple Windows installs on assorted drive letters.
Haven't hit a problem in ages now, I think all the badly-coded apps have been superceded.
RobDickson
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Re: Installing WinXP onto E: drive

I haven't looked at the BIOS yet. I'm not going to install any obscure software on my PC, so I'll probably be OK. I suppose I'll only know the true answer once I've installed everything that I want to install.
Thanks for your replies.
RobDickson
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Re: Installing WinXP onto E: drive

A mate of mine suggested simply renaming the hard disks. He reckoned that renaming the OS drive wouldn't be a problem because it's only a label, but this worries me a bit.
C: to F:
E: to C:
F: to E:
An easy solution hit me while I was cycling into work this morning:
1) Disconnect the spare drive (currently CSmiley.
2) Boot-up to check I've disconnected the correct drive.
3) Reinstall WinXP onto the drive that currently has WinXP installed on (hopefully it will call it the C: drive this time).
4) Connect the spare drive (hopefully it will call it the E: drive this time).
Am I right in saying that with SATA drives as opposed to IDE drives, it doesn't matter which socket is used and there's no master/slave selection to make?
Update:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/223188
I won't be taking my mate's advice about renaming the boot drive.
http://www.seagate.com/ww/v/index.jsp?locale=en-US&name=install-troubleshoot-sata-non-mac&vgnextoid=...
According to Seagate, SATA drives don't have master-slave settings.
If anybody has any other suggestions (or knows whether it matters which socket I use), I'd appreciate your help.
RobDickson
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Re: Installing WinXP onto E: drive

That solved it. Thanks for your help.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 01-08-2007

Re: Installing WinXP onto E: drive

Did a similar thing myself years ago. It worked out well for a while but unfortunately for me I also had another windows setup on the c: partition. In the end it became so confused that windows would literally boot from both partitions. I only discovered what it was doing when I realised it was running of d: but system services and things were still running off c:!
In all I would thoroughly recommend against doing it. In theory yes it can be done and yes in practice it seems to initially work well too but give it time and it will all come crumbling down.
I need a new signature... i'm bored of the old one!
RobDickson
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Re: Installing WinXP onto E: drive

I now have WinXP installed on the C: drive and have formatted the E: drive using Disk Management, so hopefully things should run smoothly from now on.
Thanks again.
Rob