I’d venture to guess that the reason it was done this way was the system was originally installed with FAT (which dates back to DOS 1.1). This is a 16-bit filesystem that supports a maximum of 2GB per drive. Is it possible the laptop originally had Windows 95 on it? That OS does not support FAT32[sup]1[/sup] (the current version of FAT, which supports filesystems up to 8GB). To get around that problem (which is apparently what the installer did), you can use fdisk.exe to create several partitions, each 2GB.
To fix the problem, first ensure that the filesystem on the C: drive is FAT32. I’m guessing here, because I’m not on a Windows 98 system (I’m on Win2K), but if you bring up My Computer, then right click on the drive in question and choose Properties, it should tell you what filesystem is on the drive. If it’s FAT32, you can proceed with the next paragraph. If it’s FAT, you’ll need to convert to FAT32 first, which you should be able to do with Start->Programs->Accessories->System Tools->Drive Convertor. You may need to free up some space on the C drive before you can proceed.
You should ensure that there is no software installed on the D or E drives, because once you combine the drives you’ll have a hell of a time getting it working again. Yes, it can be done, but it’s probably easier to just reinstall the software. Having done that, the next thing you should do is BACK UP THE SYSTEM. I will not be held responsible if something goes wrong, and that’s always possible when you play around with this type of stuff. After that, go to download.com and get Partition Resizer. Then run fdisk.exe and delete the D and E partitions (this is assuming that you’ve determined that there’s nothing on them; if there is, you’re on your own). Then follow the instructions in Partition Resizer to expand the C drive onto the space freed up by deleting the other partitions.
After you’ve done that and rebooted, your CD-ROM drive letter will have changed to D:. You’ll probably want to tell Windows 98 about that; you can do it with regedit:
2.Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Setup \ SourcePath
3.Change the value to D:.
Hope this helps.
[sup]1 Yes, I know that Win95B supports FAT32, but I didn’t see any reason in complicating the issue[/sup]