Sytem Drive and Boot Drive letters

One of my computers at work died, or at least its C drive did.

It’s a major machine, I use it for editing video, and so I have tons of HDD space, with lots of separate drives attached. Three of those drives are irrelevant, they’re just attached via Firewire and I switch them on and off as needed.

But my C and D drives are IDE. I replaced my dead C drive and reinstalled XP Home onto it, and for some reason it has renamed my previous D drive to C, and made it a system drive, and my new Boot Drive is now called D.

What the heck happened? How do I fix it? Should the Boot and System drives be separate? Should I keep them separate, and is that safe if I use my other (System) drive for storing video and stuff?

Check the Master/Slave settings of the IDE drives - used to be set by jumpers, but who knows what now.

Have no idea what you mean by boot vs. system - I always equated them.

  • Ex, who will stick with Win98 until he switches to Linux or other real OS

They are both Master on separate IDE slots. And I agree, I thought System and Boot were put on the same thing, hence my mystification - they are now separated.

Stupid computers.

If it hasn’t changed…

The “C” drive is the Master on the “primary” IDE string - try switching cables and see what happens.

If you are doing video, you will probably want the data on a different drive AND string that the OS/software reading/writing it - latency and seek times.

Have no idea exactly what firewire is/was - still waiting for that mess to settle itself - I’ve got a stack of dead I/O cards, not looking to add any more silicon.

In XP, you can reassign those drive letters.

Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Computer Management -> Disk Management.

Although, this is likely to break your installation. You might need to change boot.ini to load Windows from C:

Ex chalks up another reason to stick with 98…

No, you can’t change letters to Boot and System drives. And my problem is that they seem to be in separate drives, and I don’t know if my changing things ‘back’ will cause more trouble than I’m already in.

I’ll try swapping IDE slots.

btw, Extraneous, no offence, but if you don’t know what Firewire is, you are hopelessly out of the loop. It’s far from ever being a mess, it’s a great advance in connectivity that has almost never been an issue.

Data transfer tachnology seems to be going through a “flavor of the year” phase the last couple of years - excuse me if I wait it out - want an EGA video card? Those were hot once - UATA, SATA, Firewire - let me know when the dust settles, 'K?

and what were the fibre-whatevers?

Never mind - when I get around to building the next one, I’ll ask…

If they are both jumpered as “Master”, then the system has to decide which is the Primary (c:) and which is Secondary (d:) drive.

If they are both on the same IDE cable, then it picks whichever one it comes to ‘first’ along the cable as Primary. (Like Extraneous said.)

If they are separate cables from different cards, then it picks whichever card is in the slot that is ‘first’ on the backplane bus. So either switching the cables at the drives, or just swapping the slots the 2 IDE cards are plugged into should do it.

I have always use the Master- Slave settings for IDE drives on the same cable and it works. From my quick reading it doesn’t seem that you will be able to re-name the C drive. Consider cutting your losses in time and reinstall XP on the drive that you want to be C. Just make sure that the other drives are unplugged when you do it. You should be able to reconnect after this process and XP should assign the other drive a different letter.

I have taken Toddly’s advice. It seemed easier.

And it worked. Thanks, Toddly!


I think I know the general feeling. I was thinking “Gee I’m glad Macs don’t have drive letters”, myself.

I’m playing with the idea of burning custom DVD’s - and this machine requires me to switch boot drives (e.g. play with the m/b bios) to use the scanner - don’t know why (have win98 on both drives, and the driver is on both drives, it just doesn’t work on one of them …grrr…). I am NOT looking forward to trying to juggle a DVD burner with a PC.

Macs are starting to look REAL good…